Appeals court rejects man's claim he owns half of Facebook

A U.S. appeals court sided with a lower court's decision against Paul Ceglia

Paul Ceglia, who for years has claimed to own 50 percent of Facebook, was denied a bid to revive his case against the company in a U.S. appeals court on Monday.

Ceglia filed suit against Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2010, claiming he was entitled to the ownership stake on the basis of a 2003 "Work for Hire" contract. Zuckerberg had done programming work for Ceglia's company, StreetFax.com. After a federal district court dismissed his ownership claim last year, Ceglia appealed that ruling to a circuit court in New York.

On Monday, the appeals court affirmed the earlier ruling, calling the Work for Hire document a forgery. The court called Ceglia's arguments meritless and said he has "repeatedly demonstrated total disregard for our judicial system."

The court said it lacked evidence the contract was real and had evidence that it wasn't.

"The record contains no master electronic copy of the Work for Hire document, as might be expected if it were authentic, but rather, reflects multiple similar documents that appear to be test forgeries," the ruling said. Plus, the discovery of the real StreetFax contract signed by Ceglia and Zuckerberg "puts the lie to Ceglia's claim," the ruling said.

The fact that Ceglia didn't sue Facebook for seven years "belies common sense," the ruling said. The fact that the movie "The Social Network," about another Facebook ownership dispute, also came out in 2010 may have been more than a coincidence, the court said.

Ceglia had also sued the government to stop its criminal prosecution of him on charges he defrauded Facebook. A lower court refused to revive that lawsuit, and the appeals court agreed with that decision.

"We are pleased that the truth has prevailed," a Facebook spokeswoman said.

Ceglia was on bail in that case but has been missing since at least last month, after cutting off an electronic monitoring bracelet and violating the conditions of his bail. He is believed to have left home with his wife, two children and dog.

Joseph Alioto, an attorney for Ceglia, said he would seek a petition for a rehearing. He said the Work for Hire document was authentic.

Although Ceglia's whereabouts are unknown, some believe he's in Ireland with relatives who live there, said Robert Ross Fogg, a defense attorney in Ceglia's criminal case.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags CriminalInternet-based applications and servicesCivil lawsuitslegalsocial networkingsocial mediainternetFacebook

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

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?