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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

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.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?