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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about Web Apps in Computerworld's Web Apps Topic Center.
- Need to Replace MS Threat Management Gateway? Read this article to learn how F5's Secure Web Gateway solution provides a full set of features that can help you successfully migrate...
- The Shortfall of Network Load Balancing Applications running across networks encounter a wide range of performance, security, and availability challenges as IT department strive to deliver fast, secure access...
- Leave No App Behind with Software Defined Application Services F5 Software Defined Application Services (SDAS) is the next-generation model for delivering application services that enables service injection, consumption, automation, and orchestration across...
- Five Key Issues for DNS - The Next Network Management Challenge Since every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup, loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS...
- Live Webcast IBM FlashSystem V840: Leveraging Software-Defined Flash to Drive Your Business With end-to-end, tightly integrated functionality and super-fast flash technology, products like IBM FlashSystem V840 Enterprise Performance Solution empower businesses to leverage the efficiency...
- DevOps with PureApplication System: Reduce cost and speed delivery with an integrated IBM Cloud solution Join this webcast to hear what ING Netherlands has been able to achieve while deploying DevOps tools from IBM Rational. An ING executive...
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different.... All Networking White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!