A man from East Sussex, UK, is suing social networking internet giant Facebook for copyright infringement after claiming that the company had stolen the web-based 'social unity' concept from his own life. Tim Weiny, 62, has been wearing a book strapped to his face for the last 15 years and has become popularly known as 'Bookface Tim' to the residents of the small village of Pissing Hamely near Dovover.
Tim blames a bad memory and poor social judgement for his book wearing habit, 'I used to make notes on my forehead to remind me of important dates and phone numbers which I was likely to forget' explains crazy man Tim, 'I'd write them backwards before I went to bed and then I could read them in the morning the following day. When the Post-It note was invented in the late eighties it made my life a lot easier because I could stick as many notes about my face as I liked'.
'Lost without it'
Unfortunately for Mr Weiny a rare sweating disorder meant that notes would persistently fall off his face and land in his dinner, or be blown off during strong gusts of wind. 'Eventually my sister (Tina Weiny, 32) suggested that I strap something more substantial to my head, so I started with a notepad and sellotape and eventually progressed to a moleskin journal and masking tape, a system which seems to weather most conditions. I'd be lost without it now', adds Tim, who had to cut eye holes into the centre of the book after walking into the path of a number 82 bus on several occasions.
The Bookface concept grew from strength to strength and after the Polaroid camera became popular young people began sticking their photos next to their name and address, and started adding inane lists of interests, quotes and favourite films in the vain hope that someone else might find them slightly less socially repulsive if viewed through the abstract medium of Tim face.
Since 2001 Bookface has attracted over 270 members and the list is growing more quickly than he can add new pages. 'I never thought it would be such a popular concept' muttered Tim, 'especially given my personal odour issues and generally unsociable nature'. But word spread faster than home made jam and soon 'Bookface Tim' was a regional hero, even having his own half hour slot on a local cable TV channel.
In 2003 Tim was encouraged to patent the idea by fellow oddball and eccentric inventor James Dyson who'd achieved considerable fame and notoriety after inventing the 'Suckaloo' a hygienic toilet system with lossless suction. 'I didn't see the point of patenting my idea at the time' says Tim, muffled from behind his book, 'who'd want to copy this concept?'. Who indeed. The answer was Marty Suckerborg, Facebook inventor and general copycat, who's internet based concept has now been rolled out to over 25 million users, most of whom claim to have tried bookfacing at least once but found it too 'bulky and intrusive' to use regularly.
Happily ever after?
Mr Suckerborg declined to comment on the law suit but his lawyer, speaking outside the preliminary hearing today, said that his client 'had no prior knowledge of Mr Weiny's idea or patent and had developed the concept of Facebook from a dream he'd had and some ancient cave sketchings.' Weiny's case was somewhat hampered when he arrived in court with a copy of Mien Kampf strapped to his face which he claims he'd mistakenly picked up instead of his usual book whilst rushing for a taxi.
The case continues.