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PeopleBrowsr Claims “Twitter Changed Position On Eve Of Discovery” Over Federal Jurisdiction Request

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Tonight, PeopleBrowsr, the company that filed a restraining order against Twitter to keep a hold of its firehose of data after Twitter decided to end the deal it had in place with them, came out to discuss the latest in its case.

PeopleBrowsr says that “Twitter changed its position”, and shared this as background:

Twitter filed a ‘Notice of Removal’ to Federal Court on the eve of the December 4 discovery hearing, claiming this is a federal antitrust case and should be decided in Federal Court.

There was to be a hearing over deposing Twitter Co-Founder Evan Williams and the discovery of documents relating to Twitter policy on the Firehose. The companies had agreed that Doug Williams, Twitter’s Head of Business Development; Kelton Lynn, Twitter’s Head of Mobile Business Development; Jodee Rich, Founder and CEO of PeopleBrowsr; and Bob Harris, Professor Emeritus of the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and a Twitter antitrust expert would be deposed over the coming weeks.

We’re told that a discovery motion from PeopleBrowsr was denied last week, so this appears to be yet another maneuver to keep things as they are, even if Twitter is ready to move on. That might happen quickly, since Twitter has asked for that federal jurisdiction due to PeopleBrowsr’s claims of “antri-trust behavior,” which would void the current restraining order. This is a move that makes complete sense on Twitter’s part.

As we noted last week, this whole thing is getting extremely messy, with CEO Jodee Rich leading the way. He said:

Twitter’s inconsistent representations to the State and Federal Courts reinforce our case. Last week, they said this was a contracts issue. This week, it’s an antitrust issue.

Twitter gave us a statement on this, which mirrors what the company said last week:

We believe this case is without merit and will vigorously defend against it.

PeopleBrowsr continues to contend that it is merely fighting for continued access to the firehose, even though Twitter has suggested that they go through a re-seller such as Gnip for the data, and that the contract was ended in accordance to the contract:

This could end quickly or it could draw out much longer. We’ll have to wait and see what happens next regarding the federal jurisdiction request. To me, it sounds like Twitter called PeopleBrowsr’s bluff with its initial legal actions.

[Photo credit: Flickr]