The black marks: Zuckerberg’s legal legacy

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As with most semi-biographical films, The Social Network convinces many who watch it that they develop a comprehensive knowledge of its subject matter, in this case the origins of Facebook and its founder’s misdeeds.

As well researched a movie as it was, there is more to the litigation surrounding these two then what was included in David Fincher’s chronicle. So, in order to level the playing field, this is all the dirt we know about the man who created the system that knows all the dirt about us.

The metaphorical photo album that Zuckerberg would surely want to un-tag himself in. All in one place, Zuckerberg’s wall of shame:

The Winklevii and Dvya Narendra

As seen in the film, the Winkelvoss twins, Tyler and Cameron, along with partner Dvya Narendra, were Harvard students that hired Mark Zuckerberg to work on their Harvard based social network called HarvardConnection (later renamed ConnectU).

Zuckerberg was recommended to them by their previous coder, Victor Gao.

They allege that Zuckerberg entered into an oral agreement with them to become a partner in HarvardConnection, with equity as his reward for his work. During the weeks before the TheFacebook’s launch (the precursor to Facebook as we know it), Zuckerberg maintained via email that he was still working on HarvardConnection, but avoided meeting with the team, claiming he was swamped with work.

He neglected to mention he was working on a competitor project. Leaving the Harvard Connection code incomplete and non-functional, Zuckerberg launched thefacebook.com on the 4th February 2004. On the 10th of February, the team sent Zuckerberg a cease and desist letter and complained through Harvard administration. Harvard judged the matter to be outside their jurisdiction and advised them to pursue the matter in court.

Later that year, ConnectU took Mark Zuckerberg to court and Facebook counter-sued (concerning spam infringements on another Winklevoss project: Social Butterfly). With the leaked instant messages and emails as evidence, the case was settled in February of 2008, with a reported US$65 million (US$20 million cash, and 1.25 million shares) settlement.

ConnectU later accused Facebook of misrepresenting the value of its stocks (affecting the settlement). Of course, by this time the valuation of Facebook had changed significantly, but judge Alex Kozinski ruled that the litigation must come to an end. Eventually in June 2011 it finally did when the Winklevoss lawyer announced that they would not pursue the case in the Supreme Court.

However, as reported by the BBC, days after their lawyer’s announcement, the twins filed a fresh lawsuit against Facebook, this time claiming, “intentionally or inadvertently suppressed evidence” in the previous lawsuit.

Eduardo Saverin

A clash with Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, as the honourable, and perhaps a bit naive best friend of Zuckerberg, is the other lawsuit represented in The Social Network.

Saverin provided the initial start-up capital for thefacebook, becoming CFO and business manager in the process.

Originally owning a third stake, Saverin found his influence and involvement fading when thefacebook relocated its operations to California and attracted outside investors like Peter Thiel (PayPal) and Sean Parker (Napster).

Considering that he served as Ben Mezrich’s principal consultant in the writing of his book The Accidental Billionaires, which serves as the base for the film’s screenplay, it is fairly safe to assume that it represents his side of the story.

Based on differences in opinions about thefacebook’s direction and the growing distance between them, Zuckerberg effectively screwed Saverin over by diluting his shares.

Saverin’s lawsuit was settled out of court in 2008 for what is reported to be 5 percent of Facebook, helping him to an estimated net worth of upwards of US$1.6 billion.

Recently Saverin seems to be keeping his head down, in Singapore. And from every source I’ve read, it seems accusations of him being a nice guy and honourable businessman are true.

Paul Ceglia

We now move out of the realm of the movie, and onto more recent events. Paul Ceglia is the guy who claimed Mark Zuckerberg had sold him half of what became Facebook.

From the beginning, there were doubts to the authenticity of his claim, seeing as Ceglia himself has a drug arrest, a fraud conviction and character witnesses have not bee too flattering. Of course, on the other hand, Zuckerberg has a history of screwing over investors and partners.

In June 2010, Ceglia filed a lawsuit claiming 84 percent ownership of Facebook, which he says Zuckerberg sold to him for US$1 000 in 2003. The reason for the seven year wait? Ceglia claims he forgot about the contract and only found it when going through papers for his fraud trial, which is in itself a bit dubious.

One would imagine remembering that contract when hearing about Facebook’s incredible rise to prominence.

Ceglia alleges that the US$1 000 bought him 50 percent + 1 percent for every day that Facebook wasn’t completed after the beginning of 2004.

Zuckerberg admits to building a website, StreetFax, for Ceglia, but denies that he was involved in the creation of Facebook or gave any money to its cause.

Ceglia’s evidence consisted of a cancelled cheque to Mark Zuckerberg for US$3 000, emails between the two and the contract itself which Facebook’s lawyers have claimed are fabricated (with much expert testimony, including linguistics analysis).

Facebook’s lawyers also hired a private investigating firm, Kroll, to research Ceglia. Aside from his fraud charge, on his Wood Pellet company which neglected to deliver wood pellets that he had already accepted payment for, Kroll also discovered a list of other examples of fraud:
● He attempted to sell a Florida Orange Grove that he didn’t own.
● He sold Florida land on eBay, which he claimed were buildable, that were later declared worthless.
● He engaged in shill bidding to drive these prices up
● He forged government documents to aid these sales
● He sold land in New York that he didn’t own
● etc.

When Zuckerberg’s emails from the time were investigated, none of the emails that would prove Ceglia’s case were found amongst their correspondence. This would mean that Zuckerberg would have had to specifically delete only those emails, at the time. Furthermore, they found emails indicating that Ceglia had owed Zuckerberg US$11 000 with regards to StreetFax.

Last month, on the 29th of June 2011, Ceglia’s lawyers, DLA Piper, abandoned his case, although another, Lake APC, took up his cause.

The case is ongoing, which is a problem for Facebook going public. Nevertheless it looks like this one has little to stand on. From an outside view it looks like a career conman is trying his luck, perhaps hoping for a settlement just ‘to make him go away’. This is something that it appears Facebook will not do.

Draw Muhammed Content

Almost as a side note, in May 2010 Pakistani Deputy Attorney General Muhammad Azhar Sidiqque called for Zuckerberg and the 2 other co-founders to be arrested for blasphemy because of a Draw Muhammed contest hosted on Facebook. The contest was pulled from Facebook at the end of that month, but no real litigation ever emerged.

In the end

It would seem that only the litigation referenced in The Social Network has any real basis to it. Subsequent lawsuits are frivolous or fraudulent. But there you go, that’s Mark Zuckerberg’s legal history. The black marks on his chequered past.

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  • Madhu Kopparam

    What is the point of this article? Pray, tell. There’s no new information, you’re not hanging anybody nor are you exonerating anyone. This is an article for…an article’s sake.

  • Anonymous

    BULL SHIT AND TRUTH

    The programming and algorithms that made the site
    facemash function were Zuckerberg’s primary interest in creating it, he said
    —(BULL SHIT).

    Aaron . Greenspan says that while he was a student at
    Harvard, he came up with the idea for Facebook —(BULL SHIT).

    did Mark Zuckerberg who was
    talking about Face Smash and he had just broken up with his girlfriend at the
    time—( TRUE).
    did the admin board clearly displays a
    lack of ethical standards at Harvard. Zuckerberg broke all sort of rules, laws
    and ethical standards–(TRUE).
    according to
    Zuckerberg, the overlap between the two sites’ information requests is not the
    product of deception —(BULL SHIT ).

    kirkpatrick falls victim to the
    bane of many business historians infatuation with the subject and the money
    —-(TRUE).

    Kirkpatrick was given all the emails on how zuck stole the
    idea facebook and the contract to paul ceglia —(TRUE).

    NARENDRA
    contacted david and told david that the winklevoss contacted CHANG and sold 50%
    of the idea facebook with out telling david–(TRUE).

    In the high-powered
    atmosphere of Harvard, it wasn’t any trouble for Zuckerberg to steal the idea
    facebook —(TRUE).
    lisa simpson was made a were of
    the fact that ZUCKERBERG had sign a contract to PAUL CEGLIA years a go
    —(TRUE).

    On Zuckerberg’s Facebook page, he listed his personal
    interests as “openness, making things that help people connect and share
    —(BULL SHIT).

    Facebook is “sorry.” Facebook is
    “sorry.” Facebook is “sorry.” Facebook is “sorry.” Facebook is “sorry.” —(BULL
    SHIT).

    zuckerberg stole the idea facebook the name facebook
    the concept and the execution of facebook —(TRUE).

    WAYNE CHANG new
    zuckerberg stole the idea facebook the name
    facebook the concept and the execution of facebook
    —(TRUE).

    THE WINKLEVOSS new zuckerberg stole the idea facebook
    the name facebook the concept and the execution of facebook
    —(TRUE).

    DUSTIN + CHRIS new zuckerberg stole the idea facebook
    the name facebook the concept and the execution of facebook
    —(TRUE).SEAN ELDRIDGE new zuckerberg stole the idea
    facebook the name facebook the concept and the execution of facebook
    —(TRUE).

    AARON GREENSPAN new zuckerberg stole the idea facebook
    the name facebook the concept and the execution of facebook
    —(TRUE).

    AARON GREENSPAN was given
    all the emails on how zuck stole the idea facebook and the contract to
    paul ceglia —(TRUE).
    EDUARDO SAVERIN new zuckerberg stole the idea
    facebook the name facebook the concept and the execution of facebook
    —(TRUE).
    THE WINKLEVOSS
    say the idea facebook the name facebook the concept
    was there idea—-(BULL SHIT).

    ben mezrick was given copes of the emails about how
    zuckerberg stole the idea facebook from david —(TRUE)AARON GREENSPAN
    DELUSION AUTHORITAS is Aaron . Greenspan delusional —-(TRUE).the
    winklevoss had to take the settlement zuck new the idea facebook was not the
    winklevoss idea; and the winklevoss new that mark zuckerberg stole the idea
    facebook—-(-TRUE).Facebook was found to have secretly
    hired a public relations firm to plant negative stories —-(TRUE) why
    did FB give them 65 million? That isn’t exactly hush money its fraud and
    extortion .the WINKLEVOSS new that zuckerberg stole the idea facebook but not
    from the them. (the winklevoss)

  • http://profiles.google.com/herb.gilliland Herbert Gilliland

    Yeah it’s funny that Aaron Greenspan’s name never comes up because he won that trademark case!

  • http://profiles.google.com/herb.gilliland Herbert Gilliland

    Yeah it’s funny that Aaron Greenspan’s name never comes up because he won that trademark case!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-Stone/542770717 Matthew Stone
  • Anonymous

    THIS IS HOW MARK ZUCKERBERG STOLE FACEBOOK

    FACE-SMASH BITCH

    It started when DAVID was logged in to the Harvard website,(2003) where I was
    listening in to the conversations of the Harvard students. One of these students
    was Mark Zuckerberg who was talking about Face Smash and he had just broken up
    with his girlfriend at the time, so I struck up a conversation with this Mark
    Zuckerberg. He was talking about creating a dating site. I thought this was a
    bit odd – a pie in the sky idea since he had just broken up with his girlfriend
    and he was slaging her off – calling her a bitch and a whore.
    dave talked to
    Mark about the idea, and suggested he call it Face Mash. He was intrigued with
    my suggestion and thought it was a good idea. Mark wanted to call it Face Smash,
    because he wanted to smash his ex in the face. I convinced him that Face Mash
    was a good idea and he agreed, but one week later he changed his mind and wanted
    to call it Face Smash. When I queried him about this he replied ‘f…. off you c…-
    I’m calling it Face Smash’. Two weeks after this conversation he came up with
    the name Mashable and when I asked him why he chose the word Mashable instead of
    Face Mash he said ‘f,…off you bastard, Face mash is not your idea’. So I
    re-posted the conversations we had two weeks earlier and he had to apologize and
    said he was going with Mashable. I took this as a sign that he wanted to throw
    me off the scent and take the site for himself. dave found the character of Mark
    Zuckerberg to be deceptive and dishonest and ended conversing with Mark
    Zuckerberg because of his dishonesty and lack of integrity.

    THIS IS MARK
    ZUCKERBERG his dishonesty and lack of integrity is deceptive this is mark
    zuckerberg

    DAVID DUSTIN + CHRIS THE ORIGIN OF FACEBOOK
    After this dave started conversing with Dustin and Chris about an idea of
    mine called Facebook for an online service where students can post pictures and
    information on themselves and use it as a directory. They were very intrigued by
    my idea and wanted to know more.
    dave told them that in the beginning, it
    would be an online service just for Harvard students, and then spreading through
    the other campuses in America, joining them up together. The idea was to make it
    easy for people to connect with other university students so they could get an
    idea of what other campuses were like, and even eventually spreading through the
    general public, giving them an idea of what was on offer at the different
    campuses.
    Dustin and Chris were very intrigued with my idea and said they
    wanted to be on board. but zuck was there roommate and wonted to be on board
    zuckerberg was apologetic about face-mash but it was bull shit
    THE PLATFORM
    So we needed a platform dave made contact with paul ceglia and was in
    discussion about a platform for my idea the facebook
    but zuckerberg made
    contact to paul ceglia to steal the idea facebook ‘paul ceglia had no legal
    right to sell the the platform to mark zuckerberg but zuckerberg new what he was
    doing when he sign the contract
    david got e-mails from zuckerberg
    saying he was not interested in the idea facebook ; david then contacted dustin
    chris to find out about this email i got from zuckerberg; they went into denial
    about this. but later on got a email from chris saying they were not interested
    in the idea facebook.

    DAVID CONTACTED CHRIS to say that david was going
    to sign the contract with paul ceglia .CHRIS told
    zuckerberg and zuck made contact to paul ceglia to steal the idea facebook ON
    APRIL 2003 .and this is how and why zuckerberg sign the contract with paul ceglia
    AND stole the idea facebook the name facebook the concept and the execution
    of facebook david understands that zuckerberg has a mental personality disorder
    but this is no excuse for being a asshole and a thief zuckerberg
    you see zuck
    dustin and chris new that facebook was a billion dollar idea but you stole the
    idea facebook

    CAMERON AND TAYLOR WINKLEVOSS
    dave found a site at Harvard called Harvard Connect (later, in 2004 changed
    to Harvard Connect To You) run by Cameron and Taylor Winklevoss, and dave
    explained everything about Facebook and the dealings with Zuckerberg, Dustin and
    Chris and how dave believed that Zuckerberg was in the process of stealing david
    idea, and dave asked if the Winklevosses were interested in running Facebook on
    the Harvard site
    DAVID found out later on that the winklevoss contacted WAYNE
    CHANG and sold 50% of the idea facebook my god how dumb can you get .all the
    winklevoss had to do was go hire a team of programmers or learn to program on
    their own .and the idea facebook was a sound and solid idea . tell the truth
    about facebook WAYNE CHANG and about the WINKLEVOSS BS. none of it was their
    idea, why did FB give them 65 million? That isn’t exactly hush money its fraud
    and extortion .the WINKLEVOSS new that zuckerberg stole the idea facebook and fb
    was not there idea or zuck .
    DIVYA NARENDRA contacted david and told david
    that the winklevoss contacted WAYNE CHANG and sold 50% of the idea facebook with
    out telling david
    david contacted WAYNE CHANG ‘ about this and WAYNE CHANG
    contacted the WINKLEVOSS and they went into denial about DAVID ;you see FACEBOOK
    was david idea ; so david sent copes of the EMAILS to WAYNE CHANG about the
    WINKLEVOSS and MARK ZUCKERBERG .
    the winklevoss had to ACKNOWLEDGE that the
    idea of facebook was david idea. WHEN DAVID SENT COPYS OF THE EMAILS to wayne
    chang.
    YOU got backstabbed.”!!? WAYNE CHANG
    Mark Zuckerberg took
    investment for thefacebook from paul cellai in April 2003 he could not have
    stolen the idea for thefacebook in November of 2003 from the winklevoss but he
    did steal the idea from david and it was david who contacted the winklevoss
    when zuck stole the idea from david

    mark zuckerberg facebook hired a
    high-profile public relations firm to plant negative stories in major media
    outlets about its archrival, Google

    the winklevoss had to take the
    settlement zuck new the idea facebook was not the winklevoss idea; and the
    winklevoss new that mark zuckerberg stole the idea facebook!!…….. BUT FROM
    WHO

    SEAN ELDRIDGE + CHRIS

    chris you may have step up about being
    gay but you need to step up and be a man tell the truth about how zuckerberg
    stole facebook; and sorry for
    telling zuck & dustin that you were gay
    back in the year 2003 .zuckerberg ask david if he was safe around chris when
    zuck found out that chris was gay chris do-not call your self a HERO tell the
    truth about facebook then you can call your self a HERO !! david contacted
    freedom to marry in order to contact chris ; the person david contacted at
    freedom to marry was Sean Eldridge. sean was given all the info on how
    zuckerberg stole facebook and agreed to contact chris hughes ;but Sean Eldridge
    lost his objective trip up and started a relationship was borne : Chris
    Hughes just wanted to do something good with his billions. partner Sean
    Eldridge just wanted to spend his good billions so who is sewing who in this
    relationship; Chris will you name the person who motivated you to
    work for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign but you can-not ‘you
    stole from this person
    SEAN ELDRIDGE asked david for a job at facebook (NO)
    so went for the next best thing chris hughes
    Wy didnt you tell the truth
    about how zuckerberg stole the idea facebook .chris in the last email to dave
    you said you cannot and the offer of cash payment to dave .was repulsive and was
    rejected and it looks like paul caglia is to takeover facebook you remember paul
    caglia ; chris IN 2003 you new of the contract .

    Saverin
    lawsuit
    A lawsuit filed by Eduardo Saverin against Facebook and Zuckerberg
    was settled out of court. Though terms of the settlement were sealed, the
    company affirmed Saverin’s title as co-founder of Facebook. Saverin signed a
    non-disclosure contract after the settlement.

    WAS it a non-disclosure about
    the truth; tell the TRUTH EDUARDO SAVERIN.
    david made contact to merchant law merchant law contact lisa simson &
    mark zuckerberg there are some interesting emails if you contact Tony Merchant
    you can get the email from him i left instruction to give the emails to every
    one ask for them this was done years a go
    Tony Merchant LAWZUCKERBERGnarcissists think they are hot stuff. Those scoring high in
    narcissism tended to rate themselves as more intelligent, physically attractive,
    likeable and funny than others. Interestingly, they also rated themselves as
    having higher levels of negative aspects of narcissism, such as being
    power-oriented, impulsive, arrogant and prone to exaggerate their
    abilities!.Narcissists are unlikely to change unless they think
    changing will benefit the things they desire, such as status and
    powerNarcissists feel the need to maintain a positive self-image and they
    will set aside ethical concerns to get what they want.”YES you are aware
    that you stole the idea facebook but not from the winklevosswhy all the
    fraud? Are CEOs just natural crime bosses who have found a better hustle?

  • Anonymous

    AARON GREENSPAN DELUSION
    AUTHORITAS

    Aaron . Greenspan
    says that while he was a student at Harvard, he came up with the idea for
    Facebook, the social-networking Web siteAn e-mail message, circulated widely
    by Mr. Greenspan to Harvard students on Sept. 19, 2003, describes the newest
    feature of houseSYSTEM, as “the Face Book,” an online system for quickly
    locating other students. The date was four months before Mr. Zuckerberg started
    his own site, originally “thefacebook.com.” Greenspan retained his college
    e-mail messages and provided The New York Times with copies of his
    communications with)zuckerberg , mark zuckerberg did not dispute the chronology
    of events or the authenticity of Mr. Greenspan’s e-mail messageshttp://www.aarongreenspan.com/authoritas.html

  • Anonymous

    http://www.aarongreenspan.com/authoritas.html

    what aaron greenspan did not tell you is that the idea facebook was davids idea not aaron idea.

  • Pingback: Latest Winklevoss twin’s Facebook lawsuit thrown out | memeburn

  • Anonymous

    Disqus generic email templateCAMERON AND TAYLOR WINKLEVOSS
    dave found a site at Harvard called Harvard Connect (later, in 2004 changed to Harvard Connect To You) run by Cameron and Taylor Winklevoss, and dave explained everything about Facebook and the dealings with Zuckerberg, Dustin and Chris and how dave believed that Zuckerberg was in the process of stealing david idea, and dave asked if the Winklevosses were interested in running Facebook on the Harvard site
    DAVID found out later on that the winklevoss contacted WAYNE CHANG and sold 50% of the idea facebook my god how dumb can you get .all the winklevoss had to do was go hire a team of programmers or learn to program on their own .and the idea facebook was a sound and solid idea . tell the truth about facebook WAYNE CHANG and about the WINKLEVOSS BS. none of it was their idea, why did FB give them 65 million? That isn’t exactly hush money its fraud and extortion .the WINKLEVOSS new that zuckerberg stole the idea facebook and fb was not there idea or zuck .
    DIVYA NARENDRA contacted david and told david that the winklevoss contacted WAYNE CHANG and sold 50% of the idea facebook with out telling david
    david contacted WAYNE CHANG ‘ about this and WAYNE CHANG contacted the WINKLEVOSS and they went into denial about DAVID ;you see FACEBOOK was david idea ; so david sent copes of the EMAILS to WAYNE CHANG about the WINKLEVOSS and MARK ZUCKERBERG .
    the winklevoss had to ACKNOWLEDGE that the idea of facebook was david idea. WHEN DAVID SENT COPYS OF THE EMAILS to wayne chang.
    YOU got backstabbed.”!!? WAYNE CHANG

  • Mullane1

    Dude, I loved your work of fiction. According to you, you invented everything. Kudos!

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