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Paul Ceglia: Facebook Is Doing the Forgery, Not Me 135

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the bored-now dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Last week, Facebook said it found the original 'authentic contract' between Mark Zuckerberg and Paul Ceglia, a man who claims he owns half of the company according to a 2003 contract. Now, Ceglia says the original 'authentic contract' Facebook claims to have found is really just a Photoshopped image the company planted on his computer."
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Paul Ceglia: Facebook Is Doing the Forgery, Not Me

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  • Riiight... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mackil (668039) <<movie> <at> <moviesoundclips.net>> on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @10:40AM (#37119038) Homepage Journal
    "is really just a Photoshopped image the company planted on his computer." .... yeah, the courts will buy that one. Didn't work for this guy [thesmokinggun.com].
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Facebook hired a PR firm to shop articles to journalists, bloggers, and information security experts in order to smear Google. They are not above playing corporate dirty tricks, especially when there are billions of dollars at stake. That said, TFA is lame since it's not 100% clear that the guy the reporter is communicating with is actually Paul Ceglia.

    • Well, that's actually quite different. There was immediate and factual evidence on his person, and he admitted to placing it there. Whether or not it was his, by putting it on his person he is now responsible for it. He might have been able to argue the crack wasn't his if he left it on the floor under the passenger seat or something.

      Both Ceglia and Facebook have no solid evidence, and as two technically-inclined parties, they are basically having a he-said-she-said fight about fabricated evidence on both s

      • Except that the forensic evidence was examined by a third party and not FB. In the case of disks, the expert will image the drives and examine their copies. That's normal in these cases. Certainly Celigia can present his experts to rebut FB experts but if Celigia's drive has the file then he's in trouble. If he's deleted the file, then he's in more trouble. If he's tried to cover up tampering with the drive, it gets worse. That's why FB wants a the original document and not a copy which could have been
        • by Aighearach (97333)

          And if FB tried to cover up tampering with the drive, it gets worse.

          You said like, nothing.

    • yeah, the courts will buy that one

      They don't need to. There is software that authenticates originals vs. 'shopped versions. IIRC, it analyzes entropy in the frequency domain and can make a 'heat map' of doctored images.

      • by ari_j (90255)
        That sounds like forensic voodoo. It may be helpful to determine whether you (you = the judge or jury) believe that the document in front of you was modified after it was created, but it is far from conclusive either way.
        • That sounds like forensic voodoo.

          You should read the papers. It might be possible to fake, but it's very useful for everything that's carefully constructed to foil this sort of analysis.

      • by sjames (1099)

        In the digital world, if it can be measured, it can be faked. Only a small subset of those things are too expensive or time consuming to be in play here.

    • by lgarner (694957)
      And since when is an image of a document considered to be the original document? The Original Contract is a signed piece of paper in someone's files, not a jpg of a pdf of a scan...
  • Sheesh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @10:42AM (#37119056)

    "I was cheated out of half of Facebook" is going to be this century's "I was the fifth Beatle."

    • by toby (759)
      Are you saying there was no 5th Beatle? Or that Facebook didn't cheat Ceglia? Can you cite evidence either way? What, in fact, are you saying? Do you know why the legal system exists?
      • Are you saying there was no 5th Beatle? Or that Facebook didn't cheat Ceglia? Can you cite evidence either way? What, in fact, are you saying? Do you know why the legal system exists?

        oooh I do, I do. A> To allow lawyers to screw over citizens.

        • by Aighearach (97333)

          Lawyers are just as likely to be citizens as whoever they're screwing over.

          When you're hating on lawyers you have to be very precise to get anything to stick.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Are you saying there was no 5th Beatle?

        No.

        Or that Facebook didn't cheat Ceglia?

        No.

        Can you cite evidence either way?

        No.

        What, in fact, are you saying?

        That, when there is a lot of money/power/fame/etc at stake, there will inevitably be many, many people who claim they are entitled to said money/power/fame.

        And that most of them are probably deluding themselves.

        Do you know why the legal system exists?

        Yes, and I'm smart enough to know that I'm not a lawyer (Are you?), a judge, or a party to this litigation. Do you know why Internet discussion sites like Slashdot exist? Do you ever get confused between "court of law" and "Internet discussion site?"

    • Re:Sheesh (Score:4, Informative)

      by boristdog (133725) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @11:53AM (#37119844)

      More like the Howard Hughes last will and testament of the 21st century.

      This guy makes a good Melvin Dumar.

  • I mean, if I were Facebook that's exactly what I'd do.

    I'd hack into some random guy's computer, and create a photoshopped image of a contract that says he owns half the company.

    • Re:Obviously (Score:5, Interesting)

      by alphatel (1450715) * on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @10:47AM (#37119120)
      And the photoshopped image includes Zuckerberg's address that he lived at a year later than the signed document date, which was retrieved from Ceglia's parents computer - the only PC that was named in a suit - rather than his many other computers he owns.
      • At what point does a judge say "If I see you again, you'll be thrown in jail for contempt and perjury"?

      • I've got no idea what's really going on, but this Ceglia guy could have been the one that goofed when using the wrong address.. and been using his parents' computer to try and keep evidence off his own machines.

        Everyone already knows that Zuckerberg and his buddies are scum.

        Ceglia is obviously also highly dubious - why didn't he bring all this up a long time ago if what he says is true?

        • Why would Z want to use that contract, when it is clearly a forgery? The problem with your theory is that Z is claiming that is the real contract.

      • The photoshoped image doesn't include his future address. I believe Ceglia was refering to an earlier unrelated case where Zuckerberg was cought forging a document. He claims Zuckerberg admitted to the forgery. Zuckerberg has admitted that he forged this contract. Probably something to do with the Eduardo Saverin affair. Or the case with Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. The hacking claim had to do with hacking a student newspaper to get into a rivals email.
  • Obviously Ceglia's not embarrassed so I guess someone has to be. In regards to Ceglia's rap sheet, I'm not too keen on ad hominem attacks ... it's sort of hard, though, when one of his key points in his rambling letter is merely an ad hominem attack on Zuckerberg:

    It is obvious that these major outlets continue to protect Mark and his "new image". He is an admitted forgerer, he was forced to admit it under oath, not because he feels compelled to tell the truth, like ever, but because he carelessly wrote as his home adress on the document he was forging an address that he didnt know about or move to until more than a year after the document was supposedly written! A rational person would think I need not say more, and that surely my arrest for mushrooms 14 years ago or the fact that I fell behind on wood pellet orders that have long since paid back is irrelevant compared to the more daming and far more on point evidence that Zuckerberg is an admitted forger and an admitted hacker, yet a read of the major media outlets shows what most people know already, that our “Free Press” slant the news to the big boss’s views. A luxury afforded the Billionaires of this world that clearly have their own agendas. Perhaps calling them out like this will force some two sided coverage of the story.

    Ceglia gets hilariously specific about his past problems ... and hilariously unspecific about Zuckerberg's. I am in the very uncomfortable (and unfamiliar) position of defending Zuckerberg and pondering whence we begin ignoring this crackpot Ceglia.

    If anyone is wondering why Ceglia has milled through four law firms, you need only read the letter he submitted to the press and (apparently) did not attach any NDAs to. I would guess this letter would be a defense attorney's wet dream (assuming Ceglia allows them to prove it came from him).

    From the Arab Spring to the riots of London last week, I see that social networks are the peoples tools to not only talk about how bored we are today, or to worry about everyone seeing that last photo we put up, but also when users are oppressed somewhere and realize it, it obviously can be used to overthrow tyranny and outmanuever the forces that protect the establishment. It’s become the peoples voice and a powerful tool to unite the masses. It’s a tool that deserves to stay in the hands and control of the people.

    You know what's really pathetic and disgusting to me? Watching someone try to abduct an entire set of social causes and violent radical movements for their own fucking he said/he said lawsuit that stands to benefit them to the tune of billions of dollars. Really, I don't see what that has to do with the legitimacy of your ownership of any part of Facebook. Justice shouldn't care what you do with what belongs to you, it should only be concerned with you having what belongs to you. Disgusting.

    • by toby (759)
      Well, Zuckerberg *is* a gold plated fucking asshole, so one can hardly fault Ceglia for saying so.
    • So we are here already? the name hacker has ben demonized, so if you admit you are a hacker, is like admiting you have commit crimes?

      Society, I am dissapointed.

  • OK, on one hand some of this stuff is news-worthy. It's a huge company, and there are allegations flying around involving the ownership and origins of said company. Likewise, there's a bunch of stuff going around about falsified documents or supposed chat logs.

    So yes, on one hand it IS news... and news for nerds at that since Facebook is such a huge presence online. And while I don't use it, I'm sure a fair percentage of /. readers us it.

    But part of me just wants to throw my hands up in the air and say "

  • Unless somebody really fucked up in terms of the conditions under which computer forensics expert witnesses had access to the computer(and at least one forensics guy is willing to risk some serious smackdown, presumably for compensation that somebody else would be risking serious smackdown to provide him...) the "but they planted it on my computer!" defense seems unlikely to work well...

    (Again, barring monumental incompetence on the part of at least one party in a hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars-on-the-l
    • by powerlord (28156)

      (Again, barring monumental incompetence on the part of at least one party in a hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars-on-the-line case) this just isn't the sort of situation where the computer in question would have been left in Sheriff Bubba's evidence locker/misc. supplies closet with a sticky note asking people not to touch it.

      Yes, but in this sort of situation, all it takes is one person with a "look at the upside, and what are the chances we'll be caught?" attitude to try to make this sort of thing happen.

      I'm not saying it did, but the higher the $$$ on the line, the more people SHOULD be looking at the chain of evidence and all, but also the more incentive to make things "happen".

      • by delinear (991444)
        I'm not sure. I have as intense a dislike for Zuckerberg and his site as the next guy, but whichever way this goes he's going to be richer than god. If, on the other hand, he was caught (or someone acting as his agent, with or without his explicit knowledge but for whom he was ultimately responsible was caught) fabricating evidence, that's a jail sentence, right? I could understand taking that risk if he was going to lose everything, but since that's not going to happen it's far more likely that Ceglia is m
  • If the contract was from 2003-2004, why the hell did he wait 6-7 years to file suit?

    Ceglia appears to be just another deranged attention whore who wants to steal someone else's money.

    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @11:39AM (#37119676)
      He says he forgot about it and only found the documents last year when he was sued for something else. I know what he means because I forget that I own a majority of a billion dollar company all the time. I mean Steve Jobs owes me half of Apple because I showed him how he looks great in a black turtleneck. I have the contract next to MS contract where I showed Ballmer how to dance in exchange for 10% of MS.
  • that he's put all of his eggs in this basket? If he comes out with nothing (which is likely), he'll have nothing to show for it and have such a infamous name no one will want to sign anything with him ever again. I think he jumped for a golden rope without looking down to see how far he'd fall if he missed.
    • he jumped for a golden rope without looking down to see how far he'd fall if he missed

      yeah, so he falls... and faces that shitty middle-class life; what a downer. meanwhile he could gave a little fight for that 10 billion dollars that might actually be his.
      • I didn't know jail was known as "middle-class life" these days..

        • Oh, of course. Prisoners have a right to a comfortable living condition. You get an articulate room mate, 3 hot meals a day, exercise, sunlight, a library, Internet, a guaranteed job, you even get to form organized sports teams to play in Prison League--even against other prisons! Your living expenses are paid, you get medical, you get education, lots of leisure, and sometimes in-cell TV.
        • by erroneus (253617)

          That depends on the jail. The Window that described "middle class" these days is pretty low and small compared to what it was 10-15 years ago.

  • ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shentino (1139071) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @10:50AM (#37119146)

    I hate to say this, but facebook's already won this battle. They probably cheated but unless someone can prove it this guy needs to shut up.

    Ceglia should have kept a watchful eye and documented the shit out of everything.

    What's more, this lawsuit is ages old and he could have nipped this situation in the bud a long ass time ago.

    If someone rips you off, you take care of it promptly. You don't just sit on your ass and let damages accrue.

    I would dismiss his case with prejudice on grounds of either laches or statute of limitations or both. Besides, he already made a binding settlement in the form of what proved to be very lucrative stock options.

    Unless he can show that Facebook somehow committed fraud *in that settlement* he has no standing to sue.

    I'm all for fighting the good fight but once you've waved the white flag the game is over.

    • Re:ugh (Score:4, Funny)

      by Oligonicella (659917) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @11:06AM (#37119318)
      "They probably cheated..."

      On what exactly do you base this?
      • Re:ugh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ArsonSmith (13997) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @11:12AM (#37119372) Journal

        it's what all big corporations do. Nobody gets rich off of hard work and diligence like they preach to you. you either inherit money or steal it.

        • Re:ugh (Score:4, Interesting)

          by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @11:23AM (#37119486) Journal

          There's no doubt Zuckerberg fucked people over on his way up. In fact, the parties that have at least some claim to having be screwed by Zuckerberg are all well known. This Ceglia guy isn't one of them. He's either delusional or the world's worst con man.

        • Re:ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

          by somersault (912633) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @12:07PM (#37120028) Homepage Journal

          Nobody gets rich off of hard work and diligence like they preach to you. you either inherit money or steal it.

          Uh.. okay. And all gross generalisations are true, clearly.

          The business I work for has worked its way up from the ground, with products we designed, built and hire out with operating crew. All through hard work and diligence. We're not exactly a "big corporation" yet, but we're currently looking at selling off our sales division for several million, and ploughing that money back into more R&D.

          There are a lot of rich, scummy people out there sure, but you don't need to be scum to get rich..

          • by Surt (22457)

            So you made big money by charging more than you had to, right?, stealing from the customers who apparently had no better choice than to work with you, and therefore no leverage in the price negotiations.

            • by lgarner (694957)

              1. Charging more than you "have to" isn't stealing, it's making a profit. This is a good thing, since it's the only way to stay in business. Stealing is a crime, selling a product at a mutually agreeable price is not.

              2. If customers have no better choice than you, then you're the best choice available. Either the lowest price, fastest delivery, best product, or any combination of these. Again, being the best is a good thing.

              • 2. If customers have no better choice than you, then you're the best choice available. Either the lowest price, fastest delivery, best product, or any combination of these. Again, being the best is a good thing.

                #2 may be literally true but the conclusion you draw is false: You may be the best choice available, but there are very questionable or downright illegal reasons why, i.e., monopoly, coercion, anticompetitive behaviour. So you're "the best" because you're the only, but it doesn't follow that this is necessarily good. Just wanted to point that out, in general I agree with you :)

            • No, there are other choices available for all of our products, but in certain cases, we can do things faster, and therefore cheaper. Offshore work makes good money.

          • by ArsonSmith (13997)

            i forgot my (sarcasm) tag. The scary thing is that i got modded insightful. I was trying to say the most ludicrous thing I possibly could.

            • Haha. Well, I've spoken to a few people that believe exactly what you said.. they find it easier to swallow the idea that someone else is successful because they cheat, and not simply because they worked harder or had a lucky break.

          • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

            by raddan (519638) *
            I hope you guys succeed, but I tend to agree with the parent: once your company gets big enough, someone will go out of their way to eat your lunch. That's essentially the purpose that patents serve nowadays.

            I once worked for a great small company, and the smartest thing they ever did was let one of the big players (the most friendly big player) come around and buy them. They're allowed to operate independently, and they benefit from their parent corp's legal team and other resources. Most of their ol
          • There are other choices, but in some cases, our method is faster, cheaper, etc.

      • Have you been paying attention to Facebook at all in the last few years? [businessinsider.com] Here's a quote from Zuckerburg:

        Zuck: [Users] "trust me"
        Zuck: Dumb fucks

        The fact is later he actually did use people's information to hack into private email addresses and read them, in an attempt to get better news coverage for his website. He basically sucks.

        • by shentino (1139071)

          If he really did that then why was he not prosecuted for that?

          • Good question.....maybe no one pressed charges. Maybe the statute of limitations had passed by the time it became public knowledge. There are lots of reasons he might not have.
    • by Amouth (879122)

      If someone rips you off, you take care of it promptly. You don't just sit on your ass and let damages accrue.

      but it works so well for patent trolls.

      • by shentino (1139071)

        Actually I wonder why they're allowed to get away with it.

        • by Amouth (879122)

          because there is to requirement for them to enforce it - and the burden is on the "offender" to research the ~8,000,000 different patents to ensure they aren't violating any.

  • In a case like this, the computer doesn't EVER get touched by the opposition. It gets analyzed by a third party. So there would have to be a conspiracy encompassing the bribing and corruption of an otherwise unrelated party.

    • by ZombieBraintrust (1685608) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @11:12AM (#37119374)
      He is claiming that they planted the evidense on his mothers computer before the requested it as evidense. That it was planted prior to him handing it over. Its possible, but he has no evidense of it.
      • by sribe (304414)

        He is claiming that they planted the evidense on his mothers computer before the requested it as evidense. That it was planted prior to him handing it over.

        Ah, OK. Wow...

        • If his mother uses FaceBook it would not be all that difficult--especially if the document was found someplace like the web browser cache.
    • by cusco (717999)
      In all fairness that's not an unreasonable suspicion in a case that has gazillions of dollars riding on it. A for-profit lab needs repeat business, and a major law firm (like I would assume Zuckerberg would employ) can create that. It's not like low-level technicians are unbribable either, unless their finances are under a remarkable amount of scrutiny from their employer, and it's not like lawyers are known as paragons of virtue. The public serously underestimates the amount of corruption in law enforce
      • by sribe (304414)

        If Ceglia didn't watch it change custody at every single turn and personally examine the conditions under which it was stored and analyzed he won't either.

        I'm pretty sure he already knows ;-)

      • by shugah (881805)
        First of all, there is no Law Enforcement involved here, just lawyers and contracts. If Ceglia wants to contest the forensic analysis of the document, he will have to hire a credible lab to rebut Zuckerberg's lab's findings. Forensics labs don't build their business by being wrong. The court will weigh the credibility of the experts and exercise its judgement.

        This case comes down the the existence, validity and enforceability of the contract between Zuckerberg and Ceglia. There are 2 versions of all the
  • Some people know when to stop digging the hole they're in.
    Other people, at that moment, take out the blasting caps and dynamite.

  • The awesome thing is that Ceglia's version of the contract just looks wrong. Indentation is screwed up with handwritten stuff pasted in.

    The 'recovered version' looks like a properly drawn contract, formatted properly, etc, with that same handwritten line in a much more appropriate place lower on the page.

    You would expect a manipulation of an image of a contract page to screw up the formatting in order to leave a lot of stuff in place. Also, in Ceglia's version the dollar amounts appear manipulated in thei

  • Which shady scumbag am I supposed to trust here?

    • by ari_j (90255)
      If your question were the Slashdot poll, then the only options with votes would be the CowboyNeal option and omgp0nies.
  • How does one even afford to open a somewhat baseless lawsuit (e.g. in terms of evidence and he-said-they-said arguments) against one of the biggest companies in the U.S. and not be poor bastard after a handful of months paying ridiculous amounts of hourly lawyer wages? I could care less of the outcome, but as far as his lawyer, it's a big risk if he/she is basing their profit off a 'win' in the courtroom I would think.
    • by cusco (717999)
      The attorneys in suits like this are working for a portion of the expected profits (generally ~30%, but for class actions suits it can be as high as 90%). When Ceglia loses he'll be out the time he spent, but probably won't owe the lawyers anything more than administrative costs.
  • I hope both of these douches exhaust all their available resources fighting each other. Obviously, Zuckerberg will barely flinch from this, but one can hope otherwise.
  • He shouldn't get half of Facebook given his investment. Other people invested real time and money into the company to make it what it is. From employees who got shares for their work to investors who provided millions of dollars for marketing and salaries. It is unreasonable to allow a submarine investment of $1000 trump all that effort. If he were a good investor he would have stayed in contact with the company in the early days. He would have paid attention and shown up for share holder meetings and made

    • You are a child. If the claim is legit then he is entitled to whatever Zuckerburg agreed to upon that time. If he agreed to half then half is what he is owed. Grow up.
      • Abusive ad hominem (also called personal abuse or personal attacks) usually involves insulting or belittling one's opponent in order to attack his claim or invalidate his argument

        Insulting people doesn't make you argument valid. Neglecting your property is a sure fire way to lose it. That is what Ceglia is claiming to have done. He is claiming that he forgot he owned half of a company. When this company was meeting and deciding how to split things up when new investors came along where was Ceglia? He wan't

  • It's what this has degraded to. And usually in these cases, the courts side with whoever has the most money. Guess who that is?
  • If this will fly in court, it will be nice to see if all the pedos will line up afterwards and use the same excuse with this precedent.
    I guess only time will tell if the pockets are deep enough to buy off the judge.

  • I love to see some drama .. but it sounds like Ceglia doesn't have the case that Larry Sanger has/had with Wikipedia. Hmm.. at least Zuckerberg angered the Ayn Rand cult.

  • Was this contract found right next to George Bush's National Guard docs?
  • When faced with a battle between two questionable characters, I side with the one who is better at covering his tracks. I call this one for Zuckerberg.

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