Isracard wins lawsuit over pornographic website

Court rejects 'Top Code' lawsuit to compel Isracard to continue providing its credit card services.

Man with computer 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Thomas Peter)
Man with computer 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Thomas Peter)
Isracard’s right to cut its services to the pornographic website “Top Code” was upheld by the Tel Aviv District Court at the end of last week, the court announced on Tuesday.
It rejected Top Code’s lawsuit to compel Isracard to continue providing its credit card services.
Top Code customers had been able to use Isracard to pay for online viewing of its pornographic content on and off since 2003, and regularly since a formal contract was signed between the parties in February 2012. However, on March 17, Isracard informed Top Code that it was canceling the contract.
In further correspondence between the parties, Isracard accused Top Code of failing to fully disclose that it was a pornographic website and said it had represented itself as a social networking website.
Top Code responded that Isracard knew full well that it was a pornographic website after years of business between the parties and accused Isracard of continuing to do business with some of its pornographic competitors of Top Code.
The parties were unable to reach an agreement, and Top Code sued Isracard, demanding that the court issue an injunction to compel it to continue to provide credit card services to Top Code and its customers, lest the website’s business be suddenly and heavily damaged by an interruption in its ability to collect customer payments.
Last week, the court initially issued a temporary injunction in favor of Top Code. By Friday, however, it ruled in favor of Isracard, but not because of its innocence or lack of knowledge regarding the pornography. Rather, the court found the credit card service’s refusal to allow its employees who had had contacts with Top Code to testify, showed that it had full knowledge of the pornography.
Top Code also appears to have shown that Isracard continues to do business with other pornographic sites.
Instead, the court found that a provision of the February 2012 contract allowed for termination of the relationship with only 30 days notice, which Isracard had given.
Just as Top Code has the right to deal in its pornographic business as it wishes, Isracard has the right to decide who it wishes to contract with, and barring special considerations, said the court, it could stop doing business with Top Code even if it continued doing business with its competitors.
This decision did not infringe on the website’s right to establish a pornographic business, but instead reaffirmed the credit card service’s right to discretion in its contracting relationships.
Further, the court cited the website for bad faith in its legal submissions, stating that it had originally not submitted its full contract with Isracard to the court, glaringly omitting the provision allowing termination of the contract after 30 days notice.