Facebook sued over source code copying claim

Popular social networking website Facebook could face closure if a court action is successful.

A hearing to be held in a US court next Wednesday (July 25) marks the latest battle in a three-year spat between Facebook and rival website ConnectU.

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra, former fellow Harvard students of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, allege that Zuckerberg copied code and a business plan from their site while he was still working for them as a programmer. At the time, the site was known as harvardconnect.com. It later changed its name to ConnectU.

The dispute started when Zuckerberg launched his website in February 2004, a month after promising to finish the plaintiff's website.

The plaintiffs have demanded that Facebook be shut down and full control of the site and all assets be passed to them.

Facebook is suing ConnectU for alleged business torts and unfair business practices.

Since branching out its network from just students to everyone last September, Facebook has grown from 14 million to 26 million visitors per month, according to comScore figures. Facebook is also rumoured to be seeking a possible IPO.

The filing can be viewed here.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.