Web designer claims 84% ownership of Facebook
Does Zuckerberg really own Facebook? N.Y. man files suit over alleged contract
Computerworld - A lawsuit filed against Facebook Inc. is raising the question of whether Mark Zuckerberg is the owner of the phenomenally popular social networking site.
Paul D. Ceglia of Wellsville, N.Y., filed the lawsuit in New York Superior Court on June 30. The Web site designer alleges that he signed a contract with Zuckerberg, the site's founder and CEO, in 2003 that entitles him to 84% ownership of the company.
According to court documents, Ceglia claims he had a written agreement with Zuckerberg to design and build the site that eventually turned into the wildly successful Facebook. He also alleges that he was paid $1,000 for the work and for a 50% stake in the site, along with an extra 1% for every day until the Web site was completed.
That, according to Ceglia's suit, adds up to an 84% ownership of the social network, which has more than 500 million users.
Facebook, however, says that's simply not the case.
"We believe this suit is completely frivolous and we will fight it vigorously," said Andrew Noyes, a Facebook spokesman, in an e-mail to Computerworld.
After Ceglia filed the suit, a New York Supreme Court judge issued a restraining order prohibiting Facebook and Zuckerberg from transferring any assets. For its part, Facebook filed a motion to have the case dismissed.
The case has been moved to federal court, and Facebook has moved to have the restraining order removed, according to Noyes.
"These kinds of suits come with the territory whenever any business becomes wildly successful," said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. "These suits are usually dismissed or settled as nuisance suits. But because the judge issued an order, it may mean that there could be something there."
Olds added that he's highly skeptical about the claim. "But if he does have a case, and if he ends up owning 84% of Facebook, then it will make a hell of a movie."
This isn't Ceglia's first court dealings.
Late last year, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo obtained a temporary restraining order against a western New York wood-pellet fuel company, Allegany Pellets LLC. Ceglia and his wife, Iasia, own the company, which allegedly took more than $200,000 from consumers and then failed to deliver products or refunds.
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is email@example.com.
Read more about Web Apps in Computerworld's Web Apps Topic Center.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- What Datapipe customers need to know about the new PCI DSS 3.0 compliance standard This handy quick reference outlines what PCI DSS 3.0 is, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the new...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle.
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Separating Work and Personal at the Platform Level: How BlackBerry Balance Works BlackBerry® Balance™ separates work from personal on the same mobile device, right at a platform level. Find out how it can work for...
- Live Webcast Best Practices for the Hyperconverged Enterprise Network To the Age of Constant Connectivity and Information overload
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of... All Networking White Papers | Webcasts