Universal Faces Lawsuit Over Warcraft Movie Spam Messaging

warcraft movie universal orcUniversal Pictures is facing a proposed class action lawsuit filed on behalf of people who were allegedly spammed with text messages promoting its newly-released Warcraft movie, according to filings made in a Florida federal court last week.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the plaintiff is Charlie Fitzgerald III, who is suing Universal for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and claims the studio sent him the message without permission.

The text included a link to the films page on ticketing site Fandango, and referenced characters from the popular Warcraft franchise, which began life as a video game.

Fitzgerald says that he didnt provide his mobile number to Universal, nor did he give them consent to call or text him. He claims the number that used to send the text messages is owned by Twilio, a company that enables brands to mass market using SMS and MMS messaging, as well as in-app messages and notifications.

“Given the pervasive and prevalent usage of mass, mobile marketing that violates TCPA protections, as Defendant has done here, Twilio provides clients with warnings to not use their service to violate the TCPA,” states the complaint. “But, by sending unsolicited text messages without express consent and not pursuant to an ongoing emergency, Defendant did in fact use Twilios mass, mobile marketing capabilities to violate the TCPA.”

Fitzgerald is seeking $500 (£376) in statutory damages per violation for himself and each class member in the lawsuit, and if the violation is found to be wilful rather than negligent, plans to increase these demands to $1,500 per violation.

Warcraft has done mixed business since opening in cinemas, earning only $45m in US theatres on a budget of $160m. The film has performed much better internationally, earning over $300m, and has been especially popular in China, where the World of Warcraft online game is extremely popular.

However, the films figures in China have come under scrutiny after claims that they were being artificially inflated. Chinese conglomerate the Wanda Group owns both the production company behind the film, Legendary Pictures, and a large number of cinemas in China. Suspicions were first raised when the company reported high ticket sales for areas that were in the midst of flooding.

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