by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
equity, mark zuckerberg, ownership, paul ceglia, scam


Original Contract Used By Paul Ceglia To Claim Facebook Ownership... Doesn't Mention Facebook

from the falling-apart dept

The latest chapter in the bizarre story of Paul Ceglia claiming a right to more than half of Facebook is that Facebook -- who has previously claimed that Ceglia is nothing but a fraud -- says that in the discovery process it found the original contract, and that contract doesn't even mention Facebook. Facebook pretty clearly is suggesting that Ceglia doctored the contract he did have with Mark Zuckerberg, to work on a Ceglia project called StreetFax, and changed it to supposedly cover Facebook. If you look at the two documents side by side you can see clearly that the original was changed. The fact that both have handwriting and both MZ and PC's initials on it show that this is the same document:
Given this evidence, and how this case has gone so far, especially with multiple lawyers dumping Ceglia (including some big names who surprised a lot of people in taking his case originally), it doesn't look like Ceglia has much of a chance here. I'm still a bit mystified that Zuckerberg and Facebook didn't come out more vehemently originally. When the story first came out, Facebook's lawyers simply said they were unsure if the contract was legit. You would think that if he'd never signed any such thing, the denials would have been a lot more upfront. Still, in the end, this case looks dead in the water.

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  1. identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, 17 Aug 2011 @ 8:37am

    What Was Ceglia Up To?

    Well, the most obvious explanation is that Zuckerberg had lost the paperwork pertaining to a short and unimportant job, maybe ten or twenty hours at an economic rate.

    Young men are often not careful about that kind of thing. The job would probably have involved integrating publicly available open source code into a system in which Ceglia would have had severely limited exclusive rights. That is the kind of thing you can do in ten hours.

    It seems doubtful, based on available evidence, that Ceglia was honest at any point in his life, but if one assumes the motives of an honest man, the idea would presumably have been to get some kind of quick-and-dirty version of his street-view-type system going, so that customers could start using it. If the business proved viable, it would later have been feasible to do a better job and port the data over.

    Given, of course, what we know about Ceglia, that he repeatedly sold things he did not own, the indication is that he was probably trying to "sell the Brooklyn Bridge." That is, he wanted Zuckerberg to spend ten hours tying together open source code representing tens of thousands of hours of work, much of which might have been protected by the GPL or some other restrictive open-source license. Ceglia would have had every right to run this combined system on his own website, but he might well have had the bright idea of selling "exclusive rights" in the underlying code to gullible investors, just as he sold non-existent firewood, and real-estate which belonged to someone else. This would explain why he might have drafted a contract to give the impression of more activity on Zuckerberg's part than was actually the case.

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