VANCOUVER, Canada — Avid Life Media, the parent company running AshleyMadison.com, has filed a complaint in Canadian federal court alleging that South Korea and its communications czar have wrongfully blocked its website after its launch there in April.
AshleyMadison.com's operators, who offer an online service for married people seeking affairs, claim that the shutdown creates "an uneven market playing field in Canada in the business of communication and social networking within and among Canada's consumers within the Korean-Canadian and Asian-Canadian communities."
AshleyMadison.com operates in 30 countries as a "social network designed to connect like-minded people," according to the suit filed against the Republic of Korea and the Korea Communications Standards Commission. Parent company Avid Life is based in Canada.
Defendants "engaged in uncompetitive acts by excluding the plaintiff from South Korea, with the purpose and effect of providing an unfair advantage to Korean communications companies and social networking businesses," the suit said.
In 16 days after launching in South Korea, 50,497 people signed up for the service after hearing "significant press coverage," the suit said. But the website was later cut off by ISPs on the theory "that the website contained illegal information" because adultery is a crime in the country.
Avid Life's appeal to the Korean Communications Standards Commission was dismissed and the company's offer to overhaul the site, which it has done in other nations, was tossed.
Avid life seeks damages for loss of revenue, lost profits and an order that the South Korean government and it regulating agency stop blocking the site.