Facebook has filed two legal motions to force a magazine to take down from its Web site court documents related to a suit filed against Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg about his early actions.
Facebook’s lawyers notified 02138, a magazine for Harvard alumni, to remove the documents, saying that the documents are sealed by court. Facebook is also demanding to know how the magazine got the documents.
The documents are here. They range from Zuckerberg’s application to Harvard, his testimonies and his online diary, and include his remarks about being “intoxicated” and making fun of peoples’ photos.
The lawsuit — ConnectU Inc. v. Facebook Inc. — was filed by three Harvard graduates who said they hired Mark Zuckerberg to develop code for a student social network, and that Zuckerberg later made off with the code.
This week, 02138 published an in-depth article, which we wrote about here. “We filed the motions to let the court know that its orders were being violated,” Brandee Barker, a Facebook spokeswoman, told the WSJ. “One reason the court ordered certain documents’ protection was to prevent exactly what has happened: misusing documents and taking documents out of context to sling mud.”
Bom Kim, the magazine’s founder, told the WSJ yesterday that the clerk might have inadvertently given the magazine’s author access to documents that should have been sealed. (The author Luke O’Brien said he simply walked into the office, asked the court for its documents on Facebook, and that the clerk gave him them freely). Well, what now then? Once they’re out, does the magazine get to publish, even if the court made a mistake? The documents are still up at the magazine’s site. What’s precedent here?