Technology & Science

MobiTV, Toronto cellphone forum resolve dispute

MobiTV has backed off legal action against a Toronto-based mobile phone forum that carried instructions on how to get free access to the video streaming company's channels.

MobiTV has backed off legal action against a Toronto-based mobile phone forum that carried instructions on how to get free access to the video streaming company's channels.

Lawyers for MobiTV, which provides TV services on Sprint Nextel Corp. cellphones, had sent a letter to Howardforums.com to take down a web address posted by a member that allowed users to bypass MobiTV's security.

Users who entered the address into web browsers on certain mobile phones could get free access to streams from Fox News, MSNBC, Animal Planet and other networks.

After Howardforums refused to comply, MobiTV sent a letter Thursday to the site's web host, Atlanta-based Global Net Access LLC, asking it to shut down Howardforums.

In an e-mail from MobiTV posted by Howardforums owner Howard Chui on his website, the company's legal counsel said the web address was not publicly available, and therefore it had to have been obtained through illegal means.

But Chui said in postings on his website — which has almost 800,000 members — that the link was available to anyone on the internet and wasn't secure.

On Friday, MobiTV said in a statement it was backing off the threat of legal action, noting that it would attempt to fix the security issue.

"Our first priority is always to fix any security issues with our system and we're doing that," said MobiTV president Paul Scanlan, writing Chui on Friday.

"Additionally, we also have a responsibility to our content and carrier partners to reduce the impact of any breaches to the system once they occur, and that was really the basis for the correspondence you had with our legal team," he said.

The dispute attracted the attention of technology blogs across North America, less than a week after a Swiss bank dropped its lawsuit against a whistleblower website for posting sensitive customer data.

Julius Baer & Co. ended its legal pursuit of the Wikileaks website after a U.S. district judge reversed an initial order to shut down the site at the bank's request.

With files from the Associated Press

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