UPDATE: In October 2010, Ez Texting and T-Mobile entered into a private settlement. Currently all Ez Texting messages sent to and from Ez Texting clients are available to T-Mobile subscribers.
EZ Texting today told a Federal Court that wireless carrier T-Mobile had no right to block its texting short code either under Federal law or under existing industry practice. The dispute deals a website for a legal marijuana dispensary in California that used a short code from EZ Texting for a mobile marketing campaign.
The wireless company had said it cut off EZ Texting’s short code because the company had not updated its program brief when adding a new customer for the short code and not because of the content of the site.
EZ Texting argued in its brief that “this is not common industry practice and T-Mobile never enforced this purported requirement until it learned about the website at issue here.” In a declaration, EZ Texting’s CEO, Shane Neman, said that 4INFO, the company from which EZ Texting obtained its short code “relayed messages from T-Mobile” that the company was “going to block EZ Texting’s short code based on the content of the website http://www.legalmarijuanadispenary.com ( the website), which T-Mobile considered inappropriate.” In addition, Neman wrote that one of his company representatives “also spoke directly with T-Mobile and learned that T-Mobile was blocking EZ Texting because of the Web site.”
The EZ Texting brief also noted that T-Mobile customers are able to “follow weedmaps,” the Twitter feed for the dispensary, using Twitter’s short code. The company argued: “That is not different from texting ‘weedmaps’ to EZ Texting’s short code, yet T-Mobile treats Twitter and EZ Texting differently. Twitter’s exact same actions have not resulted in the termination of Twitter’s short code by T-Mobile, while EZ Texting’s has. This is discriminatory treatment.”
Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge, said, “The additional details in this case again make it abundantly clear the Federal Communications Commission must act to protect the legal status of text messaging and short codes.” Background on the case is here.
The reply brief is here.
Neman’s declaration is here.
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