|Industry||Internet, Computer software|
|Products||i2hub.com, Jungalu.com, ConnectU.com, StallScribbles.com, Digital Flyers, ConnectHi (theyearbook.org), ConnectGroups, The Winklevoss Chang Group Representative Program, The Rep Center, Social Butterfly|
i2hub was a peer-to-peer file sharing service and program designed and intended primarily for use by university and college students. The program was created by Wayne Chang, a student at University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Wayne Chang had previously worked at the original Napster while attending high school in Haverhill, Massachusetts.
The main advantage of i2hub was its utilization of Internet2, which was a special network that connected universities around the world. It allows for data transfer rates much faster than typical Internet connections. Because of this, download speeds through i2hub were usually much faster than through other peer-to-peer networks. The service gained traction quickly.
i2hub is launched
The service was launched in March 2004 and ultimately expanded to over 400 universities and colleges both in the United States and abroad. It rapidly gained both users and publicity due to its speed and ease of use.
Competition from Facebook
Facebook also had just launched in February 2004, a month before i2hub. Both i2hub and Facebook were gaining attention from the press. In August 2004, Mark Zuckerberg, Andrew McCollum, Adam D'Angelo, and Sean Parker of Facebook launched a competing peer-to-peer file sharing service called Wirehog. Traction was low compared to i2hub, and Facebook ultimately shut it down.
The Winklevoss Chang Group
As users flocked to the service, it attracted the attention of ConnectU. A partnership allegedly formed between i2hub and ConnectU. The partnership, called The Winklevoss Chang Group, jointly advertised their properties through bus advertisements as well as press releases. i2hub integrated its popular software with ConnectU's website, as part of the partnership. The team also jointly launched several projects and initiatives, including:
- Jungalu.com, an internet-based book exchange
- StallScribbles.com, an online "anonymous confessions" board
- Digital Flyers, a portal for purchasing advertisements to be placed on the various WCG websites and on i2hub
- ConnectHi (also known as ConnectHigh and theyearbook.org), an effort to penetrate the high school social networking market
- ConnectGroups, an initiative to provide clubs and organizations with a means for their members to communicate online with each other about their organizations
- The Winklevoss Chang Representative Program, a sales representative program which WCG used to establish a presence on college campuses and to promote ConnectU and the other WCG properties
- The Rep Center, an internet-based portal, accessible through ConnectU.com, providing a centralized location for the representatives of The Winklevoss Chang Representative Program to communicate and earn points (redeemable for prizes) by recruiting and signing up new users for all of WCG's properties
- Social Butterfly, a feature added to ConnectU to enable users to consolidate their accounts at various social networking sites, such as Facebook, and make that information accessible through ConnectU
- US Patent Application 20060212395, related to a method of purchasing of copyrighted computer files through affinity programs, such as using points from a credit card to purchase copyrighted movies.
The network was criticized by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for its ability to share copyrighted materials through a faster medium. On October 5, 2004, Cary Sherman, the president of the RIAA, talked about i2hub in a statement to the United States House of Representatives. On April 12, 2005, the RIAA announced it was suing 405 i2hub users, students at 18 colleges and universities, for copyright infringement. On September 22, 2005, the United States House of Representatives had another hearing to discuss i2hub. On November 14, 2005, i2hub was shut down with the message "RIP 11/14/2005. It was a good run. Forced to shut down by the industry."
On January 17, 2006, the Wall Street Journal wrote that UMASS students that were sued for using i2hub wanted founder Wayne Chang to pay for their lawsuits. Wayne Chang and his attorney, Charles Baker, who also represented StreamCast Networks (makers of the Morpheus P2P software), responded saying that i2hub has no liability in the matter and is protected by the EULA. The lawsuit was never filed by the UMASS students.
ConnectU had sued Facebook in early 2004. Facebook countersued in regards to the team's Social Butterfly project, and named among the defendants ConnectU, Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, Divya Narendra, and Wayne Chang. Settlement was reached where Facebook acquired ConnectU for 1,253,326 shares of Facebook stock and an additional $20 million in cash. On August 26, 2010, New York Times reported that Facebook shares were trading at $76 per share in the secondary market, putting the total settlement value at close to $120 million. Another lawsuit was filed to undo the settlement as Facebook allegedly misrepresented the value of the stock by more than fourfold. If the settlement were adjusted to match, the total value would be over $466 million.
The Winklevoss Chang Group lawsuit
On December 21, 2009, i2hub founder Wayne Chang and The i2hub Organization launched a lawsuit against ConnectU and its founders, Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra, seeking 50% of the settlement. The complaint says "The Winklevosses and Howard Winklevoss filed [a] patent application, U.S. Patent Application No 20060212395, on or around March 15, 2005, but did not list Chang as a co-inventor." It also states "Through this litigation, Chang asserts his ownership interest in The Winklevoss Chang Group and ConnectU, including the settlement proceeds." Lee Gesmer (of prominent law firm Gesmer Updegrove, LLP) posted the detailed 33-page complaint online.
On May 13, 2011, it was reported that Judge Peter Lauriat made a ruling against the Winklevosses. Chang's case against them could proceed. The Winklevosses had argued that the court lacks jurisdiction because the settlement with Facebook has not been distributed and therefore Chang hasn't suffered any injury. Judge Lauriat wrote, "The flaw in this argument is that defendants appear to conflate loss of the settlement proceed with loss of rights. Chang alleges that he has received nothing in return for the substantial benefits he provided to ConnectU, including the value of his work, as well as i2hub's users and goodwill." Lauriat also wrote that, although Chang's claims to the settlement are "too speculative to confer standing, his claims with respect to an ownership in ConnectU are not. They constitute an injury separate and distinct from his possible share of the settlement proceeds. The court concludes that Chang has pled sufficient facts to confer standing with respect to his claims against the Winklevoss defendants."
- Anita Davis (2005-10-21). "Wayne's World". The Daily Free Press.
- John Borland (2004-04-29). "File-swapping gets supercharged on student network". CNET News.
- Frank Field (2004-08-19). "The Rise of i2hub". MIT FurdLog.
- Hope Glassberg (2004-07-07). "New on Campus: Faster Network For File-Sharers". Wall Street Journal.
- Brock Read (2004-05-14). "Students Use Internet2's High-Speed Research Network to Swap Songs and Movies". The Chronicle.
- Martey Dodoo (2004-08-16). "Wirehog?". Martey Dodoo.
- Alan J. Tabak (2004-08-13). "Zuckerberg Programs New Website". Harvard Crimson.
- Lee Gesmer (2010-01-18). "Chang v. Winklevoss Complaint". Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
- Caroline McCarthy (2010-01-04). "Fresh legal woes for ConnectU founders". CNET News.
- Cary Sherman (2004-10-05). "STATEMENT OF CARY SHERMAN, PRESIDENT, RECORDING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON COURTS, THE INTERNET, AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON PEER-TO-PEER (P2P) PIRACY ON UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES: AN UPDATE". United States House of Representatives.
- Recording Industry Association of America (2005-04-12). "RIAA TARGETS NEW PIRACY EPIDEMIC ON SPECIAL HIGH-SPEED CAMPUS NETWORK". RIAA.
- Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property (2005-09-22). "REDUCING PEER-TO-PEER (P2P) PIRACY ON UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES: A PROGRESS UPDATE". United States House of Representatives.
- John Borland (2005-11-04). "Supercharged college P2P network closes". CNET News.
- Thomas Mennecke (2005-11-15). "i2hub Shuts Down". Slyck.
- Antony Bruno (2005-11-15). "File-Trading Network i2Hub Shuts Down". All Business.
- Wall Street Journal
- Vauhini Vara (2006-01-17). "Students Want File-Sharing Site To Pay for RIAA Settlements". Wall Street Journal.
- Timothy J. McGinn (2004-09-13). "Lawsuit Threatens To Close Facebook". The Harvard Crimson.
- California Northern District Court (2007-03-09). "The Facebook, Inc. v. Connectu, LLC et al". Justia.
- Dan Frommer (2009-02-10). "Facebook Paid ConnectU Founders $65 Million Settlement". Business Insider.
- Brad Stone (2009-02-10). "ConnectU's ‘Secret’ $65 Million Settlement With Facebook". The New York Times.
- "Investors Value Facebook at Up to $33.7 Billion". New York Times. August 26, 2010.
- Eric Eldon (February 12, 2009). "Financial wrinkle lost ConnectU some Facebook settlement dollars". VentureBeat.
- Owen Thomas (May 19, 2010). VentureBeat http://venturebeat.com/2010/05/19/facebook-connectu-securities-fraud/. Missing or empty
- Chang v. Winklevoss Complaint
- Lee Gesmer (2010-01-18). "The Road Goes on Forever, But the Lawsuits Never End: ConnectU, Facebook, Their Entourages". Mass Law Blog.
- Bianca Bosker (2011-05-13). "Wayne Chang's Suit Against Winklevoss Twins Can Proceed, Judge Rules". Huffington Post.
- Sheri Qualters (2011-05-13). "Winklevoss Twins Loses Again in Court". The National Law Journal.
- "Winklevoss Twins Sued For Part Of Their Facebook Fortunes". Fox News. 2011-05-13.
- Nick O'Neill (2011-05-13). "Developer Sues Winklevoss Twins, Everybody Cheers". AllFacebook.
- Chloe Albanesius (2011-05-13). "Winklevoss Twins Face Lawsuit Over Facebook Funds". PC Magazine.
- Sophia Pearson (2011-05-13). "Winklevoss Twins Face Suit Over Failed Alliance, Judge Says". Bloomberg.