Verizon Wireless takes aim at pesky 'Rabbit'

It's not often I cheer for a corporate giant unleashing its legal might, but let's make an exception for the lawsuit Verizon Wireless has filed this week against a film distributor.

In fact, it might even enough for me to forgive Verizon for its own robo-call assault on my house. 

From the Verizon Wireless press release:

Verizon Wireless said today it has filed a lawsuit to stop a Utah-based telemarketing company from calling its customers and employees to advertise the upcoming movie, "The Velveteen Rabbit." The lawsuit, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Trenton, alleges Feature Films for Families, Inc. illegally used an autodialer to call Verizon Wireless customers on behalf of a company called Family 1 Films, based in Los Angeles.

The lawsuit states that over 10 days in early February, nearly 500,000 calls were made to Verizon Wireless customers and employees from the telephone number 917-210-4609. When customers answered these calls to their wireless phones they heard either a prerecorded voice message or an individual reading a script promoting the anticipated release of the film.

"Telemarketers continue to harass our customers and impinge on their privacy, often using illegal methods including autodialers," said Steven E. Zipperstein, vice president and general counsel of Verizon Wireless. "Whatever their methods and whatever their product, these unlawful telemarketing calls are an annoyance to our customers and invade their privacy."

Did you notice that release included the telephone number? Normally not a nice thing to do. Normally.

What could this film company possibly be thinking?

A Utah newspaper managed to get a comment:

Matt Cooper, general counsel for Feature Films for Families Inc. and the film's producer, New Movie Corp., acknowledged Wednesday that New Movie Corp. had undertaken the calling campaign but did not believe it violated state or federal laws. The campaign was suspended Wednesday, he said. Cooper said New Movie Corp. "apologizes if their calling campaign caused any concerns or inconvenience."

Translation: I'm sorry we got caught and our sleazy practices are being publicized.

No way my kids are seeing this movie (unless Mom caves; that's her call).

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