Social Network and the Courts

Who has not heard of the movie Social Network? Social Network is the story behind Facebook and the rise to fame of Mark Zuckerberg.

In 2003, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, students at Harvard and Olympic rowing twins, hired Mark Zuckerberg, another student at Harvard, to code a site they eventually ConnectU.   According to Tyler and Cameron, ConnectU was going to be the next big thing had Mark Zuckerberg not turned their idea into what is now known as Facebook and kept them out of the “loop.”

The Winkelvosses, or as Mark Zuckerberg referred to them in the movie “the Winkelvi,” (my second most favorite part in the movie, second to my favorite which is the deposition clip) sued Facebook and signed a settlement agreement for $65 million dollars in 2008 ($20 million in cash and $45 million worth of stock valued at $36.00 per share). Facebook agreed to the settlement to put an end to the litigation. However, it did not admit to any wrongdoing on the part of Mark Zuckerberg. It appears that earlier this year the Wilkelvoss twins appealed the settlement to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals after District Court denied such request.

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote the opinion of the court  “At some point litigation must come to an end. That point has now been reached.”

I for one am glad.  To tell you the truth I never thought the original suit had any merit.  After seeing the movie, and yes, I do realize that a movie is not real life and that the director and the writers always take some liberties.  However, I choose to believe that what happened was not theft but competition.  Someone took someone’s idea and made it better.   Nothing wrong with that or is there?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s