Tyger Shark Has Threatened Legal Action Against Benevolent Community and Charity Service
And all because of a five-year-old community video they clearly worked on with us and now claim they know nothing about . . . hmmm.
Bullying is frowned upon by our culture, and with very good reason. We teach children not to pick on other kids, especially the weaker or smaller, and most people treat those who abuse others as cowards. We know now that those abusive children often lash out due to fear as perhaps that is all they know at home.
Regardless, you need look no further than the world’s reaction to Trump’s public mockery of a disabled reporter to see the level of disgust this kind of action can generate. The same is true for companies that use abusive legal actions to legally steal what they want.
Sadly, the childhood lessons are lost on some, and as they grow into ‘adults’ some people continue to act like the schoolyard goon who pushes other kids around until they give him their lunch money. Sadly, one local business has chosen to pick a fight with our community and charity supporting social enterprise, and they are about to learn that we are the kid who when pushed pushes back.
It is likely because we give so much to the community and charities that we seemed like an easy target.
Canadians are known worldwide for being ‘nice’, and we are not generally believed to be a very litigious nation. However, new studies and our own recent experience here at Five Points Media would strongly suggest much is changing. It would seem that some of our not so nice business owners and managers are turning to a Trump-like philosophy when dealing with competitors, when trying to conceal their own bad behaviour, and even when dealing with tiny issues such as an old video being left on YouTube for a day or two longer than somebody wanted. Our current drama appears to be the result of a tantrum being thrown by a ‘baby shark’ who is not getting what he wants as fast as he demands it.
Unlike many, we don’t yield to threats from bullies.
Tyger Shark is a well-known and reasonably prominent Barrie website design company. On Friday, July 5th, 2019, they officially served us by email with a notice of their intent to file legal action against the owners of Five Points Media regarding one of 36 videos our commercial division, 3B Solutions, donated to the local business community back in 2014, before we opened our benevolent charity and community channel. A true copy of that letter can be found here.
Apparently, it is true that no good deed goes unpunished.
Above is the original video that Tyger Shark is demanding be taken off our YouTube channel and website at our expense.
When assessing the validity of their claims, keep in mind that Tyger Shark is a company that specializes in web design and online promotion. Also, according to their own online content, brand control certainly appears to be one of the pillars of the Tyger Shark business philosophy.
However, now they are claiming in legal correspondence to have just discovered on our YouTube channel a nearly five-year-old video about their company, regarding which they have now claimed in writing through a lawyer that they did not consent to being produced. They have also threatened our not-profit-motivated social enterprise with legal action, including an injunction, a demand for damages, and costs if we do not comply with their demands.
These claims would lead most rational people to conclude that either Tyger Shark does not possess the professed professional level of brand control, or that their claim of pending civil action is less than legitimate.
We believe it is the latter,and we say simply
'prove your claim'
Above is a true copy of the voicemail left for us by ‘Tyler from Tyger Shark’.
On the morning of Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019, a man who identified himself on the phone as ‘Tyler from Tyger Shark’ called our Producer, John Ironside, and demanded that a video we produced in 2014 be immediately removed from our YouTube channel. We cannot say with certainty who the caller was, but online research shows that the owner and one of the creators of Tyger Shark is named Tyler Murray.
Our Producer was a bit confused by the suddenness and apparent urgency of the caller’s demands. It is easy to understand that after producing hundreds of corporate and community videos, the philanthropic media specialist could not place in his mind which one video on our channel the caller was complaining about. Simply put, John has produced so many videos that he has donated to our community and charities that he just couldn’t remember ever working with Tyger Shark, nor any details of the video in question. So, he said he would look into it.
Immediately thereafter, ‘Tyler from Tyger Shark’ called back and left the following message on the voicemail for Five Points Media, a registered community news service in Barrie, the full content of which can be found on this page and on our YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/4vDv0_yBREA
This message was left on the voicemail system that identifies itself as belonging to a media company, so there is no expectation of privacy.
“Hey John, it’s Tyler calling back from Tyger Shark. Um, well, that didn’t necessarily go the right way. Uh, listen, we don’t do business with anybody in Barrie anymore. Um, there’s thousands of companies in Barrie that we don’t work with. Uh, we don’t even work with any small businesses anymore. In fact, we sold them all. Um, so I’m not really sure what the problem is and why you’re so offended that we haven’t done business with you . . . um, sounds like its pretty personal and you’re really sensitive over the topic. If you don’t want to take the video down that fine. I really don’t give a fuck.”
Maybe we are a bit old-school when it comes to manners, but we are not so inclined to do favours for people who curse at us after making statements that could suggest they feel they are too good for our town. That is, after all, what ‘Tyler from Tyger Shark’ was asking for: a favour. We also find it straight up offensive for any local business to flat out refuse to work with other local businesses in the city that helped build their business to a point where its owners clearly feel they no longer need us small town yokels. Also, we find this kind of tirade to be reminiscent of the rich boy who was given everything he wanted who leaves home with the millions of dollars he took from his parents and then only acknowledges their existence when he wants more money.
We were raised right, and we know the value of respect, which was not being shown by ‘Tyler from Tyger Shark’ in this message.
John went through our website and realised that the video, originally created by our commercial division as a donation to the Barrie Chamber of Commerce, was linked to our website content. So, the deletion of the video from our YouTube channel would require that we hire a coder to delete the references and ensure the website still looks professional. For this reason, we did not jump through hoops or snap our heels to comply with what we feel have now become unreasonable demands about a video that has been online longer than several very popular social media platforms.
We have included the video here, and it can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJdLZoKrzww
On the morning of Wednesday, July 3rd we received a polite email from the Barrie Chamber of Commerce, to whom we had donated our production services in the creation of the Tyger Shark video in 2014. They stated that they would appreciate if we could comply with the demands made upon us by ‘Tyler from Tyger Shark’, but again nobody seemed to understand that we would have to pay out our money to fix the hole in our online content that would result from us doing that favour.
We also then did a search of ‘Tyger Shark’ and ‘TygerShark’ in the Chamber’s online directory and the result came back as ‘http://barriechamber.chambermaster.com/list/search?q=Tyger+Shark&c=&sa=False’ We could be wrong, but it does not appear from the results we saw that Tyger Shark even feels it necessary to even pretend any longer to be part of the local business community, as the system at the Barrie Chamber of Commerce would suggest they are no longer members, yet we are.
In fact, the Chamber server came back with the message
"Sorry, there are no members that meet the specified search criteria."
The drama then continued to a follow-up email from the Chamber on Friday, July 5th, 2019, in which the Chamber explained as follows: “We had a recent member request come through to have a video you did for us removed from YouTube. They have had some major staffing changes and now one of the members is now their direct competitor and therefore is posing them a conflict of interest.”
We certainly understood that reasoning and could have negotiated with Tyger Shark, a website design company, to assign one of their coders to fix the holes that their request would have made in our website. Despite the rudeness of their call and unsolicited derogatory comments about the City of Barrie, we were leaning toward helping them. Then John received an email from Andrew K. Zyp of the Barrie law firm of Stewart Esten LLP, Barristers - Solicitors who identified themselves as representing Tyger Shark.
The funny thing is, we thought Tyger Shark didn’t work with any Barrie businesses 😉
“We act for Tyger Shark Inc. Our client has become aware of video footage of the principals of the company, as well as the use of their logo in the above referenced Youtube video, for use in association with your brand and Youtube channel. Our client has not consented to this use and demands that you immediately take down the video as it breaches several areas of the law including misappropriation of personality, copyright and trademark infringement. Should you not remove the video within 5 business days, our client has instructed us to take further legal action, including seeking injunctive relief, damages, and costs.” That full letter can be found here.
So, in our ‘defence’, we ask you to take a look at the video we have included here, that remains posted on our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJdLZoKrzww. In it, you will see that the then owners of Tyger Shark, who claim they had just ‘become aware’ of the video, both sat down with our producer, John Ironside, for an interview, including Tyler Murray. Also, according to emails from the time, and as can be seen in the video raw footage, the Tyger Shark owners invited our crew to wander around their facility taking shots of their staff at work. Honestly, how could these online branding professionals have just now ‘become aware’ of our video five years after they cooperated in its production?
Is this likely to represent legitimate litigation, or is it simply a threat by people who never learned to play nice?
At the time of the production, five years ago, Tyger Shark also emailed to our team their logo for use in that video, the original of which we easily recovered from the archives. The owners of Tyger Shark also approved for the video to be shown at an awards ceremony, where according to the Chamber of Commerce website at http://barriechamber.com/member-blog/congratulations-to-the-2014-barrie-business-award-recipients, they did not win the award for which they had been nominated.
The donated video has also been online for about five years, which can be easily confirmed.
Regardless, their lawyer claims:
“Our client has not consented to this use and demands that you immediately take down the video as it breaches several areas of the law including misappropriation of personality, copyright and trademark infringement.”
Then Andrew K. Zyp of Stewart Esten LLP, Barristers – Solicitors goes on to threaten:
“Should you not remove the video within 5 business days, our client has instructed us to take further legal action, including seeking injunctive relief, damages, and costs.”
We were not going to identify Tyger Shark or the identity of the caller, but then we realised the attitude expressed by ‘Tyler from Tyger Shark’ on the phone is antithetical to the principles of Five Points Media and The City of Barrie Network. All ‘anti-local’ businesses should be shown for what they are so true local business owners who care about our city will come to understand the need for our local-only network through which Barrie businesses can support other non-competing local businesses and in return be promoted themselves, and all at no additional cost while enjoying the lowest rates for local advertising.
It is also our hope that our readers will come to understand the damage this kind of proposed abuse of the civil court system could have upon the image of any business.
Five Points Media is a not-profit-motivated social enterprise that donates all profits to three local charities that change each year. We also do not charge charities or benevolent community groups for the videos we produce to help them raise necessary and often life-saving funds. Our crew has been credited with helping raise awareness for dozens of charities and community groups, and also for raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in essential donations.
For more information, please visit http://www.fivepointsmedia.ca/testimonials.html
Regardless of these most recent threats as relayed by Andrew K. Zyp of Stewart Esten LLP, Barristers - Solicitors, ‘Tyler from Tyger Shark’ said on Tuesday ‘If you don’t want to take the video down that’s fine. I really don’t give a fuck’. To us that sounds like consent, redundant as it is five years after the fact. However, when we did not heed his own contradicted commands immediately, he hired lawyers to threaten us if we did not comply with his original demands.
This all happened in less than four days.
We don’t actually see this going anywhere. As we are a registered media source, we will be exercising our right to post all documents here shortly if the aggressors are in fact driven by blind ego rather than good sense. We see the threat as frivolous, the claim as nonsensical, and the actions to be those of somebody who simply does not like to be told ‘no’ or ‘mind your manners’. John essentially said as much in his response to the threat, sent on Friday, July 5th, in which he called on Tyger Shark to essentially put up or shut up.
So far . . . crickets.
Does this kind of action help the image of Tyger Shark? Would you want your business to be known as one that will file obvious vacuous threats against a not-profit-motivated social enterprise that donates its services to just about anybody who asks? We don’t see how it can. This kind of legal bullying should also never be the first choice of action by lawyers like Andrew K. Zyp, who accredits himself on his webpage with membership in Mensa. Law firms like Stewart Esten LLP, Barristers - Solicitors should try to use an olive branch before reaching for a metaphorical sword. Usually such action is an act of anger or desperation, and the only winners are the lawyers who rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars by pumping their clients to fight, to file new actions, and to win the case at any cost.
This philosophy often accomplishes nothing but mutually assured destruction, commonly known as MAD.
Several years ago, our Producer successfully defended against a false claim made against him by a private investigations company he had worked for that had defrauded him and hundreds of other employees by misrepresenting their status in order to avoid paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime. That company hired nine lawyers from three Bay Street law firms to fight a self-represented legal nobody, and they lost in all three courts where arguments were heard. Those multiple rulings were not because John was any kind of lawyer.
He won virtually every motion and defeated every demand made by the company because he had the evidence and he could show the attacking company was lying.
Although they clearly thought John would yield to their threats, that battle lasted for nearly three years. It cost that company by their own admission about $400,000.00 in legal fees while causing them to lose about half a million in lost business. As will be the case in this matter, should it proceed, our Producer used the power of the Internet to tell the truth of what the company and their lawyers were doing. That exposure resulted in one upwardly mobile lawyer to suddenly disappear from a prestigious law firm and then another leaving a second firm out of disgrace. The business ultimately folded, and was consumed by a competitor, and the owner lost everything including their rather expensive real estate in the Beaches area of Toronto.
A well timed offer of a cup of coffee and reasonable compensation would have ended that matter in minutes, but the owners thought they could bully their way out of their own bad behaviour, and the lawyers were happy to milk them for every billable hour.
Barrie is not a huge community, and we don’t need businesses spilling blood in civil court that could have been avoided through pleasant conversation and good old-fashioned manners. All fighting does is drain both parties, and leave them open to further attacks by outside influences. Our local Barrie and area businesses should focus their energies on working together to fight common concerns like the multiple big box and chain stores that are opening everywhere and draining our local economy of the money that should stay here and boost our local businesses.
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Article written by: John Ironside
Owner, Publisher, Producer, and Chief Petter of Dogs
Five Points Media