Aaron Greenspan, Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard classmate who previously claimed that he came up with the original idea for Facebook, is back in court, but this time his target is Columbia Pictures. Greenspan filed a lawsuit against The Social Network film studio, claiming defamation by omission, but his case was dismissed. Apparently, he appealed to the First Circuit recently, according to law blog Above the Law.
Greenspan claims that he was unfairly left out of the movie. In e-mails to Above the Law, Greenspan says that filing lawsuits against Zuckerberg (claiming that he stole the trademark for The Facebook, a case that was settled in 2009) and Columbia Pictures don’t represent some kind of cash grab, but his way to right some wrongs. He feels that his contributions to Facebook were not accurately portrayed in The Social Network, as well as the book upon which the movie is based, Accidental Billionaires. Greenspan explains his motivation as such:
I understand why you might be skeptical, but that’s exactly why I filed this suit. I shouldn’t be forced to battle that skepticism all my life.
Click here to read the court brief of Greenspan’s appeal in its entirety. (PDF)
So what does Greenspan claim he contributed to Facebook? We’ll let him explain. From his website:
In the fall of 2001, I matriculated at Harvard College, where I met wonderful friends and terrible teachers (with a few notable exceptions). The technology at Harvard was about as old as the school, so I set about creating a new university portal called houseSYSTEM to fill the gaps. houseSYSTEM lasted six days before the administration tried to shut it down. Two months later, after a protracted battle, it was back up and running, and it even had a new feature: The Universal Facebook (also known as “The Facebook”), designed to unite the entire campus on one easy-to-search, opt-in directory, modeled after Harvard’s printed “face books.” One of my classmates in Computer Science 91r thought that this was a good idea.
Readers: Do you feel that Greenspan has a legitimate complaint against Columbia Pictures?
Photo courtesy of AaronGreenspan.com.