Facebook tries to fend off copyright-infringement claim

Former former classmates file copyright lawsuit

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will defend against copyright-infringement allegations on Wednesday, when his lawyers ask a judge to dismiss a complaint filed by three former classmates of Zuckerberg who say he stole the idea for the social-networking site while they attended Harvard University.

Brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra say Facebook was their idea and are asking a judge to give them all of the assets and ownership rights to the site, which could be worth several billion dollars.

In 2002, they say, they began developing a business plan for a Web site originally called the Harvard Connection and later renamed ConnectU. The next year they engaged Mark Zuckerberg to complete the computer program software and other work for the Web site. But they accuse Zuckerberg of using their ideas and code to launch Facebook before finishing the work he promised to do for ConnectU and claiming the idea as his own.

"Zuckerberg knowingly made false statement of intention when he agreed to create, complete, and/or provide source code to . . . the Harvard Connection website," the complaint states. "Zuckerberg never intended to provide the code and instead intended to breach his promise . . . and intended to steal the idea for the Harvard Connection website, and in fact he did so."

The court battle began in 2004, but the original complaint was dismissed -- reportedly because of a technicality -- on March 28. The legal merits of the case were never ruled upon, and Zuckerberg's former classmates refiled their complaint in U.S. District Court in Boston, where tomorrow's hearing will be held to consider Zuckerberg's motions to dismiss.

"Only one of [the students] had an idea significant enough to build a great company. That one person was Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of the popular website, www.facebook.com," Zuckerberg's lawyers state in one of the motions.

Four of Zuckerberg's business partners are also listed as defendants, along with Facebook itself.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon Brodkin

Network World
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?