Judge Vacates Injunction Against Facebook
A federal judge on Friday granted Facebook's request to lift a temporary restraining order banning the company from transferring assets.
In a written order, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Arcara in Buffalo, N.Y. said that Facebook had made a sufficient preliminary showing that the injunction was "impermissibly vague and overbroad." Arcara also said the order "may have" automatically expired last Friday, when the case was transferred from state court in Allegany County to federal court.
The injunction was entered late last month by a New York state judge at the request of Wellsville resident Paul Ceglia, who filed a lawsuit claiming to own 84% of the social networking site. The wording of the order prohibited Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the company's subsidiaries "from transferring, selling, assigning any assets, stocks, bonds, owned, possessed and/or controlled by [them.]"
Ceglia alleges that he obtained a majority share of Facebook as a result of a contract he entered into with Mark Zuckerberg in April of 2003. A purported two-page contract between Ceglia and Zuckerberg says that Ceglia agreed to pay Zuckerberg $1,000 to develop software for a project "designed to offer the students of Harvard university access to a website similar to a live functioning yearbook."
The document also says that Ceglia would obtain a 50% ownership in the software and the "business interests derived from the expansion of that service to a larger audience," with additional percentage points if the software was delivered late.
But the purported contract has raised many questions. The document refers to Zuckerberg's project as both "The Face Book" and "The Page Book," but Zuckerberg didn't register the domain TheFacebook.com until January of 2004 -- eight months after the date on the contract.
In addition, although Zuckerberg launched earlier projects, they didn't carry the name Facebook or Page Book. Zuckerberg built Course Match in Sept. 2003, and also built Facemash in October and November of 2003.
Questions also are swirling about Ceglia's credibility. He and his wife reportedly were arrested last year for grand larceny in connection with their business, Allegany Pellets, according to the Wellsville Daily. They allegedly took $200,000 worth of orders for wood pellets that they never delivered.