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Facebook Founder Loses Court Battle Over Personal Docs

A federal judge has denied a petition by Facebook Inc. to force a Harvard alumni magazine to take down documents pertaining to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder, the Associated Press reported.

The documents, including Zuckerberg's Harvard College application, a personal diary, and an e-mail he wrote to the college admissions office, are part of a court battle between Facebook and ConnectU, a social networking site founded by Harvard students where Zuckerberg worked before he went on to found Facebook.

The ConnectU founders have charged that Zuckerberg stole their ideas, including some of the source code for their site.

Facebook argued that the documents were under court seal and should not have been released. But Bom S. Kim, the founder of 02138, told the AP that the reporter who wrote a story about Zuckerberg simply walked into federal court and asked for the documents.

"We obtained them legally--it's a matter of free speech," Kim told AP. "This isn't a new tactic--a big company trying to suppress information by harnessing their resources and lawyers to overwhelm media outlets."

According to Kim, U.S. District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock recognized 02138's First Amendment right to publish the information. "We were relieved and happy," Kim told the Crimson. "It's a good day for journalism."

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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