9th Circuit, Alex Kozinski, Benchslaps, Facebook, Movies, Social Networking Websites, Technology

Chief Judge Kozinski to the Winklevii: Please Go Away Now

The Winklevoss twins might be hot -- but their case is not, according to the Ninth Circuit.

If you enjoyed The Social Network, then perhaps you should be grateful to Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. The lawsuit they filed against Facebook and Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, gave rise to excellent entertainment. The movie wouldn’t have been possible without it.

But now the litigation is getting… old. And some people just want the Winklevoss twins to go away. Like three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

In a ruling handed down today, rejecting the Winklevosses’s effort to overturn an earlier settlement with Facebook and Zuckerberg, the Ninth Circuit dispensed some stinging benchslaps. The opinion contains detailed and erudite analysis of both California contract law and federal securities law, but it can be summarized in four words: “Winklevii, STFU and GTFO.” (Feel free to use that in your headnotes, Westlaw and Lexis.)

Who wrote the opinion? None other than the ever-colorful Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, of course!

Let’s see what His Honor had to say — plus learn about additional Kozinski-related and movie-related news….

You can read the full opinion here if you’re curious. But all you really need to know can be found in the conclusion:

The Winklevosses are not the first parties bested by a competitor who then seek to gain through litigation what they were unable to achieve in the marketplace. And the courts might have obliged, had the Winklevosses not settled their dispute and signed a release of all claims against Facebook.

With the help of a team of lawyers and a financial advisor, they made a deal that appears quite favorable in light of recent market activity…. For whatever reason, they now want to back out. Like the district court, we see no basis for allowing them to do so.

At some point, litigation must come to an end. That point has now been reached.

Ouch. The Winklevii (or Winklevi?) haven’t been slapped around that hard since then-Harvard president Larry Summers threw them out of his office.

Petition for cert if you want to, boys. But this is probably the rare one case where the Supreme Court will be happy to leave a Ninth Circuit decision undisturbed.

Meanwhile, in between handing down awesome opinions, Chief Judge Kozinski continues to moonlight as a movie publicist. We have previously covered his praise for the new movie Atlas Shrugged: Part I (see here and here). His efforts to spread the word about this film continue.

At the recent book party that Chief Judge Kozinski held at his home in honor of Professor Ronald K.L. Collins and his new book, We Must Not Be Afraid to Be Free (affiliate link), Judge Kozinski invited attendees to make “I am John Galt” videos. His Honor explains:

David: Here are the “I am John Galt” clips from my party:


Most are in English, but you’ll also see Hebrew, German, French, Spanish, Russian, Hungarian, Romanian, Korean, Farsi, Chinese, Urdu, Swahili, Armenian and Yiddish.

All but one of these were taken by my son, Yale, with his HD camera, and compressed for ease of download. The originals are mega-large and clear. The last clip was taken in my office with my Sony laptop video-cam.

(The video clip of Judge Kozinski himself is pretty great — he says “I am John Galt” in about half a dozen different languages — but my personal favorite is probably the sexy Frenchman.)

Now, back to Chief Judge Kozinski:

As a reminder, here is the link where the producers of Atlas Shrugged explain why they are asking for these clips, and how they’ll be used on the CD and Blue-ray versions of the movie:


The movie opens this coming Friday at many locations across the country, which are listed here:


On the West Coast, the Pacific Research Institute has two special event showings, one on Thursday in San Francisco —


and the other one on Friday in Santa Ana —


The movie opens this weekend. Be sure to check it out; I definitely will. After all, how many films have been given perfect 10s by Chief Judge Kozinski on IMDb, where he has rated over 1,100 movies?

(But not The Social Network, interestingly enough. Now that he has handed down his decision in the Facebook case, perhaps he can see and rate the film without fear of compromising his impartiality?)

The Facebook, Inc. v. Pacific Northwest Software, Inc. [U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit]
Court to Winklevoss Twins: Facebook Settlement Stands, Time To Move On [Mashable]
Kozinski Shuts down Winkelvoss Twins Facebook Suit [Josh Blackman]
Court Upholds Facebook Settlement With Twins [Reuters]
Winklevoss Twins: “Stuck” with Settlement [Law and More]
9th Circuit Says No to Tossing Facebook Settlement [ABA Journal]

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