Copyright Law

Judge Skeptical of Facebook Suit

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Lawyers for the founders a social networking Web site will get a chance to revise their infringement complaint against their big-name competitor, Facebook Inc.

But they may face an uphill battle, if comments by a Boston federal judge during a pretrial hearing yesterday are any indication.

Judge Douglas Woodlock was skeptical of the copyright claims brought by the founders of ConnectU, reports CNET He questioned whether the case was designed to garner publicity and force a settlement, a suggestion denied by the lawyer for the plaintiffs.

Woodlock said there did not appear to be enough evidence to support allegations that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stole ConnectU’s source code and business model. Most of the claims are based on Zuckerberg’s work for ConnectU’s founders when all were students at Harvard.

“Dorm room chitchat does not make a contract,” Woodlock said, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.).

The judge said the plaintiffs need to explain in their revised complaint how e-mails and voice mail messages can support their case.

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