New York man claims to own 85% of Facebook

A New York newspaper has discovered that a man in the suburb of Wellsvile, by the name of Paul D. Ceglia may own a 85% share of Facebook, in return for web design he did for the company years ago.

The Wellsville daily times reports that Ceglia has a civil law suit against Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg. According to the Wall Street Journal, Ceglia claimed that seven years ago, in 2003, he signed a contract to develop a website -- he was to pay a $1000 fee, but recieve a fifty percent stake in the product, and that he would get an extra 1% interest every day the site was uncompleted after January 1st, 2004. He claims that he has rights to ownership in the company, as well as monetary damages.

The Wall Street Journal was also able to view a copy of the contract, and says the contract was "for the purchase and design of a suitable Website for the project Seller [Mr. Zuckerberg] has already initiated that is designed to offer the students of Harvard university access to a Website similar to a live functioning yearbook with the working title of 'The Face Book.'"

Oddly enough this claim clashes with historical evidence of Facebook - the original domain name of 'The Face Book' was only registered in January 2004, and Zuckerberg was said to be working on another product called 'Facemash' during 2003.

A temporary restraint on Facebook moving its assets has also been put into place -- though Facebook does not believe this will affect the company, saying that "The order will not affect our ability to do business but we do not believe it is legally supported and we have moved to have it vacated," said Facebook's Barry Schnitt. Facebook believes that the lawsuit will blow over quickly, and a company spokesman for the company stated that "We believe this suit is completely frivolous and we will fight it vigorously."

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft Outlook Facebook Social Connector released

Next Story

Blackberry offers a sneak peek at Blackberry 6

48 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

So this guy had to pay a $1000 fee to design the site and in return he would get %50 of the product (is a website a product?). This was seven years ago and only know is it brought up, i`d have been in like flin as soon as the site took off

Good luck to him though, i can see a lenghy battle in which blood sucking lawyers are the big winners!

If the guy's claim is legit, it might have taken this long to get a lawyer to sign on if Ceglia didn't already have a boatload of cash to hire one [or more]... it had to be obvious that Facebook would throw an army of lawyers at the suit, & it'd become a full-time job [maybe lasting years] for Ceglia's legal team. Could be a huge gamble for a lawyer who only gets paid if Ceglia wins, & then actually makes it through years of appeals etc to actually collect, & why they'll probably settle out of court.

mikiem said,
If the guy's claim is legit, it might have taken this long to get a lawyer to sign on if Ceglia didn't already have a boatload of cash to hire one [or more]... it had to be obvious that Facebook would throw an army of lawyers at the suit, & it'd become a full-time job [maybe lasting years] for Ceglia's legal team. Could be a huge gamble for a lawyer who only gets paid if Ceglia wins, & then actually makes it through years of appeals etc to actually collect, & why they'll probably settle out of court.

The jury determined that, and while the case is still active, Facebook can't sell any share or assert, so this case is also hurting Facebook.

Is it just me or does the article here make no sense whatsoever when it describes the terms of the contract? Why would the person developing the web site get an extra 1% stake in the site for every day it is uncompleted after a given date? That seems to be incentive for the site to never be developed at all until 3+ months after the date.

roadwarrior said,
Is it just me or does the article here make no sense whatsoever when it describes the terms of the contract? Why would the person developing the web site get an extra 1% stake in the site for every day it is uncompleted after a given date? That seems to be incentive for the site to never be developed at all until 3+ months after the date.

Yea I read that also and it doesn't make any sense.....

I assume it means the web designer bought into the business, provided $1000 and a web design, and in return got a stake in the business. In order to assure the designer that their stake in the business will be returned and that the actual site (not the design) will be finished by a set date the extra clause stating plus 1% every day would've been added.

I can see him getting something out of this, maybe even the original 50%. But the '1% per day the site isn't complete' won't stand up. As we all know, a website is never complete.

I can speak on this the guy who developed facebook or "the facebook" it was actually the early version of Facebook Mr zuck (or as I call him suck) stole his ideas and changed a few things the the shell of the site was developed by Mr Paul D. Ceglia.. So the legalities of this issue will likely end up in Paul's favor .. even if the site changed after it was done contract law is something that MR SUCK takes serious he was greedy for the fame.. but soon that will all be undone and the truth will come out maybe he had a voice in the finishing product but himself he did not design the site.. he just had ideas to make it better that's it.. Concepts are great till you have guy to do them.. by him saying he did it on his own is ludacris cause if he did why did he hire a Web Designer in the first place?.. I hope that idiot has his greed slap him in the face cause again when does MR Suck care about anyone but himself?... Even with the leak in security how long did it take them to fix privacy settings and yet leaks of personal accounts still happen.. after the recent updates.. He is staking up the money but not solving any of the issues why .. I think its because he does not know the coding behind the site & he knows that if designing it the way it was before is an infringement so he has a team working on a redesign hence all the upgrades etc.. he is trying to show that its different but under the hood its the same with a skin on top '' Do onions change the way they look no you just remove a layer of skin till u get to the core and then u see the structure behind this (he does not respect his partners work) and greed will come back to haunt him!

djstar8 said,
I can speak on this the guy who developed facebook or "the facebook" it was actually the early version of Facebook Mr zuck (or as I call him suck) stole his ideas and changed a few things the the shell of the site was developed by Mr Paul D. Ceglia.. So the legalities of this issue will likely end up in Paul's favor .. even if the site changed after it was done contract law is something that MR SUCK takes serious he was greedy for the fame.. but soon that will all be undone and the truth will come out maybe he had a voice in the finishing product but himself he did not design the site.. he just had ideas to make it better that's it.. Concepts are great till you have guy to do them.. by him saying he did it on his own is ludacris cause if he did why did he hire a Web Designer in the first place?.. I hope that idiot has his greed slap him in the face cause again when does MR Suck care about anyone but himself?... Even with the leak in security how long did it take them to fix privacy settings and yet leaks of personal accounts still happen.. after the recent updates.. He is staking up the money but not solving any of the issues why .. I think its because he does not know the coding behind the site & he knows that if designing it the way it was before is an infringement so he has a team working on a redesign hence all the upgrades etc.. he is trying to show that its different but under the hood its the same with a skin on top '' Do onions change the way they look no you just remove a layer of skin till u get to the core and then u see the structure behind this (he does not respect his partners work) and greed will come back to haunt him!

tl;dr

djstar8 said,
I can speak on this the guy who developed facebook or "the facebook" it was actually the early version of Facebook Mr zuck (or as I call him suck) stole his ideas and changed a few things the the shell of the site was developed by Mr Paul D. Ceglia.. So the legalities of this issue will likely end up in Paul's favor .. even if the site changed after it was done contract law is something that MR SUCK takes serious he was greedy for the fame.. but soon that will all be undone and the truth will come out maybe he had a voice in the finishing product but himself he did not design the site.. he just had ideas to make it better that's it.. Concepts are great till you have guy to do them.. by him saying he did it on his own is ludacris cause if he did why did he hire a Web Designer in the first place?.. I hope that idiot has his greed slap him in the face cause again when does MR Suck care about anyone but himself?... Even with the leak in security how long did it take them to fix privacy settings and yet leaks of personal accounts still happen.. after the recent updates.. He is staking up the money but not solving any of the issues why .. I think its because he does not know the coding behind the site & he knows that if designing it the way it was before is an infringement so he has a team working on a redesign hence all the upgrades etc.. he is trying to show that its different but under the hood its the same with a skin on top '' Do onions change the way they look no you just remove a layer of skin till u get to the core and then u see the structure behind this (he does not respect his partners work) and greed will come back to haunt him!

Your story is flawed. I guess sub concisiously that you think your hurting this Mark from Facebook and been petty whilst at it by calling him Mr Suck over the internet. Fact is hes rich and you and your mate are jelous. FACT.

Sawyer12 said,

Your story is flawed. I guess sub concisiously that you think your hurting this Mark from Facebook and been petty whilst at it by calling him Mr Suck over the internet. Fact is hes rich and you and your mate are jelous. FACT.

Are you sure you know what a fact is? You realize saying fact before and after something YOU believe to be true does NOT make it a fact, right?

DavidM said,

Are you sure you know what a fact is? You realize saying fact before and after something YOU believe to be true does NOT make it a fact, right?

I wouldn't even have taken the time to reply, his post is nearly incoherent and loaded with ignorance... you can't argue with stupid.

djstar8 said,
I can speak on this the guy who developed facebook or "the facebook" it was actually the early version of Facebook Mr zuck (or as I call him suck) stole his ideas and changed a few things the the shell of the site was developed by Mr Paul D. Ceglia..
So nice to hear your thoughts Mr. Ceglia.

Interesting, if the case is as described by WSJ, then he may have a serious clame that will probably be settled with a truckload of cash....

bdsams said,
Interesting, if the case is as described by WSJ, then he may have a serious clame that will probably be settled with a truckload of cash....

I'd love an actual truck to turn up to my house full of cash. Hopefully in large notes.

njlouch said,

I'd love an actual truck to turn up to my house full of cash. Hopefully in large notes.

Assorted notes would do just fine, as long as it`s a big truck

"A company spokesman says blah blah blah." Am I the only one who gets tired of hearing the same crap?

If this guy has a contract why did he wait so long? It should be open shut. I find it curious.

Xenosion said,
If this guy has a contract why did he wait so long? It should be open shut. I find it curious.

The longer he waits, the more money Facebook makes. It's the same with other companies who sue Microsoft for something 10 years ago.

Xenosion said,
"A company spokesman says blah blah blah." Am I the only one who gets tired of hearing the same crap?

If this guy has a contract why did he wait so long? It should be open shut. I find it curious.

Open shut? Is that something like 'wide closed'?

Metodi Mitov said,

Open shut? Is that something like 'wide closed'?

He means that it should be an open and shut case, as in this will be over very quickly.

Xenosion said,
"A company spokesman says blah blah blah." Am I the only one who gets tired of hearing the same crap?

If this guy has a contract why did he wait so long? It should be open shut. I find it curious.

You see this all the time in the corporate world. It's called "patent trolling".

Lilrichie said,
The article states that he gains 50% in the product but that product was The Face Book?

the face book was its original name, go to thefacebook.com and it takes you right to facebook, its done that for years... since facebook started to be exact