VentraIP, TV Central in ceasefire

Television blog TV Central will not resume publishing operations in the aftermath of a failed server migration that wiped the site's entire content history. The failed migration triggered a war of words between TV Central's owner and the data-hosting provider VentraIP, which finally came to a head today.

Television blog TV Central will not resume publishing operations in the aftermath of a failed server migration that wiped the site's entire content history. The failed migration triggered a war of words between TV Central's owner and the data-hosting provider VentraIP, which finally came to a head today.

Fight

(Fight Club image by Polina Sergeeva, CC2.0)

The saga began after TV Central had its database wiped in a server migration last week, with no back-ups to bring the site back online. At the time, site owner and editor Aaron Ryan likened the data loss to the death of his sister.

"Not since the death of my sister back in 1997 have I been dealt such a blow. Every ounce of passion goes into the site, and this is heartbreaking," Ryan told Mumbrella.

Ryan pointed the blame squarely at his hosting provider, VentraIP. However, Cheyne Jonstone, CEO of VentraIP, said that Ryan had consistently ignored warnings that as per company policy, his data was no longer being routinely backed up by the host, due to size restrictions.

"As always, every story has two sides, and the unfortunate situation in this story is that it is simply a case of a client not taking appropriate action when prompted," Jonstone said in a statement, adding that the company would make no further statements about the matter.

Ryan, however, continued to make legal threats against VentraIP in the public domain, leading VentraIP to break its self-imposed silence today. Jonstone released a follow-up statement, saying that he'd sent a cease and desist letter to Ryan, and is considering taking the matter to the Victorian Supreme Court.

"Further correspondence continued from Mr Ryan, even after we had informed him that he would now need to deal directly with our general counsel. When he refused to deal with general counsel, a letter was prepared and sent to him late Friday afternoon, which informed him that we are considering exercising our right to apply to the Supreme Court of Victoria for injunctive relief and to seek damages, as it was clear he had sought to damage our brand and reputation based upon false and deceiving accounts of an incident of his own making."

A copy of the letter sent to Ryan, obtained by ZDNet Australia, reveals that VentraIP would seek $150,000 plus costs for damages to business reputation and brand name, unless Ryan complies with the company's terms.

The terms include a scenario where Ryan would give consent to make correspondence between Ryan and the hosting provider public, and also to release a statement that indemnifies VentraIP.

VentraIP also informed Ryan that Supreme Court representation costs could exceed $30,000.

Ryan has since withdrawn his threats of legal action, causing VentraIP to do the same.

"We are pleased to see that Mr Ryan has finally accepted responsibility for his actions, and that he no longer intends to pursue VentraIP in any legal action. As a result, we have decided not to proceed with our application for injunctive relief and damages, as we would like to draw a close to this matter, as I believe it is the best thing for both parties," Jonstone said in a statement today.

Ryan told ZDNet Australia, however, that just because he has withdrawn legal action, doesn't mean that he accepts responsibility.

The server-migration issues and lack of a back-up means that TV Central will no longer publish new content.

The site now bears a farewell message from Ryan:

TV Central will not be returning in the short or medium term at all. An agonising decision to fold the site after the recent data loss was not made easy. For readers that have followed me over the years, they will know how passionate I am about television. The real dream for me is programming, scheduling and formats, and not so much being a blogger or journalist. TV Central and other ventures I have been involved with are ways to express my dream, not live them. So now it is time to invest in my future, and apply for programming positions around Australia and see how I go.

Who knows what the future will bring. I have opportunities to write perhaps a weekly blog somewhere, and will let you know via here. This page will be up until the end of April. Please feel free to send me email and comments through the contact card on this website.

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