A documentary-style video about Domino's Pizza has caused a supreme legal battle, with the company securing an urgent injunction to stop the footage being aired.
The pizza chain filed documents in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday, seeking an order temporarily restraining freelance journalist Phoebe Stuart-Carberry from releasing an "exclusive interview" she filmed with a Sydney IT firm locked in an intellectual property dispute with Domino's Pizza.
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Justice Robert Beech-Jones granted the order on Friday afternoon. He also ordered Ms Stuart-Carberry to produce a copy of the documentary to the court by Tuesday.
The 15-minute video features an interview with the founders of Precision Tracking, a small IT firm, which claims Domino's stole the technology used in its GPS tracking system that allows customers to follow their pizza delivery. The pizza chain vigorously denies the claims.
In emails filed in court, Ms Stuart-Carberry told Domino's she planned to set up a change.org petition on the same day as the video was released and warned the company was "in for a bumpy media ride". She also said there had been interest in the film "from the ABC and other TV stations".
Ms Stuart-Carberry, 33, told Fairfax Media she was "one girl asking Domino's a few questions" and she had "never done a documentary before". But she is also a communications professional and has worked on campaigns for not-for-profit organisations.
She funded the video herself and said she became aware of Precision Tracking's claims on Facebook, after her friend Vladimir Lasky – the firm's research and development manager – wrote a post alluding to the Domino's feud.
"I haven't been paid by anybody. Vlad is just an acquaintance," Ms Stuart-Carberry said.
She emailed the communications manager for Domino's several times seeking a response. But she also suggested she could be "helpful in liaising" with the IT firm "to arrange an acceptable settlement agreement".
"It would be better if you work things out with Precision Tracking, and pay them what they are owed for Domino's using their technology now," she said in an email dated February 9.
"The media is about to have a field day, I would get ahead of the ball in rectifying things with Precision now if I were you. I hope you have a safety harness, the communications team at Domino's is in for a bumpy media ride over this horrendous behaviour in stealing from small business. I can see the David-and-Goliath headlines coming out soon."
She said the email was not intended as a "threat at all, it's my realistic advice as a professional communicator".
Justice Beech-Jones said the case for the injunction was made out on the basis there was an arguable case of a threatened tort – or civil action – of intimidation.
"In my view, given that there is an arguable case that a tort of intimidation has been committed and, as part of that, an arguable case that there was a threat to publish false and misleading claims, that provides at least a sufficient basis for the plaintiffs to ascertain the content of the proposed documentary, if it exists, at a relatively early stage," he said.
In an email to DLA Piper, the law firm acting for Domino's, Ms Stuart-Carberry rejected suggestions she was seeking to extract money and said she "felt that my position as a journalist may have helped and I could do the introductions".
The order granted by the court is temporary and the matter will return to court on Tuesday.
In a statement, Domino's said: "As this matter is now before the courts, Domino's does not believe that it is appropriate, at this time, to make any further comment in relation to this matter."