Judge: Paul Ceglia must turn over more devices to Facebook

Judge: Paul Ceglia must turn over more devices to Facebook

Summary: US Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio has given Paul Ceglia until August 29 to turn over more devices to Facebook. Otherwise, he must explain why he can't.

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Facebook has charged that Paul Ceglia, a man that claims he owns half of the company, has been withholding electronic devices from the court. The company last week asked US Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio to force Ceglia to turn computers, files, and e-mails. Once they are in Facebook's possession, it will have 30 days to review the materials.

Foschio has agreed, giving Ceglia until August 29 to produce more documents and other items as part of his case, according to an official court order (PDF, via Wired). Ceglia has already turned over his computers as part of the lawsuit but Facebook says key items are missing. The judge says Ceglia must either to produce them or explain why he can't.

Two weeks ago, Facebook said it found "smoking-gun evidence that the purported contract at the heart of this case is a fabrication." When Facebook's lawyers asked for a resubmittal of a document to the court due to improper redaction, it turned out the blacked out text referred to an "authentic contract" and "storage devices" that Facebook says Ceglia is intentionally hiding from the company, in violation of a court order.

Facebook said it found the original "authentic contract" between Mark Zuckerberg and Paul Ceglia. Facebook then produced said contract, noting it doesn't even mention Facebook at all. Not only did the social networking giant reportedly find this allegedly genuine contract on Ceglia's computer but on the e-mail servers of a Chicago-based law firm, Sidley Austin as well. Facebook alleges that Ceglia e-mailed the original contract to Sidely Austin back in 2004.

Foschio said Ceglia must allow Facebook's experts to examine his Web-based e-mail accounts, which he said he used to communicate with Zuckerberg in 2003 and 2004 and later saved on floppy disks. Only then will Zuckerberg be required to turn over 175 e-mails from his Harvard University account. Ceglia and his team have been waiting for those e-mails for weeks and once again they have hit a setback: they must wait until five days after Ceglia hands over his electronic material.

Originally, Ceglia's lawyers said the "authentic contract" is shielded from use in the lawsuit because it is designated as "confidential" under the rules of an agreement between the two parties. As a result, Facebook asked Foschio to overrule that designation; he agreed and ordered Ceglia to hand over documents Facebook says proves he forged the 2003 contract.

As for the "storage devices," Facebook said that forensic data shows evidence of six USB devices, which it argues were likely used to modify the authentic contract. The company's lawyers say at least one of those devices includes a folder called "Facebook Files" and an image called "Zuckerberg Contract page1.tif." Facebook believes that image is the page of the contract that was forged to include mention of an investment in the social network.

In an exclusive interview with ZDNet, Ceglia told me the original "authentic contract" Facebook says it found is really just a Photoshopped image the company planted on his computer. He says he and his lawyers reportedly knew about it for some time and willingly handed it over to Facebook. He told ZDNet that his team will prove the image in question "has no authenticating properties whatsoever."

Ceglia speculates it could have been Zuckerberg himself, or the US law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe that may have done the alleged dirty work. Ceglia called Zuckerberg "an admitted forger and an admitted hacker" and explained that Zuckerberg, or someone representing him, carelessly wrote his home address on the allegedly forged document that he didn't know about or move to until more than a year after the document was supposedly written.

Last but certainly not least, Ceglia says he has conclusive proof that Zuckerberg is lying. He said that anyone with some legal expertise or technical expertise willing to help "nail him down for good" is welcome to join at PaulsCase.com, which requires registration. 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.

Facebook acknowledges that Ceglia hired Zuckerberg to work for his StreetFax company in April 2003 while Zuckerberg was a freshman at Harvard. Ceglia first legally attacked Facebook in July 2010, saying the contract also included $1,000 initial funding for Facebook, and that he's entitled to more than half of the social networking giant. That last part Facebook is obviously disputing.

Facebook insists Ceglia is a known con artist. Since he first filed suit, Ceglia has been dropped by at least four law firms. He is now reportedly living in Galway, Ireland, but the lawsuit is continuing. Ceglia, who called ZDNet from Ireland, maintains that he has been unfairly painted as a con artist.

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Topic: Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

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4 comments
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  • RE: Judge: Paul Ceglia must turn over more devices to Facebook

    I didn't know you could authenticate an image. Given the "exclusive" interview with him last week, I'm surprised he can even turn his computer on in the morning.
    Aerowind
  • power stands with power

    To even try to suggest that a digital copy of the contract has as much validity as an actual paper contract that has been forensically tested is just nonsense.why when it is well known of Zuckerberg's forgery past and well known self depiction as hacker do all these media outlets just act as if we should just believe him? once again the media takes the side of power against the smaller fish ! this is what gets to me the media and power only protect their interests which is the reason for taking the side of Facebook side on this issue , Just look at the difference in the Wikileaks case ! both Wikileaks and Facebook are big on-line sites with huge amount of public and government interest but you dont see the establishment taking the side of Wikileaks why ? because unlike Facebook Julian Assange and Wikileaks work for the people interest not the establishments so the establishment goes against it. Paul Ceglia is a man with a legitimate cause ! his evidence and banking transactions proves Zuckerberg is trying to fraud someone once again ! STAND FOR THE PEOPLE AGAINST SUCH POWERFUL MACHINES !
    GetYourFactsStraight89
    • RE: Judge: Paul Ceglia must turn over more devices to Facebook

      @GetYourFactsStraight89

      I'm a freelance coder. Most of my contracts are electronic and are electronically signed, meaning they never existed as paper contracts. Does that make them less legally binding?

      Graphical formats contain metadata about when they were created and modified. While this isn't as good authentication as DNA and ink on paper, it is still useful for the case, especially in the absence of anything else to compare it to.

      Hacker != evil, untrustworthy bad guy. Hackers are a subculture of programmers based around an obsessive love of interesting problems and their solutions (hacks). While some hackers do bad things with their interest and skills, the majority are just coders and the most illegal thing they do is (maybe) pirate music/video/software. The moral categories are as varied as normal people with their varying skill-sets...there are locksmiths and safe specialists who break into banks, but the majority work as locksmiths or safe specialists for companies. Most people working on encryption are trying to make information safer, not crack the encryption for nefarious purposes. A "hack" is a solution which is counter-intuitive, uses a technique differently than is normally taught, isn't supposed to be possible, etc. Security is some people's interest, because of course getting through a security subroutine is a hack, but the vast majority of those find good, well-paying work working FOR the security companies and software developers who are trying to find the flaws in their systems. Other hackers (like myself) find data structures and their manipulation through various logics fascinating, and try to apply novel techniques like paraconsistent logics, genetic and artificial life algorithms, etc. to get various data structures to reveal patterns or take new forms that are generally considered impossible. I'm also a logic programming (languages like Prolog) and AI/expert system geek. There are no real nefarious applications of my interests, but it's easy to see how an "enemy nation" (obsolete concept, but dangerous nonetheless) could use some of my techniques to sift through big data streams and databases looking for patterns, but the same is true of librarians or Wikileaks...anyone who deals with large batches of data and needs to get usable information out of it, essentially. But I am still a hacker.

      In short...if you are so worried about "standing with the people" against power, you should look at how your own ideas about various people and types of people have been manipulated. "Hacker" as a term has been co-opted by the media because differentiating between the hacker and cracker subcultures complicates their message, thus making it less useful as a soundbite. In order to keep their short, uncomplicated stories most useful for manipulating the masses, they don't bother with things like distinguishing between the good hackers and bad hackers...they just make people scared of hackers because scaring people sells. The majority of hackers are just computer geeks who identify with a certain subculture among programmers.

      I live in San Francisco (well, Martinez, but I work in the City) and am from Santa Cruz. I was an early adopter of Facebook. I know several people who work at Facebook, and have met Mark online and off a few times. While I can't be sure because people can be deceptive, Mark didn't strike me as a bad guy at all. Bad with people, sure. Distracted and abstracted, definitely. But not malicious or exploitative. He has certain ideological stances that could definitely be considered moral or ethical, but they're very big-picture. He really does believe that Facebook is a force for good, though I don't know if I agree with that. In any case, if he was a bad hacker he would have made off with everyone's data long ago, rather than running the successful company he has created.
      nealjansons
    • RE: Judge: Paul Ceglia must turn over more devices to Facebook

      @GetYourFactsStraight89 your PR team won?t be there to save you.?zuckerberg . chris you may have step up about being gay but you need to step up and be a man tell the truth about how zuckerberg stole facebook and you to dustin; and signed the contract THE-FACEBOOK and Dustin Moskovitz help you to do this; And you new the idea facebook was a Billion dollar idea!! but stole it
      WINKLEVOSS BS. none of it was their idea, why did FB give them 65 million? That isn't exactly hush money its fraud and extortion .the WINKLEVOSS new that zuckerberg stole the idea facebook and fb was not there idea or zuck .
      Eduardo saverin signed a non-disclosure contract after the settlement.WAS it a non-disclosure about the truth; tell the TRUTH EDUARDO SAVERIN and you to WAYNE CHANG
      Aaron . Greenspan says that while he was a student at Harvard, he came up with the idea for Facebook but you new the idea facebook was stolen
      newbedave