October 16, 2001 12:46pm
ENI Says Tampa Tries End-Run In Voyeurdorm.Com Lawsuit
Source: Entertainment Network, Inc.
by: Company Press Release
(TAMPA, FL) -- Attorneys for Entertainment Network, Inc., which won a landmark ruling from the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals that blocked the City of Tampa from subjecting VoyeurDorm.com to zoning regulations, say an attempt by the city to overturn the decision is a "ridiculous, last ditch end-run based on sexual innuendo" that does not merit a formal response.
ENI's attorneys, Luke Lirot and Mark Dolan, said the city government last week filed a motion for rehearing of the case by the full circuit court en banc. The city wants to overturn a unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the court that concluded that as a business, VoyeurDorm.com has no impact on its adjoining neighbors and exists only in cyberspace and as such, is not an adult use under the city zoning laws.
Webcams at the dorm in West Tampa broadcast every aspect of the lives of a group of college coeds over the Internet, 24 hours a day seven days a week. The city wants to regulate the dorm as an adult business since the transmissions sometimes offer glimpses of the women in the nude as they shower or dress. The court of appeals ruled last month that since customers do not visit the dorm for business purposes and no money changes hands it couldn't be regulated.
"There is no justification for the city's ridiculous, last ditch end-run based on sexual innuendo to overturn the court's decision," said Mr. Lirot. "I'm surprised the city would continue to beat this dead horse and waste precious resources. We are under no obligation even to respond to this motion unless the court needs further clarification."
Mr. Lirot said the court could take several weeks to decide whether or not to rehear the case. The first step is for the original three-judge panel to decide if there is merit to the city's argument. Mr. Dolan said that the city is basing its appeal on the fact that some residents of the dorm in West Tampa were occasionally visited by friends who also were subscribers. "To say that occasional social visitors make the dorm a business establishment is like saying your home is a restaurant because you invite friends to your patio for barbeque." said Mr. Dolan.
"The entire Internet world and anyone who utilizes the Internet for any form of commerce or business has benefited from the original decision of the judges and we're confident that the court will not be fooled by the moralistic concerns of city bureaucrats who shouldn't be raising them in the first place," said David Marshlack, chief executive of ENI, which operates the dorm.
Tampa-based Entertainment Network, Inc. is a leading supplier of content for the Internet. In addition to Websites that reach consumers directly, ENI operates Web hosting and development companies, including Neutelligent, Inc. and Yseek, Inc. (OTCBB: YSEK).
Contact for more information or interviews with David Marshlack, or attorneys Dolan or Lirot: Ellie Reeve, 212-338-0050
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