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Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, who became billionaires after selling Skype to eBay in 2005, filed a copyright lawsuit on Wednesday against Skype in the United States District Court of Northern California. The suit comes a little more than two weeks after eBay announced it would sell most of Skype for $1.9 billion to a consortium of investors led by the private equity firm Silver Lake Partners.
In the court filing, Joltid, a company owned by the Skype founders, claims that eBay violated copyright law by altering and sharing the peer-to-peer source code behind the free Internet calling service. The Skype founders maintained ownership of that source code after selling Skype to eBay in 2005, and licensed it to eBay.
eBay Announces Skype Sale [webmasterworld.com]
[edited by: tedster at 1:02 am (utc) on Sep. 18, 2009]
I wonder how much this will hurt eBay. There was a discussion a while back about PayPal and a number of people jumped to their defence from the persepctive of being sound and having relocated to Lichtenstein. They did this to capitalize (make money from thin air) as Lichtenstein allowed them to be a bank, which the British FSA would not because, um, they are a credit card processor, nothing more. Lichtenstein also has tight security rules regarding company accounts and disclosures, so no-one knows the true economic state of PayPal. But with all the talk of problems and a more clued up customer base using their credit cards to fund PayPal accounts because they can get their money back from the CC company who in turn get it from PayPal, I wonder if eBay is fearing rather than feeling a recession big time right now!
Nope, it totaled eBay's planned sale of Skype!
As for eBay's lawyers not being stupid, the is not is issue and (thank you God for karma) nothing they can do if eBay are not the legal owners of the technology!
eBay's greed was and is (IMHO) their corporate philospohy and hopefully will be their ultimate downfall. I see eBay as a corporate commission earning and condoning pyramid scheme site with fraudulent sellers getting away with murder and new ones coming along because of it. But sooner or later the punters will get wise. My G, you only have to see the difference in quality in listings say 3 years ago with now.
"Their allegations and claims are without merit and are founded on fundamental legal and factual errors," said Ebay. "We remain on track to close the transaction [for the sale of Skype to the investor group] in the fourth quarter of 2009."
There'll be two sides to this story, and we've only heard one so far. eBay may have a few nukes up their sleeves that they're just not ready to launch yet.
If you read the pleadings filed in the US court on this new copyright issue, the arrogance of Friis and Zennstrom beggars belief. (Om Malik publishes here : [gigaom.com...] )
They essentially have no evidence of the mis-appropriation of confidential information, just an assumption that it's the only way Volti could have put together the financial consortium.
Lots of smoke and mirrors here.
Former eBay Boss Meg Whitman is currently seeking to replace Arnold Schwarzenegger and run California Next, anti affiliate tax included... which directly affects eBay and its affiliates. Round and round we go!
Actually, I wonder if that's partly why eBay switched to a pseudo cpc payout structure for affiliates, so that they can no longer be considered employees. The system isn't CPC at all however, it's 100% "we'll pay you but can't tell you how we figure out how much".
eBay is definitely on a road of change, time will tell if that's good or bad and this lawsuit will be expensive if nothing else.