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Paul Ceglia: Facebook Is Doing the Forgery, Not Me

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the bored-now dept.

Facebook 135

An anonymous reader writes "Last week, Facebook said it found the original 'authentic contract' between Mark Zuckerberg and Paul Ceglia, a man who claims he owns half of the company according to a 2003 contract. Now, Ceglia says the original 'authentic contract' Facebook claims to have found is really just a Photoshopped image the company planted on his computer."

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Riiight... (3, Insightful)

mackil (668039) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119038)

"is really just a Photoshopped image the company planted on his computer." .... yeah, the courts will buy that one. Didn't work for this guy [thesmokinggun.com] .

Re:Riiight... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37119222)

Facebook hired a PR firm to shop articles to journalists, bloggers, and information security experts in order to smear Google. They are not above playing corporate dirty tricks, especially when there are billions of dollars at stake. That said, TFA is lame since it's not 100% clear that the guy the reporter is communicating with is actually Paul Ceglia.

Re:Riiight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37119684)

Are you the same anonymous Google fanboy who posts in every Google article? Facebook didn't hire anyone to "smear" Google. They were letting people know about Google's many privacy violations and trying to get balanced coverage, since the media is so in bed with Google.

Re:Riiight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37119802)

Are you the same anonymous Google fanboy who posts in every Google article? Facebook didn't hire anyone to "smear" Google. They were letting people know about Google's many privacy violations and trying to get balanced coverage, since the media is so in bed with Google.

Are you the same anonymous Facebook shill who posts in every Facebook article?

Re:Riiight... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37119818)

Jesus, you're fucking stupid...

Facebook admits hiring PR firm to smear Google [engadget.com]

It seems like the ongoing rivalry between Facebook and Google has taken a turn for the subversive. Last night, a spokesman for the social network confirmed to the Daily Beast that Facebook paid a top PR firm to spread anti-Google stories across the media and to encourage various outlets to examine allegations that the Mountain View company was violating user privacy. The PR firm, Burson-Marsteller, even offered to help blogger Chris Soghoian write a critical op-ed piece about Social Circle -- a service that allows Gmail users to access information on so-called "secondary connections," or friends of their friends.

and that's from the very first Google hit, dumbass.

http://www.google.com/search?q=facebook+pr+firm+smear+google

Re:Riiight... (3, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#37120460)

and that's from the very first Google hit, dumbass.

it doesn't show up in Facebook search?

Re:Riiight... (1)

Plombo (1914028) | more than 3 years ago | (#37120084)

since the media is so in bed with Google.

Not true at all. Especially not for the American media conglomerates.

Re:Riiight... (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119324)

Well, that's actually quite different. There was immediate and factual evidence on his person, and he admitted to placing it there. Whether or not it was his, by putting it on his person he is now responsible for it. He might have been able to argue the crack wasn't his if he left it on the floor under the passenger seat or something.

Both Ceglia and Facebook have no solid evidence, and as two technically-inclined parties, they are basically having a he-said-she-said fight about fabricated evidence on both sides.

Re:Riiight... (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119532)

Except that the forensic evidence was examined by a third party and not FB. In the case of disks, the expert will image the drives and examine their copies. That's normal in these cases. Certainly Celigia can present his experts to rebut FB experts but if Celigia's drive has the file then he's in trouble. If he's deleted the file, then he's in more trouble. If he's tried to cover up tampering with the drive, it gets worse. That's why FB wants a the original document and not a copy which could have been photoshopped.

Re:Riiight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37119440)

"is really just a Photoshopped image the company planted on his computer." ....

yeah, the courts will buy that one.

Accusing your opponent (or anyone) of perjury is a big deal - both sides are doing it here and a high standard of evidence will be expected. However, it isn't like this is the first time a court has had to consider a serious accusation. This is what they're there for. Sometimes someone really is guilty of perjury (or murder,treason, whatever) and the courts will take the claims seriously.

Re:Riiight... (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#37120038)

yeah, the courts will buy that one

They don't need to. There is software that authenticates originals vs. 'shopped versions. IIRC, it analyzes entropy in the frequency domain and can make a 'heat map' of doctored images.

Re:Riiight... (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 3 years ago | (#37120776)

That sounds like forensic voodoo. It may be helpful to determine whether you (you = the judge or jury) believe that the document in front of you was modified after it was created, but it is far from conclusive either way.

Re:Riiight... (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#37121010)

That sounds like forensic voodoo.

You should read the papers. It might be possible to fake, but it's very useful for everything that's carefully constructed to foil this sort of analysis.

Re:Riiight... (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#37121062)

err, 'not carefully constructed'

Re:Riiight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37120062)

I have a question. Why do people always put drugs in clear plastic bags or pill bottles? I'd put it in a jar, then put that jar in a bigger jar and fill the bigger jar with blueberry jam, so you couldn't see or smell anything.

Re:Riiight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37120662)

Mmmm! Blueberry jam!

Re:Riiight... (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 3 years ago | (#37120806)

Supposedly dogs can separate out smells like we can separate out objects with our eyes. You can't mask the smell, you can only hope to keep it from permeating through the container before you get checked. This is according to a police dog video on youtube.

Re:Riiight... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#37120928)

Cheap storage I guess. Such a small quantity is not really going to have much smell. Either this guy was smoking dope in the car or the cop lied about the smell. Just like he claimed 36 in a 30 was a "high rate of speed".

Re:Riiight... (1)

lgarner (694957) | more than 3 years ago | (#37120802)

And since when is an image of a document considered to be the original document? The Original Contract is a signed piece of paper in someone's files, not a jpg of a pdf of a scan...

Sheesh (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37119056)

"I was cheated out of half of Facebook" is going to be this century's "I was the fifth Beatle."

Re:Sheesh (0)

toby (759) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119378)

Are you saying there was no 5th Beatle? Or that Facebook didn't cheat Ceglia? Can you cite evidence either way? What, in fact, are you saying? Do you know why the legal system exists?

Re:Sheesh (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119672)

Are you saying there was no 5th Beatle? Or that Facebook didn't cheat Ceglia? Can you cite evidence either way? What, in fact, are you saying? Do you know why the legal system exists?

oooh I do, I do. A> To allow lawyers to screw over citizens.

Re:Sheesh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37119718)

So lawyers don't have to go back to selling used cars?

Re:Sheesh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37119848)

Are you saying there was no 5th Beatle?

No.

Or that Facebook didn't cheat Ceglia?

No.

Can you cite evidence either way?

No.

What, in fact, are you saying?

That, when there is a lot of money/power/fame/etc at stake, there will inevitably be many, many people who claim they are entitled to said money/power/fame.

And that most of them are probably deluding themselves.

Do you know why the legal system exists?

Yes, and I'm smart enough to know that I'm not a lawyer (Are you?), a judge, or a party to this litigation. Do you know why Internet discussion sites like Slashdot exist? Do you ever get confused between "court of law" and "Internet discussion site?"

Re:Sheesh (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#37121564)

Nice. It's not often an AC owns a three digit UID so handily.

Re:Sheesh (3, Informative)

boristdog (133725) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119844)

More like the Howard Hughes last will and testament of the 21st century.

This guy makes a good Melvin Dumar.

Re:Sheesh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37120826)

Even Melvin had some potentially credible evidence that his story was true. As time passed a few people came forward to add credence to his story, too.

Obviously (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119062)

I mean, if I were Facebook that's exactly what I'd do.

I'd hack into some random guy's computer, and create a photoshopped image of a contract that says he owns half the company.

Re:Obviously (4, Interesting)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119120)

And the photoshopped image includes Zuckerberg's address that he lived at a year later than the signed document date, which was retrieved from Ceglia's parents computer - the only PC that was named in a suit - rather than his many other computers he owns.

Re:Obviously (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119468)

At what point does a judge say "If I see you again, you'll be thrown in jail for contempt and perjury"?

Re:Obviously (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 3 years ago | (#37120304)

Ask Jack Thompson.

Re:Obviously (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119812)

I've got no idea what's really going on, but this Ceglia guy could have been the one that goofed when using the wrong address.. and been using his parents' computer to try and keep evidence off his own machines.

Everyone already knows that Zuckerberg and his buddies are scum.

Ceglia is obviously also highly dubious - why didn't he bring all this up a long time ago if what he says is true?

Re:Obviously (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119894)

Why would Z want to use that contract, when it is clearly a forgery? The problem with your theory is that Z is claiming that is the real contract.

Re:Obviously (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119886)

The photoshoped image doesn't include his future address. I believe Ceglia was refering to an earlier unrelated case where Zuckerberg was cought forging a document. He claims Zuckerberg admitted to the forgery. Zuckerberg has admitted that he forged this contract. Probably something to do with the Eduardo Saverin affair. Or the case with Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. The hacking claim had to do with hacking a student newspaper to get into a rivals email.

Correction, misstyped something (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119908)

^ Zuckerberg hasn't admitted that he forged this contract

Re:Obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37120128)

On the other hand, if I were Facebook, that's exactly what I would do as well.

I'd hack into the computer of the person who I signed over half my company to, and plant evidence suggesting that the contract was fake.

Well, I'm Embarrassed Just Reading This (2)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119082)

Obviously Ceglia's not embarrassed so I guess someone has to be. In regards to Ceglia's rap sheet, I'm not too keen on ad hominem attacks ... it's sort of hard, though, when one of his key points in his rambling letter is merely an ad hominem attack on Zuckerberg:

It is obvious that these major outlets continue to protect Mark and his "new image". He is an admitted forgerer, he was forced to admit it under oath, not because he feels compelled to tell the truth, like ever, but because he carelessly wrote as his home adress on the document he was forging an address that he didnt know about or move to until more than a year after the document was supposedly written! A rational person would think I need not say more, and that surely my arrest for mushrooms 14 years ago or the fact that I fell behind on wood pellet orders that have long since paid back is irrelevant compared to the more daming and far more on point evidence that Zuckerberg is an admitted forger and an admitted hacker, yet a read of the major media outlets shows what most people know already, that our “Free Press” slant the news to the big boss’s views. A luxury afforded the Billionaires of this world that clearly have their own agendas. Perhaps calling them out like this will force some two sided coverage of the story.

Ceglia gets hilariously specific about his past problems ... and hilariously unspecific about Zuckerberg's. I am in the very uncomfortable (and unfamiliar) position of defending Zuckerberg and pondering whence we begin ignoring this crackpot Ceglia.

If anyone is wondering why Ceglia has milled through four law firms, you need only read the letter he submitted to the press and (apparently) did not attach any NDAs to. I would guess this letter would be a defense attorney's wet dream (assuming Ceglia allows them to prove it came from him).

From the Arab Spring to the riots of London last week, I see that social networks are the peoples tools to not only talk about how bored we are today, or to worry about everyone seeing that last photo we put up, but also when users are oppressed somewhere and realize it, it obviously can be used to overthrow tyranny and outmanuever the forces that protect the establishment. It’s become the peoples voice and a powerful tool to unite the masses. It’s a tool that deserves to stay in the hands and control of the people.

You know what's really pathetic and disgusting to me? Watching someone try to abduct an entire set of social causes and violent radical movements for their own fucking he said/he said lawsuit that stands to benefit them to the tune of billions of dollars. Really, I don't see what that has to do with the legitimacy of your ownership of any part of Facebook. Justice shouldn't care what you do with what belongs to you, it should only be concerned with you having what belongs to you. Disgusting.

Re:Well, I'm Embarrassed Just Reading This (2)

toby (759) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119390)

Well, Zuckerberg *is* a gold plated fucking asshole, so one can hardly fault Ceglia for saying so.

Re:Well, I'm Embarrassed Just Reading This (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37119478)

Another from the Steve Jobs school of Computer Management then.

Re:Well, I'm Embarrassed Just Reading This (1)

lgarner (694957) | more than 3 years ago | (#37120824)

True, but completely irrelevant to the case at hand.

Re:Well, I'm Embarrassed Just Reading This (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37119456)

Come on, Zuckerberg is an "admitted forgerer" [sic]. Someone who is capable of forgerery is capable of anything.

Re:Well, I'm Embarrassed Just Reading This (1)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119574)

Come on, Zuckerberg is an "admitted forgerer" [sic]. Someone who is capable of forgerery is capable of anything.

Someone who is capable of forgerery is only capable of producing documents that prove they are capable of anything. There's a difference.

Admited hacker. (1)

Tei (520358) | more than 3 years ago | (#37120022)

So we are here already? the name hacker has ben demonized, so if you admit you are a hacker, is like admiting you have commit crimes?

Society, I am dissapointed.

Man this is annoying (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119094)

OK, on one hand some of this stuff is news-worthy. It's a huge company, and there are allegations flying around involving the ownership and origins of said company. Likewise, there's a bunch of stuff going around about falsified documents or supposed chat logs.

So yes, on one hand it IS news... and news for nerds at that since Facebook is such a huge presence online. And while I don't use it, I'm sure a fair percentage of /. readers us it.

But part of me just wants to throw my hands up in the air and say "enough already, just give me the final verdicts." I don't mean /. perse, just the general news I see everywhere about it. The whole situation is so complicated that even if final decisions on all matters are reached we'll never know what REALLY happened.

Meanwhile it's a lawyer pissing match. This document is real, no that's a fake THIS one is real. But he agreed to this, nuh-uh, ah-huh, nuh-uh, ah-ah, etc.

I see... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119116)

Unless somebody really fucked up in terms of the conditions under which computer forensics expert witnesses had access to the computer(and at least one forensics guy is willing to risk some serious smackdown, presumably for compensation that somebody else would be risking serious smackdown to provide him...) the "but they planted it on my computer!" defense seems unlikely to work well...

(Again, barring monumental incompetence on the part of at least one party in a hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars-on-the-line case) this just isn't the sort of situation where the computer in question would have been left in Sheriff Bubba's evidence locker/misc. supplies closet with a sticky note asking people not to touch it.

Re:I see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37119292)

He's not claiming their forensics team did anything out of line. He's claiming that the image they found had mysteriously appeared on his computer "some time" ago, and he had noticed it and of course has no idea where it came from, but he's quite sure that someone from Facebook had to have hacked his computer and planted it there for forensics to later conveniently "find".

Yes, it's pretty funny. He really doesn't know when to give up.

Re:I see... (2)

powerlord (28156) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119332)

(Again, barring monumental incompetence on the part of at least one party in a hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars-on-the-line case) this just isn't the sort of situation where the computer in question would have been left in Sheriff Bubba's evidence locker/misc. supplies closet with a sticky note asking people not to touch it.

Yes, but in this sort of situation, all it takes is one person with a "look at the upside, and what are the chances we'll be caught?" attitude to try to make this sort of thing happen.

I'm not saying it did, but the higher the $$$ on the line, the more people SHOULD be looking at the chain of evidence and all, but also the more incentive to make things "happen".

Re:I see... (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119556)

I'm not sure. I have as intense a dislike for Zuckerberg and his site as the next guy, but whichever way this goes he's going to be richer than god. If, on the other hand, he was caught (or someone acting as his agent, with or without his explicit knowledge but for whom he was ultimately responsible was caught) fabricating evidence, that's a jail sentence, right? I could understand taking that risk if he was going to lose everything, but since that's not going to happen it's far more likely that Ceglia is mistaken.

What took so long? (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119138)

If the contract was from 2003-2004, why the hell did he wait 6-7 years to file suit?

Ceglia appears to be just another deranged attention whore who wants to steal someone else's money.

Re:What took so long? (3, Funny)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119676)

He says he forgot about it and only found the documents last year when he was sued for something else. I know what he means because I forget that I own a majority of a billion dollar company all the time. I mean Steve Jobs owes me half of Apple because I showed him how he looks great in a black turtleneck. I have the contract next to MS contract where I showed Ballmer how to dance in exchange for 10% of MS.

Does he realize... (1)

swan5566 (1771176) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119140)

that he's put all of his eggs in this basket? If he comes out with nothing (which is likely), he'll have nothing to show for it and have such a infamous name no one will want to sign anything with him ever again. I think he jumped for a golden rope without looking down to see how far he'd fall if he missed.

Re:Does he realize... (1)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119410)

he jumped for a golden rope without looking down to see how far he'd fall if he missed

yeah, so he falls... and faces that shitty middle-class life; what a downer. meanwhile he could gave a little fight for that 10 billion dollars that might actually be his.

Re:Does he realize... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119914)

I didn't know jail was known as "middle-class life" these days..

Re:Does he realize... (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#37120290)

Oh, of course. Prisoners have a right to a comfortable living condition. You get an articulate room mate, 3 hot meals a day, exercise, sunlight, a library, Internet, a guaranteed job, you even get to form organized sports teams to play in Prison League--even against other prisons! Your living expenses are paid, you get medical, you get education, lots of leisure, and sometimes in-cell TV.

Re:Does he realize... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#37120344)

That depends on the jail. The Window that described "middle class" these days is pretty low and small compared to what it was 10-15 years ago.

ugh (4, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119146)

I hate to say this, but facebook's already won this battle. They probably cheated but unless someone can prove it this guy needs to shut up.

Ceglia should have kept a watchful eye and documented the shit out of everything.

What's more, this lawsuit is ages old and he could have nipped this situation in the bud a long ass time ago.

If someone rips you off, you take care of it promptly. You don't just sit on your ass and let damages accrue.

I would dismiss his case with prejudice on grounds of either laches or statute of limitations or both. Besides, he already made a binding settlement in the form of what proved to be very lucrative stock options.

Unless he can show that Facebook somehow committed fraud *in that settlement* he has no standing to sue.

I'm all for fighting the good fight but once you've waved the white flag the game is over.

Re:ugh (3, Funny)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119318)

"They probably cheated..."

On what exactly do you base this?

Re:ugh (3, Insightful)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119372)

it's what all big corporations do. Nobody gets rich off of hard work and diligence like they preach to you. you either inherit money or steal it.

Re:ugh (3, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119486)

There's no doubt Zuckerberg fucked people over on his way up. In fact, the parties that have at least some claim to having be screwed by Zuckerberg are all well known. This Ceglia guy isn't one of them. He's either delusional or the world's worst con man.

Re:ugh (5, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#37120028)

Nobody gets rich off of hard work and diligence like they preach to you. you either inherit money or steal it.

Uh.. okay. And all gross generalisations are true, clearly.

The business I work for has worked its way up from the ground, with products we designed, built and hire out with operating crew. All through hard work and diligence. We're not exactly a "big corporation" yet, but we're currently looking at selling off our sales division for several million, and ploughing that money back into more R&D.

There are a lot of rich, scummy people out there sure, but you don't need to be scum to get rich..

Re:ugh (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#37120492)

So you made big money by charging more than you had to, right?, stealing from the customers who apparently had no better choice than to work with you, and therefore no leverage in the price negotiations.

Re:ugh (1)

lgarner (694957) | more than 3 years ago | (#37120894)

1. Charging more than you "have to" isn't stealing, it's making a profit. This is a good thing, since it's the only way to stay in business. Stealing is a crime, selling a product at a mutually agreeable price is not.

2. If customers have no better choice than you, then you're the best choice available. Either the lowest price, fastest delivery, best product, or any combination of these. Again, being the best is a good thing.

Re:ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37120740)

...millions, eh?

Um...remember how you and I had that verbal contract or something that entitled me to like, half of whatever that company was? You were wearing a blue shirt.

I totally remember that.

Re:ugh (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 3 years ago | (#37121036)

i forgot my (sarcasm) tag. The scary thing is that i got modded insightful. I was trying to say the most ludicrous thing I possibly could.

Re:ugh (1, Offtopic)

raddan (519638) | more than 3 years ago | (#37121298)

I hope you guys succeed, but I tend to agree with the parent: once your company gets big enough, someone will go out of their way to eat your lunch. That's essentially the purpose that patents serve nowadays.

I once worked for a great small company, and the smartest thing they ever did was let one of the big players (the most friendly big player) come around and buy them. They're allowed to operate independently, and they benefit from their parent corp's legal team and other resources. Most of their old, small competitors are simply gone-- wiped off the map by the bigger players-- who bought their IP and layed off all of the employees.

Re:ugh (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#37120048)

Have you been paying attention to Facebook at all in the last few years? [businessinsider.com] Here's a quote from Zuckerburg:

Zuck: [Users] "trust me"
Zuck: Dumb fucks

The fact is later he actually did use people's information to hack into private email addresses and read them, in an attempt to get better news coverage for his website. He basically sucks.

Re:ugh (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119362)

If someone rips you off, you take care of it promptly. You don't just sit on your ass and let damages accrue.

but it works so well for patent trolls.

Re:ugh (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119932)

Actually I wonder why they're allowed to get away with it.

Facebook would not have had access (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119184)

In a case like this, the computer doesn't EVER get touched by the opposition. It gets analyzed by a third party. So there would have to be a conspiracy encompassing the bribing and corruption of an otherwise unrelated party.

Re:Facebook would not have had access (3, Interesting)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119374)

He is claiming that they planted the evidense on his mothers computer before the requested it as evidense. That it was planted prior to him handing it over. Its possible, but he has no evidense of it.

Re:Facebook would not have had access (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 3 years ago | (#37121302)

He is claiming that they planted the evidense on his mothers computer before the requested it as evidense. That it was planted prior to him handing it over.

Ah, OK. Wow...

Re:Facebook would not have had access (1)

cusco (717999) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119482)

In all fairness that's not an unreasonable suspicion in a case that has gazillions of dollars riding on it. A for-profit lab needs repeat business, and a major law firm (like I would assume Zuckerberg would employ) can create that. It's not like low-level technicians are unbribable either, unless their finances are under a remarkable amount of scrutiny from their employer, and it's not like lawyers are known as paragons of virtue. The public serously underestimates the amount of corruption in law enforcement, I don't think they have even the vaguest idea how often it occurs in these for-profit labs. A retired legal secretary that I know overheard her employers recommending such-and-such lab for the paternity tests on their client's kids, because "they always come back with the **right** answer."

Is that an issue here? Dunno, and doubt that we'll ever know. If Ceglia didn't watch it change custody at every single turn and personally examine the conditions under which it was stored and analyzed he won't either.

Re:Facebook would not have had access (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 3 years ago | (#37121278)

If Ceglia didn't watch it change custody at every single turn and personally examine the conditions under which it was stored and analyzed he won't either.

I'm pretty sure he already knows ;-)

Re:Facebook would not have had access (1)

shugah (881805) | more than 3 years ago | (#37121388)

First of all, there is no Law Enforcement involved here, just lawyers and contracts. If Ceglia wants to contest the forensic analysis of the document, he will have to hire a credible lab to rebut Zuckerberg's lab's findings. Forensics labs don't build their business by being wrong. The court will weigh the credibility of the experts and exercise its judgement.

This case comes down the the existence, validity and enforceability of the contract between Zuckerberg and Ceglia. There are 2 versions of all the evidence: Ceglia's version and Zuckerberg's version. Neither party disputes that there was a contract. Ceglia claims he provided start up funding for "The Facebook" and hired Zuckerberg to develop the "StreetFax" site and that the penalties for late delivery on the StreetFax project gave him majority equity in Facebook. Zuckerberg's version is that he was hired to develop StreetFax but never paid in full and there was no contractual connection between Ceglia and Facebook. So whose claims are more credible?

I tend to believe Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg's investigators claim that Ceglia has a long history of shady and fraudulent business practices including selling swamp land in Florida on eBay, shill bidding on his own land auctions on eBay, forging documents to support fraudulent land sales and of course the larceny charges in NY w.r.t. his wood pallet business. Zuckerberg's lawyers and reporters have produced court documents to back most of these claims up. In addition to the larceny charges in NY, there are court documents showing that Ceglia was charged with misdemeanor trespassing on an orange grove in Florida - apparently he was trying to sell the land (that he didn't own) to an ederly couple. Nice guy. Evidence of his eBay land auctions should be easy to cross reference with land title databases. The press has had enough time to validate these claims, and they do not look good for Ceglia.

Ceglia's email evidence was initially pretty damning - it shows a string of emails between himself and Zuckerberg in which Zuckerberg (Mark in the emails) is apologetic for being late on the "StreetFax" project, discusses Ceglia's funding of "The Facebook" project and is pessimistic about [Facebook's] future, offering to refund Ceglia's start-up funds. In Ceglia's emails also have Zuckerberg discussing some upper-classmen (presumably the Winklevoss's) with a competing idea and Zuckerberg's intention to "hold them off". Ceglia also has a contract (which is apparently too confidential to disclose the original) and a cancelled cheque in which he paid Zuckerberg $1000. This evidence was enough to get DLA Piper of NY to represent him.

However Zuckerberg's team has gone through his account on the Harvard email servers and not found these emails. We can have some confidence in this, because Zuckerberg's email records were already subpoenaed in the Winklevoss case, and if such damning evidence had been there, the settlement would have been much, much larger. What Zuckerberg's team did find on the Harvard email servers were numerous emails between Ceglia and Zuckerberg in which Ceglia was apologetic for being unable to pay Zuckerberg for work done on the "StreetFax" project. According to these emails, at one point, Zuckerberg had apparently taken "aggressive action" against the StreetFax site as a result of non-payment and Celgia was begging "Mark" not do do so again. If Zuckerberg has forged/faked these emails, he would also have to hack the Harvard server backups and plant the fakes there. I'm not a computer forensics expert, but I have dug through enough backups to know that inserting emails (on someone elses server) without leaving a trail not easy to do.

On Zuckerberg's version of the contract (produced very late in the game), there is no mention of Facebook. Ceglia's version (also produced very late in the game) has him acquiring most of Facebook. Whose late production of the contract is more credible? Is it reasonably that a billionaire - for whom an insignificantly small coding project for a classmate in college, for which (he believes) he was not fully paid, that had (in his version) no connection to his now multi-billion dollar business, would not have maintained a ready copy of this contract? On the other hand, ss it reasonable that a guy who has been a failure in a string of small businesses, who felt he had a claim to a multi-billion dollar company would have not kept the contract that proved his claim in a very, very secure and readily available place?

So - whose tale of the emails is correct? Ceglia's who records come only from his own computer, or Zuckerberg's who evidence includes his own computer(s) and the Harvard email servers? The Harvard backups are easily verified, and Zuckerberg's lawyers have subpoenaed Ceglia's hard drives.

Zuckerberg's people have found a crudely photoshopped version of the contract on a hard drive (and apparently USB drives) belonging to Ceglia's mother. Ceglia claims that he has known about his forged document for quite some time and that it was planted (presumably by Zuckerberg) on the hard drive. In an email to ZDNet, he claims this based on the fact that Zuckerberg's lawyers specifically asked for his mother's hard drive. Zuckerberg's lawyers would have been incompetent to have NOT requested every computer that Ceglia used - including his mother's since Harvard. Finding the document is not evidence that they planted it.

Finally, Ceglia, in filing his amended complaint, was represented by a high profile NY law firm, DLA Piper, a large international firm with expertise in technology cases. After Zuckerman answered with evidence of Ceglia's shady past and that the documents were forged and the emails were fakes, he is now represented by Jeffrey Lake of San Diego, a sole proprietor and a virtual unknown. Why would a major law firm drop a client who has a "compelling" case that could involve majority ownership of a multi-billion dollar company? Why would a man with such a compelling case drop his high profile representation in favor of an unknown guy with not track record? Doesn't add up.

Should have quit when he was ahead (2)

weeboo0104 (644849) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119206)

Some people know when to stop digging the hole they're in.
Other people, at that moment, take out the blasting caps and dynamite.

What a hoot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37119212)

Via the PaulsCase wiki, Ceglia is trying to open source his lawsuit. His current lawyer is on an interim basis and Ceglia is looking for a more “collaborative” law firm to work with him.

The guy's clearly going down in flames and he still won't give up. Amazing.

If it's been photoshopped (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37119256)

If it was Photoshoped there are methods for it to be determined if it was.

Re:If it's been photoshopped (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119366)

Only if you have the altered image. If say the image was then printed then copied/faxed the alerations are not easily detected. However it would be highly suspicious if you can't produce the original and can only produce copies.

Re:If it's been photoshopped (1)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119636)

I just want to hear his lawyer say "I've seen a few photoshops in my day..."

Meh hard to make of it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37119294)

Zuckerberg is a piece of sleaze, and I wouldn't put any trust facebook as a corporation, since their entire business model is built around exploiting people.

I wouldn't be surprised if this guy actually did fund the first handful of servers. Zuckerberg surely didn't do anything himself, merely took credit after the fact.

Just look at the images (1)

Bryan3000000 (1356999) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119400)

The awesome thing is that Ceglia's version of the contract just looks wrong. Indentation is screwed up with handwritten stuff pasted in.

The 'recovered version' looks like a properly drawn contract, formatted properly, etc, with that same handwritten line in a much more appropriate place lower on the page.

You would expect a manipulation of an image of a contract page to screw up the formatting in order to leave a lot of stuff in place. Also, in Ceglia's version the dollar amounts appear manipulated in their terms to match the original total dollar amount while apportioning them in a strange and incomplete manner. The original contract terms look relatively simple, appropriate, and complete.

So either Ceglia did a hack job, or Facebook was able to buy off an independent forensics team and produce a really fine looking forgery based on a really screwed-up looking original.

Gee, I wonder what makes more sense.

Don't know who to side with (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119418)

Which shady scumbag am I supposed to trust here?

Re:Don't know who to side with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37120118)

I could tell you, but it'll cost you.

Re:Don't know who to side with (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 3 years ago | (#37120822)

If your question were the Slashdot poll, then the only options with votes would be the CowboyNeal option and omgp0nies.

Ceglia must have deep pockets... (1)

adosch (1397357) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119420)

How does one even afford to open a somewhat baseless lawsuit (e.g. in terms of evidence and he-said-they-said arguments) against one of the biggest companies in the U.S. and not be poor bastard after a handful of months paying ridiculous amounts of hourly lawyer wages? I could care less of the outcome, but as far as his lawyer, it's a big risk if he/she is basing their profit off a 'win' in the courtroom I would think.

Re:Ceglia must have deep pockets... (1)

cusco (717999) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119572)

The attorneys in suits like this are working for a portion of the expected profits (generally ~30%, but for class actions suits it can be as high as 90%). When Ceglia loses he'll be out the time he spent, but probably won't owe the lawyers anything more than administrative costs.

Mutually assured desctruction (1)

DemonGenius (2247652) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119614)

I hope both of these douches exhaust all their available resources fighting each other. Obviously, Zuckerberg will barely flinch from this, but one can hope otherwise.

He can see the pixels! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37119640)

I can see it now:
"Ladies and gentlemen of the alleged jury, my client, Mr. Ceglia, has told me that he can see the pixels in the contract thus proving it's a forgery."

Uhm... "Photoshopped"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37119646)

Ah, you mean GIMPed.

Don't Care If He Is Legit (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119708)

He shouldn't get half of Facebook given his investment. Other people invested real time and money into the company to make it what it is. From employees who got shares for their work to investors who provided millions of dollars for marketing and salaries. It is unreasonable to allow a submarine investment of $1000 trump all that effort. If he were a good investor he would have stayed in contact with the company in the early days. He would have paid attention and shown up for share holder meetings and made his claim in 2004. By forgetting about his investment he effectivelly abbandaned it.

I don't believe his claim is legit. But if it was he still shouldn't get half. He abbandoned his investement by not disclosing it earlier

Re:Don't Care If He Is Legit (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#37119972)

You are a child. If the claim is legit then he is entitled to whatever Zuckerburg agreed to upon that time. If he agreed to half then half is what he is owed. Grow up.

Re:Don't Care If He Is Legit (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 3 years ago | (#37120122)

Abusive ad hominem (also called personal abuse or personal attacks) usually involves insulting or belittling one's opponent in order to attack his claim or invalidate his argument

Insulting people doesn't make you argument valid. Neglecting your property is a sure fire way to lose it. That is what Ceglia is claiming to have done. He is claiming that he forgot he owned half of a company. When this company was meeting and deciding how to split things up when new investors came along where was Ceglia? He wan't there. Thus he wasn't included in the negotiation. Its his fault he wasn't there. His own neglect is what caused all of this.

Assuming the contract isn't a forgery.

Re:Don't Care If He Is Legit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37120812)

that was an insult (you are a child because you are wrong), not an ad hominem (you are wrong because you are a child). see the difference? now grow up.

Re:Don't Care If He Is Legit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37121140)

I don't see how that matters. Does the contract state "if you don't claim your half within X years, this contract is void"? Is there some law that says "if you forget about a contract for X years it's void"? I don't understand your argument. If I forget where I parked my car for 5 years and then go and find it, that doesn't mean someone else has the legal right to take my car for their own just because I forgot about it. Unless something like that exists, and his claims are valid, then he's owed half a company.

Re:Don't Care If He Is Legit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37121408)

Yes, you can lose legal rights if you do not exercise them in a timely fashion. Whether that is possible in this case I don't know, but "laches" is the term you're looking for.

from wikipedia: laches - an "unreasonable delay pursuing a right or claim...in a way that prejudices the [opposing] party". When asserted in litigation, it is an equitable defense, or doctrine. The person invoking laches is asserting that an opposing party has "slept on its rights," and that, as a result of this delay, circumstances have changed such that it is no longer just to grant the plaintiff's original claim. Put another way, failure to assert one’s rights in a timely manner can result in a claim's being barred by laches. Laches is a form of estoppel for delay.

digital signing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37119966)

Do any of these documents bear digital signatures?

Seems like a poster case for why that would be a good idea.

The true solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37120068)

Threaten to cut Facebook in half.

Whoever refuses to allow this to happen is the true father of Facebook.

He said/she said arugement. (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 3 years ago | (#37120584)

It's what this has degraded to. And usually in these cases, the courts side with whoever has the most money. Guess who that is?

pedo uses this too! (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 3 years ago | (#37120888)

If this will fly in court, it will be nice to see if all the pedos will line up afterwards and use the same excuse with this precedent.
I guess only time will tell if the pockets are deep enough to buy off the judge.

Mark Zuckerberg new Jimbo Wales? (1)

ginbot462 (626023) | more than 3 years ago | (#37121556)

I love to see some drama .. but it sounds like Ceglia doesn't have the case that Larry Sanger has/had with Wikipedia. Hmm.. at least Zuckerberg angered the Ayn Rand cult.

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