November 23, 2005 1:03 PM PST

Harvard newspaper subpoenaed in Facebook suit

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Harvard University's student newspaper has become entangled in a legal dispute between networking and social Web site Facebook.com and rival ConnectU.

ConnectU has subpoenaed The Harvard Crimson for materials related to the Web site's ongoing lawsuit against better-known competitor Facebook.

The subpoenas ask the newspaper to hand over all its correspondence, e-mails and interview notes with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg that are related to the launch of Facebook, said ConnectU co-founder and recent Harvard graduate Tyler Winklevoss.

The Crimson reported this week that its president, Lauren Schuker, would not comply with the subpoenas, which require the newspaper to release all materials by Dec. 1.

According to reports, ConnectU has asked a U.S. district court in Boston to shut down Facebook, which has become enormously popular on college campuses nationwide. The company says about 85 percent of students at nearly 900 colleges using the service.

ConnectU filed the suit against Facebook last year, charging Zuckerberg with stealing the concept for his company from ConnectU's creators.

Winklevoss said that Harvard classmate Zuckerberg had worked for him on a service called Harvard Connection, which eventually morphed into ConnectU. Zuckerberg left Harvard Connection, and the creators of ConnectU learned about Zuckerberg's Facebook from a Crimson article last year, Winklevoss said.

"We were just stunned," he said.

A Facebook representative called the Crimson subpoenas "another development in a case that's been unfounded from the beginning." The company has filed a countersuit charging ConnectU with making false claims.

The Palo Alto, Calif-based Facebook, which debuted almost two years ago, allows students to post and peruse personal profiles on its online classmates directory. ConnectU, based in Greenwich, Conn., launched a few months after Facebook's introduction and has not caught on in the same way.

7 comments

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Getting a little green with envy?
Sounds to me like ConnectU's creators are just jealous. Did they patent the concept? Did Zuckerberg actually steal code from them? If the answer is "no" to both of those questions, then ConnectU doesn't have a case. It sounds like they're just whining about Zuckerberg getting Facebook up and running before they got their site going.

Besides... what about all the other clones out there? I can't count how many Facebook-type sites I've seen advertised or have had friends send me invitations to. Did THEY steal the concept from ConnectU, too? I hardly think so.
Posted by jcolletta275 (7 comments )
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Free Advertising...
This just works out to free advertising for both services. If they can really win the suit, maybe they can take ownership of the Facebook assets but I doubt it would get to that.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
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I don't think he has case
Unless Zuckerberg signed no compete, he was stealing trade secrets, or ConnectU has a business method patent then I don't this will last long in court.

IANAL
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
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I had the idea Nov. 19, 2002
That is over three years ago. Near the start of my third year in high school, I created a site like facebook for my classmates. If the date in dispute is after that, I don't see why there should be a lawsuit.
Posted by SSkeeto (1 comment )
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Whats going on with my facebook
I hope this hasnt put a hold on facebook for the time being. I tried to log in today and witnessed significant difficulty. Thats when i saw this article. I still havent gotten to the web sit. I did not know there was a case pending about this. I love facebook. I hope Z wins.
Posted by K.I.N.G. (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
facebook and gorillaexchange.com changing the net
Sites like <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www" target="_newWindow">http://www</a> facebook.com and <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://" target="_newWindow">http://</a>
www.gorillaexchange.com are changing the way we use the net.
Where facebook has focused on schools, gorillaexchange.com
empowers the internet user with free personal online stores, a
media port and all the other bells and whistles such as blogs,
forums, videos, music, debates and so on! These two compnaies
are revolutionizing the net. Its web 2.0.
Posted by riksus (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Web 2.0 goes GORILLA
WOW!!! Web 2.0 is really here. New networks are redefining
what an
internet user should now expect! Look at <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://" target="_newWindow">http://</a>
www.GorillaeXchange.com for
example.

GorillaeXchange.com has combined existing successful features
such as blogs,
chat, forums, personal profiles, debates, videos, and much more
and
continued where other networks have simply left off.

They seem to have stepped up to the plate by combining two
empowering
features: 1. Giving everyone their own media port that allows
them to choose
their own programming like, uploading their own videos, music,
or creating
their own content and 2. Giving all users a personal store,
allowing them
to sell anything you can imagine.

GorillaeXchange is essentially a one-stop shop.

It seems Yahoo, MSN, MySpace and Friendster have simply
missed the boat!!!
The markets are taking notice and reports are trickling in:
GorillaeXchange
may give them a run for their money as a new niche networks
out there
gaining traction each day.
Posted by riksus (2 comments )
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