In our next class, we will consider the law and ethics of two separate promises depicted in the movie “The Social Network”–the informal coding agreement between the Winklevoss twins and Mark Zuckerberg as well as the informal partnership between Zuckerberg and his best friend Eduardo Saverin. In summary, the movie “The Social Network” depicts two ill-fated promises. Soon after the Facemash fiasco, the Winklevoss twins and their partner Divya Narendra introduce themselves to their fellow classmate Mark Zuckerberg, and they proceed to pitch him an idea for an online social network/dating website: the Harvard Connection (later renamed ConnectU). In the movie version of these events, Zuck tells them “I’m in” without hesitation, but then, in the very next scene (!), Mark and Eduardo negotiate an informal partnership agreement with the purpose of launching a “clean and simple” social network, a rival website that Mark would eventually christen “thefacebook.” Assuming the veracity of the movie version of these promissory events, the key question is thus this: are either of these oral agreements legally binding? In addition, we will also debate whether humans should be allowed to sell blood to vampires. (FYI: check out this podcast on this esoteric topic.) That is, are there any voluntary and consensual contracts that the law should refuse to enforce as a matter of policy? If so, how should courts draw this legal line?
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