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The Winklevoss Twins: How the Movie May have Hurt Their Appeal

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Say what you will about the impartiality of judges and the recent ruling to not expand on the Winklevoss twins’ settlement with Facebook. Their characters, played by Armie Hammer in The Social Network, hurt their image in the court of public opinion. As with any level of impartiality, this likely had an effect on the ruling and may stick the twins with a “mere” $65 million in cash and shares.

In the movie, they were depicted as having the original idea for Facebook in their startup, ConnectU. While this would seem to position them properly to receive higher compensation, they were depicted as vindictive, petty, and generally unlikeable. By the end of the movie, viewers wanted the love-jilted, intelligent, and motivated Zuckerberg to win out against the blond-haired Olympic-rowing aristocrats. It was the little guy versus the big guy.

However fictional these depictions may or may not be is irrelevant. The movie took the Zuckerberg character and spun him to be anti-unlikeable. In other words, you didn’t want to like him for his motivations or actions, but you wanted to respect him for the way he commanded situations, a stark contrast to what the real Zuckerberg has displayed over the years.

Zuckerberg may have stumbled on the right thing at the right time and made a few right moves, but the Winkevoss twins were anything but respectable at all in the movie. This didn’t hurt them in the original ruling, but it certainly hurt them today and will likely help in preventing further successful appeals in the future. They had better get used to the idea of having only $65 million to play with. They won’t be getting any more than that.

  1. You are a complete idiot if you genuinely think that the way someone is depicted in a movie will affect their likelihood of success in a court of law (particularly where the movie writers have admitted to adding some elements of fiction to their depiction of the events that unfolded). Stick to writing about iphones buddy and leave legal commentary to the experts.

  2. Hot properties like Facebook always breed these kind of protracted legal battles. It’s good to see at least that this one is coming to an end so that we can all move on to new business.

  3. With all due respect, I think you’re 100% wrong. First, I certainly didn’t come away viewing the movie that way, and I don’t think everyone did. Certainly a great deal of people I know walked away thinking that Zuckerberg was a dick and stole facebook. The real skill of the movie was the way it wove these scenarios into something without obvious black and white shades.

    Second, I also think its sort of ludicrous to imagine that a Judge made a ruling on how binding a contract is based on a movie that everyone knows is based on one perspective. All Judges do is hear multiple sides of a story and attempt — sometimes not well — to find the right answer. The dispute the Judge ruled on was not directly whether or not they deserved a piece of the action or not; it was a focused legal issue. The movie had nothing to do with it.

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