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EZ Texting, T-Mobile settle text blocking suit

EZ Texting and T-Mobile settled a lawsuit over the alleged blocking of text messages for a medical marijuana Web site.

EZ Texting's lawsuit, in which it said T-Mobile clamped down on free speech on the Internet, was set for a hearing at the U.S. District Court of he Southern District Court of New York this week.

In a statement Friday, EZ Texting -- a service that sends text message market alerts to cellphone users -- said:

"T-Mobile and EZ Texting are pleased to have reached a settlement to the lawsuit filed by EZ Texting on Friday, September 17, 2010. Although the specific terms of the settlement are confidential, EZ Texting and T-Mobile will comply with all applicable laws and mobile marketing guidelines for text message marketing campaigns offered to T-Mobile’s customers."

The case, which was highlighted by public advocacy group Public Knowledge, re-raised a question the group has presented to the Federal Communications Commission over the role of government in protecting content in text messages. The group argued in a petition to the FCC in 2007 that text messages should be regulated like telecom services, which have clear blocking rules.

"Just because this particular dispute was settled doesn't mean the FCC shouldn't act on Public Knowledge's petition," said Gigi Sohn, president of Public Knowledge. "Important, legal speech will continue to be blocked arbitrarily by wireless carriers unless and until the FCC takes text messages out of its regulatory purgatory."

By Cecilia Kang  | October 1, 2010; 4:40 PM ET
 
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