Isentia sues Meltwater claiming ‘free riding’ and breach of contract

Media monitoring firm Isentia claims competitor Meltwater Australia has been ‘free riding’ on its services as it launches Federal Court action alleging one of the San Francisco-based company’s Melbourne staffers and his wife have breached contracts for media intelligence services.

Isentia alleges Meltwater’s Shasank Mohapatra, along with his wife and associates, provided the Australian company’s print monitoring services including “Slice” and “Mediaportal” to their clients, in breach of their iSentia contract, and is seeking an injunction against them continuing that service.

Along with claiming breach of contract, Isentia also alleges Meltwater has defrauded local publishers, including News Corp Ltd and Fairfax Media, of copyright revenue and goes on to accuse its competitor of making a series of false, misleading and deceptive statements to customers in breach of the Australian Consumer Law.

Isentia, which has seen its stock price recently struggle amid rumours it may return to being a private company following its investment in King Content, claims Meltwater’s alleged contract breaches may be more extensive than Isentia has been able to identify to date, with the company claiming Meltwater has connections with an Indian organisation scraping Isentia’s content.

Sydney-based Isentia also claims Meltwater is in breach of undertakings previously given by Meltwater in 2016 after previous accusations of breaches of the terms and conditions for use of Isentia’s services.

A Meltwater company spokesperson told Mumbrella: “Meltwater is aware of these allegations. The matter is in its preliminary state and none of the allegations have been tested.

“Meltwater intends to strenuously defend the matter.

“Meltwater does not condone or promote activities such as claimed by Isentia. We greatly value our relationship with, and responsibility to, the publishers and our customers.

“As in all court proceedings, it is inappropriate to litigate the matter by press release and Meltwater will make no further comment at this time.”

Isentia is seeking urgent interlocutory injunctions restraining Meltwater’s conduct along with damages and costs and will be returning to court in Sydney on June 20.

UPDATE: This story has been amended to state Isentia sought an injunction against Shasank Mohapatra, described by Meltwater’s public relations representative as the company’s Melbourne office manager. Isentia’s media releases on the matter said they was taking action against “Meltwater’s managing director and his wife”. Meltwater’s Director for Australia and New Zealand, David Hickey, and his wife are not subject to the legal action.



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