Ez Texting, a New York-based company that helps businesses send marketing text messages to large numbers of people, filed the suit (PDF) yesterday with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The company is one of those that provide the behind-the-scenes infrastructure for the type of ad that asks consumers to text a specific word to a specific number to get more information on a product–”Text ‘jeans’ to 313131,” for example.
In its suit, Ez Texting says that last week, T-Mobile cut off access to its network after learning of an Ez client of which T-Mobile “did not approve”: legalmarijuanadispensary.com, aka WeedMaps, which describes itself as “a community where medical marijuana patients connect with other patients in their geographic region to freely discuss and review local cannabis co-operatives, dispensaries, medical doctors, and delivery services.”
According to the lawsuit filed by EZ Texting, T-Mobile blocked the company from sending text messages for all its clients after it learnt that one of the company’s clients – legalmarijuanadispensary. com – was using the messaging service for sending text messages about legal medical marijuana dispensaries in California.
In its lawsuit filed in the US District Court of the Southern District of New York, EZ Texting said: “T-Mobile subjectively did not approve of one of the thousands of lawful businesses and non-profits served by EZ Texting.”
Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of digital rights lobbyists, Public Knowledge, said: “This case is yet another example of a totally arbitrary decision by a carrier to block text message calls between consumers and organizations they want to communicate with. The FCC should put a fast end to this blocking by issuing the ruling we asked them for three years ago. EZ Texting and other companies should be able to focus on growing their business rather than filing lawsuits to prevent blocking.”