Time Warner Cable Systematically Looking To Shut Down Parodist's Accounts

from the not-a-huge-surprise dept

Well, this won't come as a huge surprise. Twice this week we've written about a pair of parodists who have been mocking Time Warner Cable and its customer service, first with a video in which they pretend to be TWC Customer Service reps asking people how they can make service worse for customers, and then involving a recording with a customer service rep who suggested that you weren't allowed to record your phone calls with TWC Customer service, even though they were recording you. The efforts were part of a parody campaign for a website called TWCCustomerService.com. For what it's worth, Time Warner has since said that there is no corporate policy saying that callers cannot record their calls, and that was merely a case of one rep overreacting.

That said, Time Warner Cable has apparently decided that the duo at TWCCustomerService have gone way too far in their parody attempt and have been going after their various social media accounts one by one. Already killed are their YouTube account and a bunch of Twitter accounts. The latest is that TWC's legal department has approached GoDaddy, seeking to have the TWCCustomerService.com domain name taken away. According to Kevin Collier at DailyDot, the guys are actually Jason Selvig and Davram Stiefler of the comedy duo The Good Liars, and they have a history of doing similar types of pranks. In this case, TWC claims that the duo went too far in using the real name (and image) of Time Warner Cable's CEO, Glenn Britt.

As we noted in our first post about them, some might think that their website and efforts pushed some boundaries, since nowhere do they state directly that they're a parody account, but any human being with a few functioning brain cells should be able to tell within seconds that these guys clearly do not represent Time Warner Cable at all. I can understand why TWC decided to try to shut down the various accounts, but, in the end that's probably exactly what Selvig and Stiefler wanted, as it merely serves to call that much more attention to their antics.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 3:23pm

    Why isn't Time Warner going directly after the pair themselves but instead going after all the social media companies to shutdown their accounts?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 3:31pm

      Re:

      Because they know damn well they don't have any legitimate standing in court. That doesn't mean they won't get around the pisky legal system to try and ruin the lives of a couple of parodists.

       

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    Glen, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 3:28pm

    "but any human being with a few functioning brain cells should be able to tell within seconds that these guys clearly do not represent Time Warner Cable at all."

    I'd agree but this Time Warner we are talking about. Who knows?

    Since it is GoDaddy, I'm betting they will cave.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 3:35pm

    Parody is covered by fair use. Everyone should be telling Time Warner it can bugger off.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 3:37pm

      Re:

      They already know that, and they know that any lawsuit on their part would be nothing more than a SLAPP. That's why they're going around the legal system.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 11:35pm

        Re: Re:

        They need to be severely punished if they dare initiate a lawsuit. The problem is that the potential damages against a defendant is huge but the potential legal damages against a plaintiff here are very small.

        Plaintiffs who attempt to use the legal system to stifle speech should be more severely punished than defendants who defame or who impersonate another company. If it's a clear case of parody no one should even consider initiating a lawsuit because attempting to use our legal system to stifle speech should result in a quick and harsh punishment.

        But, no, our legal system has effectively found ways to circumvent the constitution and to give big powerful organizations a means of stifling speech. Private commercial entities already have government established control over cableco and broadcasting spectra and they control the (political) content that gets delivered through these channels. This, in and of itself, is a government established restriction on speech and should be unconstitutional. If anyone criticizes a huge corporation or an influential organization via Youtube they have the resources to influence Youtube and others to remove the critical content. The legal system, and its disproportional penalty structure, is to blame and as such the laws, or the way they are applied now, should be considered unconstitutional (since the legal system is a function of government and it is ultimately the government that is limiting speech).

        Abolish government established broadcasting spectra and cableco monopolies (for commercial use).

         

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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Apr 5th, 2013 @ 4:50pm

    I can understand why TWC decided to try to shut down the various accounts, but, in the end that's probably exactly what Selvig and Stiefler wanted, as it merely serves to call that much more attention to their antics.


    Mr. Warner? I've got a Mrs. Streisand on line 1...

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 6th, 2013 @ 9:36am

      Re:

      TW doesn't care about their reputation. They have a govt. established monopoly, not to mention their exclusive contracts with various sports teams (which are built on copy'right', a govt established monopoly), it's not like they are going to lose a lot of business either way. TW is tone deaf. You would need a much louder message to get through their bureaucracy.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 5:00pm

    Typical reaction ... why bother looking into customer complaints, they're just a bunch of unwashed masses undeserving of anything other than a swift kick in the ass. Sic the dogs on 'em. It's not like there is any competition, thank the bought and paid for politicians for that.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 5:18pm

    If the DOJ wanted to improve their public Image, sounds like an investigation into time warner actions would garner some positive P.R. however that might be too hard prosecutors working hard toward their post DOJ jobs.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 5:47pm

    but any human being with a few functioning brain cells should be able to tell within seconds that these guys clearly do not represent Time Warner Cable at all.

    Considering we have political operatives and politicians who report the Onion as fact, the moron in a hurry defense needs an updated.

     

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      Hephaestus (profile), Apr 6th, 2013 @ 1:49am

      Re:

      Considering we have political operatives and politicians who report the Onion as fact, the moron in a hurry defense needs an updated.

      It is more likely that the definition of Moron needs to be updated to include political operatives.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 6:51pm

    Time Warner sucks. Instead of responding with an apology for having such terrible customer service and putting out a PR statement saying that they will attempt to fix their customer service (even if it's all lies) and maybe charge reasonable prices without secretly jacking up the prices on everyone at the last minute when no one suspects, they do the exact opposite of what they should do and they go after those that criticize them.

    I hope Time Warner dies. They need to stop buying our government and politicians into forcing competition out of the market and we need to force them to compete or to force them out of business. I would love to see them forced out of business by a very angry public.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Apr 5th, 2013 @ 11:08pm

    It was fine until they made fun of the CEO... now its on.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 6th, 2013 @ 8:01am

    If they can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2013 @ 8:47pm

      Re:

      Time Warner's lawyers should really be doing something more valuable with their billable hours than trolling Techdirt.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 6th, 2013 @ 10:53am

    If GoDaddy takes away their domain, they got what they deserved for buying from them in the first place.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 6th, 2013 @ 5:05pm

    Stiefler's mom!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2013 @ 12:33am

    Transfer all money spent on dumb litigation to customerservice. Problem solved.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Apr 8th, 2013 @ 5:05am

    You know what would be an epic win? To get in touch with them and try to fix those problems and then SPONSOR further parodies while telling people these problems are being addressed and showing how things are getting fixed.

    There's this franchise here in Brazil called Spoletto that is some sort of fast-food that sells pasta (spaghetti, lasagna and so on). A group of comedians called "Porta dos Fundos" (Backdoor in English) did a video criticizing their customer service (which is incredibly funny, the employee throws food at the customer because she's slow to decide the ingredients she wants with the pasta she ordered). The franchise got in touch with the comedians and sponsored not only one but TWO sequels, onde making fun of the same employee undergoing some sort of training to control himself and another with some sort of making of where the actor performing as the employee starts mocking his crew because they want him to throw food at the customer again.

    That's using Ms Streisand for your advantage. Time Warner is definitely doing it wrong. But it is to be expected, no?

     

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      Niall (profile), Apr 8th, 2013 @ 8:11am

      Re:

      Ah, but might not the comedians then be seen as corporate sell-outs? I suppose as long as it looked like the company was properly apologising and looking like it was improving things...

       

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        Ninja (profile), Apr 8th, 2013 @ 10:18am

        Re: Re:

        I don't think so. The second video was still making fun at the company while showing they are trying. And honestly just the fact they reached out to the guys instead of going nuclear like Time Warner earned them a lot of goodwill points. It's not like the group only does videos for the company now.

        The real verdict comes down the road. If they do this and don't change a thing they'll lose this goodwill they gained from the initiative (and maybe the comedians themselves will make fun of them again).

         

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    trish, Apr 8th, 2013 @ 9:57am

    "any human being with a few functioning brain cells should be able to tell within seconds that these guys clearly do not represent Time Warner Cable at all"
    You're making a pretty big assumption here...

     

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