Facebook v. Power.com - Power.com Fires Back

I posted some time back about Facebook v. Power.com.  Power.com recently filed a Motion to Dismiss. 

A quick recap.  Power.com allows users to aggregate access to social networks (including Facebook) in one place.  Facebook has a developer program that it seems like Power.com was a part of, but at some point Power.com decided to go its own way and allow users to access Facebook outside of Facebook's authorized developer program.  As VentureBeat notes, this is not unprecedented.  Indeed, Facebook even engages in a similar practice.  In my mind, the big question is whether Facebook can restrict access to its accounts through Facebook "authorized" channels.  The answer to this is *probably* yes, since the user is granted a limited license, and Facebook can limit the scope of the license.  For example, it need not allow you to access your account through your handheld device.  (That would negatively affect Facebook's adoption and use obviously.)  I'm not sure how Facebook's recent TOS flap fits into this.  Conceivably, the fact that users own the content they upload could affect the analysis. 

Facebook's allegations go beyond mere unauthorized access - Facebook claims that Power dupes its users into providing account information and then uses this information to send "join now" invitations which appear to be from Facebook (inviting users to join Power.com)...or something like that.  Truth be told, Facebook's allegations are not crystal clear.  I don't think this is terribly important, since this is peripheral to the overall dispute around whether Power.com should be forced to go through Facebook's authorized developer program in building apps that interface with Facebook. 

Power.com recently filed a Motion to Dismiss [pdf].  I'm not sure what to make of the motion.  It feels like a delay tactic and nothing more (not that there's nothing wrong with this).  The motion argues that Facebook's allegations are not specific enough in some regards, and asks the court to require Facebook to file a more definite statement.  It's largely irrelevant what the court does with this.  The court is unlikely to provide an exhaustive ruling on Facebook's claims.  Worst case, even if the court agrees with Power.com, it will require Facebook to refile its claims.  A couple of things I would take away from this.  First, it looks like Power.com is thinking about fighting this lawsuit.  I guess there's a chance it's buying time to negotiate a settlement, but I can't imagine Facebook's counsel will be happy with this tactic.  If Power.com wanted time to negotiate a settlement it should have asked counsel for Facebook and Facebook would have probably stipulated to it.  Second, Power.com's choice of counsel is interesting.  Bramson Plutzik (from what I know) is a plaintiff's side class action firm

On a loosely related note, Facebook's tactics in keeping its network closed (or regulated) to developers seems to contrast with Twitter's approach.  From what I know, Twitter has a limit on the number of queries for its API, but other than this, everything is fair game.  This is why you see Twitter apps that come from all different walks of life. 
  • No trackbacks exist for this post.
  • No comments exist for this post.
Leave a comment

Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.

 Name (required)

 Email (will not be published) (required)


Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.