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Judges Reminds ConnectU they Need Actual Evidence to Sue Facebook

There’s at least one sensible judge in Boston and he’s presiding over ConnectU’s claim that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg built the popular social network on stolen intellectual property.

Massachusetts Federal Judge Douglas P. Woodlock repeatedly suggested that ConnectU hadn’t provided enough evidence to support their claim that Zuckerberg had built Facebook on code used by ConnectU.

“Claims must have a factual basis,” the judge said. The allegations, which ranged from breach of confidence to fraud to misappropriation of trade secrets, comprised a “most evanescent of explanations,” Woodlock said. He gave ConnectU’s founders–Divya Narendra and twin brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss–until August 8 to provide a revised complaint. He also gave Facebook two weeks after that date to respond.

Note to Roy Cooper: Consider Restricting the MySpace Sex Offenders, Not the Kids that Use it

North Carolina’s attorney general Roy Cooper is pushing for tighter restrictions on the use of social networks by children, after MySpace revealed 29,000 registered sex offenders were identified as members.

I’m 100% behind Cooper’s efforts to protect children from online predators, but is his solution the best we have? Here’s what Cooper wants:

Cooper is pushing for a state law that would require children to receive parental permission before creating social networking profiles, and require the Web sites to verify the parents’ identity and age. For example, social networking sites would have to compare information provided by a parent with commercial databases. Sites could also force parents to submit credit cards or printed forms.

Google’s Dial Goes to “11” to Beat Perfect 10’s Legal Claim

If you’re a follower of the Perfect 10 site law suit, you’ll be interested to know that the final chapter has been written. According to the Mercury news, the courts have decided there’s no evidence to suggest Google’s display of thumbnail images encourages other web sites to distribute copyrighted images.

U.S. District Judge Howard Matz on Monday dismissed the claim at a hearing in Los Angeles federal court, saying there was no basis to justify the allegation. Matz last year granted Perfect 10’s request for an order temporarily preventing Google from displaying thumbnail images that link to third-party Web sites with Perfect 10’s full-size pictures.

Amazon.com was also cleared of any wrong doing.

Google’s Chief Legal Counsel Settles $700k SEC Complaint

I’m a big believer in giving someone a second chance, but I’m not sure what to make of the news that Google’s chief legal counsel just settled an SEC complaint for is role with a previous company.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle

David Drummond, has agreed to pay $700,000 to settle a complaint by federal regulators that accused him of helping to misstate the financial results of his previous employer, SmartForce.

The settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, announced Thursday, stems from his role as chief financial officer for SmartForce, a software company that overstated its revenue by $113.6 million and profit by $127 million, during a 3 1/2 year period ending in mid-2002.

Is Facebook Built on Stolen Code? Court to Decide

While Facebook continues to attract media attention – with talk of acquisition partners or an IPO – it’s haunted by a three year old law suit that claims it is built on code stolen by founder Mark Zuckerberg.

The lawsuit, filed by brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra, accuses Zuckerberg, Facebook?s 23-year-old C.E.O, of stealing the source code, design, and business plan for Facebook in 2003 when he briefly worked in the Harvard dorms as a programmer for their own fledgling social-networking site, now known as ConnectU.

The plaintiffs have demanded that Facebook be shut down and that full control of the site – and its profits – be turned over to them.

Chinese Law Suit: "We just want Google to change their commercial name"

It’s not too much to ask, is it? If Google would just change the name of their company, a small Chinese business will drop their law suit. Seems fair, don’t you think? ;-)

A spokesman for Beijing Guge Science and Technology said Google’s commercial name had led to the company being constantly disturbed by people calling up its office trying to contact the search engine.

“We just want Google to change their commercial name,” Tian Yunshan, a company official, said today.

“We have already passed our demands on to Google … We will see what happens in court.”

The problem arises from the Chinese translation of Google to “Guge.” Chinese residents searching for Google’s telephone number end up calling Beijing Guge instead.

I feel bad for the company getting all of the phone calls, but worse for all the Chinese that believe Google actually offers telephone support. ;-)

Google Cracking Under Viacom Pressure?

It’s interesting to follow the Viacom lawsuit against Google. While Google’s faced many legal challenges before, it appears Viacom’s is the one that is troubling the search engine. It’s somewhat out of character to see Google CEO Eric Schmidt talk ugly about a company that is suing them – Google tends to comment via legal counsel – and it suggests the suit is a worry to him.

Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, speaking with reporters at a hotel bar at the 25th annual Allen & Co. moguls meeting, said litigation was the foundation of the company that owns the MTV Networks, Paramount movies studio and video game developer Harmonix.

“Viacom is a company built from lawsuits, look at their history,” Schmidt said on early Friday.

“Look who they hired as CEO, Philippe Dauman, who was the general counsel for Viacom for 20 years,” he added.