The MetaSieve Blog

July 20, 2008

Facebook vs. StudiVZ: An old story from the German Perspective

Filed under: Uncategorized — metasieve @ 11:12 pm

Yesterday I ranted about Facebook suing StudiVZ. Techcrunch mused mildly about the apparent similarities: “Facebook does seem to have a claim here, as the German site looks like nothing more than Facebook in red and translated in German.”

Today StudiVZ released a statement in which they stated that they had already counter-sued Facebook on Friday at a german court. Marcus Riecke, CEO of studiVZ Ltd., commented:

“After Facebook, in spite of their efforts, did not achieve to gain a foothold in Germany, they are oviously trying to hinder the success of studiVZ by taking legal action.”

“There are several social networks world-wide. Facebook was not the first one and by no means the only one. By trying to damage studiVZ through a suit without any chance of success in an american court, Facebook is in principal claiming a world-wide monopoly on social networks. That is presumptous and and will be unmasked quickly. We await the results calmly.”

The reaction shows that studiVZ has already had its share of major crisises. In 2006 their CEO Ehssan Dariani invited to his birthday with an invitation that resembled the invitation to Adolf Hitler’s 56th birthday. StudiVZ awaited the media outrage calmly and only separated from Dariani in March 2007.

It seems like the same pattern now. Denying that a problem exists, waiting until the media focus their attention elsewhere and then solve the problem silently. This time this could be difficult for them. It won’t be difficult for Facebook’s lawyers to find the dozens of german blog articles who have written over and over again that StudiVZ not only looks like Facebook, but also contains similarities down to the code level. Basic Thinking were the first to write about the “clone issue”. unfehlbar.net described in a lengthy blog article in detail the similarities. Some Error message screenshots that showed up on Flickr even revealed that studiVZ used the internal name “Fakebook”.

As a reader of german media I am very surprised that StudiVZ even denies Facebook’s claims

UPDATE: It seems techcrunch has picked up the story again. I can only agree that the cheapest way for StudiVZ would be to hire a designer rather than a lawyer.

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