Facebook has been forced to address the real question at issue in the upstate-New-York-guy-who-claims-he-owns-84%-of-the-company case: Whether Mark Zuckerberg signed a contract giving the guy–Paul Ceglia— this ownership stake.Facebook’s first response, via its lawyers in court, was that the company was “unsure” whether Mark had signed such a contract.
“If we said that we were unsure, I think that was likely taken out of context. Because I think we were quite sure that we did not sign a contract that says that they have any right to ownership over Facebook.“
There is now a tempest in the press teapot about whether Mark was once again being infuriatingly circumspect and effectively dodging the question with a version of “I don’t recall.” But as far as we’re concerned he was clear as a bell.
Mark is saying he didn’t sign a contract giving Paul Ceglia an ownership stake in Facebook, which Mark hadn’t created yet. He is NOT saying he didn’t sign a contract with Ceglia. Mark did some web development work for Ceglia, so it seems perfectly reasonable that he would have signed a contract with Ceglia for that–just not a contract giving Ceglia a stake in Facebook.
Meanwhile, Facebook itself has come out with its strongest dismissal of the case to date by saying that the alleged contract was “forged.” (Paul Ceglia, who was arrested for grand larceny in another matter recently, has apparently yet to produce the original version of the contract in court, so this is a simple claim to make.)
Paul Ceglia’s lawyer, meanwhile, says the contract is “genuine.”And there’s a scenario in which they’re both right–at least to a point.
Mark Zuckerberg probably signed a contract with Paul Ceglia for the development work he did for him. That contract is probably genuine. Mark Zuckerberg probably did not sign a contract giving Paul Ceglia ownership of a future Zuckerberg project called “The Face Book,” which Ceglia’s lawyer says he did. (This is possible, of course, but still doesn’t make sense).
So… one theory here is that Ceglia didn’t forge the whole contract–he simply doctored it to add the part about “The Face Book.”
Bring on the forensic ink testing…