A New York man has filed suit, claiming that he contractually owns 84 percent of Facebook.
In a court filing originally unearthed by The Wall Street Journal, Paul Ceglia claimed that he entered into a contract with Mark Zuckerberg, owner of TheFacebook.com and later chief executive of Facebook.com to buy 50 percent of the company for $1,000.
According to the contract Ceglia alleges Zuckerberg signed, the two agreed to pay Ceglia and additional 1 percent of the company from that day until the Web site was completed.
In a statement to the Journal, Facebook called the suit "frivolous."
The suit, originally filed with the Supreme Court of Allegany County in New York, includes a copy of the work for hire contract allegedly signed by Zuckerberg. It details two business ventures: work performed for the Streetfax database and the related programming language, as well as the continued development and design of "The Face Book."
The contract is allegedly signed by both Ceglia and Zuckerberg.
The alleged contract would require that Ceglia, the purchaser, pay Zuckerberg $1,000 for each of the ventures. In return, Ceglia would own a 50 percent interest in the "software, programming language and business interests derived from the expansion of the [Facebook] service to a larger audience," and require Zuckerberg to perform the work for the StreetFax database.
It also includes the stipulation that Ceglia would be due an additional 1 percent of the company for every day past the due date, Jan. 1, 2004, that the Web site was delayed.
The filing also includes what appears to be a photocopy of a receipt for a check made out to a "Mark Zucherberg" [sic] for $1,000.
Lawyers for Zuckerberg and Facebook have attempted to move the hearing to the U.S. District Court in the Western District of New York.