Facebook sues German social network site

When Ehssan Dariani and two friends launched studiVZ in October 2005, it was modeled after Facebook that began as a way for college students to keep in touch and became an online phenomenon.

The German social networking site, studiVZ, is so close to the original Facebook idea, that the site has been dubbed “Fakebook” by students.

Originally, Dariani wanted to create a men’s cosmetics line. However, that endeavor failed to take off and he found inspiration instead in U.S. social networks Facebook and MySpace.

The site owner managed to persuade two friends to launch studiVZ. The founders of online T-shirt shop Spreadshirt provided initial funding of 5,000 euros (7,960) and within months studiVZ turned into Europe’s largest student social networking site.

Facebook filed the lawsuit accusing studiVZ of copying the look, feel, features and services of the photo-sharing Web site, ultimately seeking to put an end to the German site.

Facebook is suing studiVZ for copyright infringement.

The name of the German social network site, studiVZ, is an abbreviation of “Studienverzeichnis”, which means “students’ directory” in German. The site uses a red theme instead of blue.

It has since branched out into SchuelerVZ for school pupils and MeinVZ for graduates and non-students.