The Reuters story (full story here) is short of details of what exactly Power dot com wants to do with the data, but I’m guessing it’s an issue of access. I went to the Power dot com site; it asked me to log into Twitter, LinkedIn, orkut, MySpace, or hi5 with my site password (not a separate Power dot com password).
It also offered me the chance to create an account at Twitter, orkut, or hi5 through the Power dot com portal (that function did not display in Opera and did display in Firefox, leading me to conclude that their pop-up script is non-standards-compliant).
Facebook was absent from the list.
I cannot remark on the legal merits of the case–right now, it’s just a filing, but my gut reaction is that I don’t want to share my Facebook password with anyone but Facebook.
(Full Disclosure: The only social networking site I use is Facebook, because one of my political buddies asked me to join up).
I tried to find the case filing here, but didn’t have any luck (that probably has more to do with my unfamiliarity with doing lawyer stuff on line than with the site itself), so I was unable to learn more of what was being alleged than summarized in the news story:
Power.com, a San Francisco based aggregator of social networking sites, on Friday sued Facebook in a California court to try to resolve who owns data on social networking websites — users or the sites.
Power says users do. It plans to take a stand in its lawsuit to ensure that users have rights to “complete and total” ownership and control of their content, and to protect their content from other users and corporate entities.
The countersuit accusing Facebook of unfair competition, restraint of trade and creating a monopoly, comes about six months after Facebook sued Power.com for alleged copyright and trademark infringement, unlawful competition and fraud.
Frankly, I doubt this suit will ever reach trial.