Home > Digital Revolution, Distributel, P2P, Privacy, Teksavvy, User Rights, Voltage > Court Orders Teksavvy to Disclose User Information to Voltage

Court Orders Teksavvy to Disclose User Information to Voltage

Yesterday the Federal court issued a decision on the Teksavvy vs. Voltage case granting Voltage access to Teksavvy’s customers information regarding alleged file sharers.  The decision comes with some controversy on Teksavvy not opposing the motion in court.   I’m going to leave a lot of the legal analysis that is sure to come out by qualified lawyers in all of this not to chums like me, Ellis or Openmedia.

I’ve lost a lot of friends, but also gained new ones through my stances on this blog.  I’ve been very clear on my opinions on this issue on this blog.  Those opinions are based on law and from my learning quest in all of this are shared by the majority of those I’ve spoken with in the legal community who are fighting the front lines of this copyright debate, and are preparing to defend consumers against such court actions.  There have been several sources I’ve been in contact with in the legal community who have shared their thoughts and views privately to me on this issue prior to this court decision.  All of which resemble that of my previous comments on this issue, including concerns regarding how your information is captured online, and used, and not just in this case.  These new friends are not in charge of defending a companies reputation, and are far more qualified than some of the “academic” commentators this debate has seen in previous months regarding law, privacy, and technology.  They are also far more qualified than some of Openmedia’s advisers.  I will leave it up to these very capable and qualified legal professionals to properly communicate the law in this to the public.  Keep an eye on my twitter feed.

However, I will comment from the business communications perspective.  Right from the get go, I’ve been offering my assistance in this regard to Teksavvy which was rejected a number of times prior to the online debates on this.  Teksavvy decided not to oppose, and chose a very complex hard to communicate legal position.  In turn this put the company in my opinion at hugely unnecessary risk, considering it’s legal options which I warned the leadership at Teksavvy several times about, again rejected.  We’ve had everything from sources close to Teksavvy (and get this even a communications professor at York U) explain the decision not to oppose as something relating to safe harbor (which was debunked), to it’s not Teksavvy’s job (debunked).  Then we were all told to wait, they said, they had a master plan.

What we are left with as a result of this decision from the courts on a business communications stand point, is an overly complex hard to communicate legal position, which from the looks of it is still very much open ended to the public and quite frankly to me as well after reading the entire decision.  I don’t see this as being very much comfort for those affected especially after Distributel has recently opposed a similar motion which saw the copyright trolls drop the case months after Distributel filed it’s motion to oppose.  I don’t think any amount of public relations at this point is going to be able to sell Canadians on how much Teksavvy should be cuddled by Canadian consumers for not opposing Voltages motion considering the win for Voltage here.

In business you can throw as much money as you want into public relations and communications, but if it isn’t simple you’ve lost your message.  I  had to beat the CEO of this company over the head a few times on DSLR before he would start communicating.  Once he did, it took 10 days for him to try and explain the legal position on the forums.  Teksavvy lost it’s message long before this current decision as a result of it’s communications strategy (or lack there of), and its going to have a very tough time explaining all of this to it’s customers.

I’m not a lawyer, but as a business person myself, this all seems like a lot of unnecessary risk to put any company through regardless of the outcome here, and especially considering recent developments via Distributel.  Communications quite obviously was not factored in to the decision making process here.  No one in the legal community I spoke to on this would have ever advised a client to take this approach especially with the a company that based it’s reputation on being consumer friendly.

Those companies that are put in unnecessary risk by their leadership, in my experience, don’t last very long once that cycle starts.  Competitors have a tenancy to jump on those bad business decisions as Distributel has already done in this case.  Let’s hope that’s the last of the bad business decisions from the leadership at Teksavvy.  Nothing is worse than a communications company that can’t communicate to its own customers.

UPDATE Feb 21st 5:00 pm: A few hours ago Teksavvy has released it’s press statement on this ruling which should have been released yesterday with an effective communications strategy.  The national press wire already went to print with Voltages response, without Teksavvy’s comments likely due to the late release of Teksavvy’s press statement.  Watching the headlines over the past few hours, this is a big PR win for Voltage, and from their statements in media, fully intends to move forward with legal action against Teksavvy subscribers.

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