Facebook released a bunch of emails and new forensic evidence today in its lawsuit with Paul Ceglia, a former wood-pellet distributor who claims he owns half of Facebook.The company also filed a “Motion to Dismiss” Ceglia’s lawsuit altogether.
Paul Ceglia hired Mark Zuckerberg in early 2003 to do some contract development work for a project of Ceglia’s called StreetFax.
Ceglia now claims that the same Work For Hire contract also gave Ceglia half-ownership of a Zuckerberg project called “The Facebook.” Zuckerberg says he did not even come up with the idea for Facebook, let alone begin work on it, until the end of that year.
In the court filing, you’ll see all the crazy forensic work that went into showing that Ceglia’s Work For Hire contract has some serious questions about its legitimacy.
Facebook also claims that many of the emails Ceglia has submitted as evidence in his favour are fabricated:
The Purported Emails themselves, which Ceglia has proffered as authentic communications with Mark Zuckerberg, are fabricated. Many of the Purported emails contain the wrong time zone stamp…
…The Purported Emails have formatting differences in the email headers that are inconsistent with Ceglia’s explanation that he simply copied-and-pasted the emails into Word documents. These formatting inconsistencies include differences in the number of spaces following the colon in the “To” and “From” fields and the way in which the word “Tuesday” is abbreviated. These formatting differences indicate that the Purported Emails were either typed or edited manually and were not solely the result of a copy-and-paste operation.
Facebook also checked the contract under ultraviolet light and dove deep down on even the tiniest details — like a pen stroke in a signature.
Facebook did hire the forensic experts with the aim of showing the contract is fraudulent, so there’s a bias to be aware of before going in. Still, it’s pretty cool stuff – and convincing.