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Facebook will try to get a New York man's claim for majority ownership of the website thrown out of court, attorneys for the social networking site said Tuesday.

A complaint by Paul Ceglia of Wellsville claims that a 7-year-old contract he signed with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for software development entitles him to 84 percent of the company.

"No one's ever said it's not his signature or it's a fake contract," Ceglia attorney Terrence Connors said during a federal court hearing in Buffalo.

Connors said the two men met when Zuckerberg, then a Harvard University freshman, responded to an ad Ceglia had posted on Craigslist looking for someone to develop software for a street-mapping database he was creating.

Zuckerberg offered to take on Ceglia's project for $1,000, Connors said, and then told Ceglia about a project of his own, a kind of online yearbook for Harvard students that he wanted to expand.

Ceglia said he gave Zuckerberg another $1,000 to continue work on Zuckerberg's "The Face Book," with the condition that Ceglia would own a 50 percent interest in the software and business if it expanded. The percentage grew to 84 percent based on a clause that added a percentage point for each day the project went past its Jan. 1, 2004, due date.

Zuckerberg's undertaking "at that time was a fledgling project," Connors said. "Who knew it would turn into what it has turned into today."

Facebook recently celebrated its 500 millionth user, Connors said.


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