Listen! Encana conference call (warning, executive profanity) 19 Seconds, February 15, 2013
Listens as of 9:32 PM October 4, 2014: 61,057
Listens as of 11:07 AM, February 22, 2013: 48,244
Listens as of 9:50 PM February 21, 2013: 34,755
Ewart: Encana fumbles over Internet follies by Stephen Ewart, February 22, 2013, Calgary Herald
A week after Encana had to apologize when one of its executives swore during a conference call with industry analysts, the company was roundly mocked on social media Thursday when it tried to have the embarrassing audio removed from the Internet. Radio host Buzz Bishop tweeted: “Dear Encana: Good luck with the whole ‘deleting things from the Internet’, Love ScarJo’s topless selfies.” “Apparently Encana’s lawyers and executives are unclear on the concept of the Internet and the limits to their authority. Shocking,” someone named Jack Troughton tweeted. “Um, Encana have you thought this strategy through?” asked Popehat. If the company’s strategy was to have the offending voice clip go viral on social media after the initial publicity from the 19 seconds of audio had died down then it worked to perfection.
As of Thursday it had been replayed more than 16,000 times. In the Twitterverse, it generated a lot of LOLs, OMGs and WTFs. … And just like actress Scarlett Johansson with her infamous topless self photos, Encana is also well aware it has little chance of succeeding in having the audio clip entirely removed from the web. It should also remember reputation management is conducted in the court of public opinion far more than the legal system. I have no idea who Jack Troughton or, especially, Popehat are, but when Encana decided to get that audio wiped out it might have heeded the advice of former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir when she said: “One cannot and must not try to erase the past simply because it does not fit the present.” If one could simply go back and erase history, there is a far more significant conference call – May 11, 2008, when Encana first announced it would divest all its oil assets and split into two companies. Given the low price of natural gas since the spinoff of Cenovus Energy, that’s a moment in time the Encana brass might prefer to erase.
In the bigger scheme of things, a few cuss words are hardly unheard in the oilpatch, but in the politically correct modern business world it’s an embarrassment. Encana immediately apologized for the rogue comment, but the audio clip was posted on Chirbit by a reporter at the Globe and Mail and the world heard a microphone pick up a male voice call an analyst a “f—ing a-hole” after a question about a potential takeover. The question was answered with a “no” by interim chief executive Clayton Woitas before someone uttered the obscenity. Encana hasn’t said who made the comment and there were about 20 executives in the room to discuss year-end financial and operating results.
On Wednesday, Encana’s lawyers asked Chirbit to delete the clip. “It was expressly stated at the outset of the conference call that ‘this conference call may not be recorded or rebroadcast without the express consent of Encana’,” the letter said. “The unauthorized use of this recording clearly constitutes copyright infringement. …
Encana views this matter extremely seriously and requests that you respond to the undersigned on or before the close of business on Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, failing which, Encana will have no other recourse but to take all actions as may be available to it to protect its proprietary rights.”
Encana spokesman Jay Averill acknowledges the efforts to remove the clip from Chirbit’s site extended the life of the story through another news cycle but said the company decided it did not want “a clip like that to circulate around the Internet for years. We know very well we can’t erase everything on the Internet,” he said.
Averill said Encana respects the media’s right to do its job and has no plans to restrict access to conference calls or company executives. He said Encana wants to close the book on the incident and get back to its focus of producing oil and gas. It is also continuing its search for a new chief executive in the wake of Randy Eresman’s sudden retirement in January from Canada’s largest gas producer.
Woitas, who is on Encana’s board of directors, has said he has no intention of leading the company full-time and is part of the search for the new CEO. When he left Renaissance Energy to start a private company a decade ago he vowed never to run a public company again as he preferred to simply execute on the business plan. Given the hubbub created in the past week over one misspoken remark, it’s likely that feeling is stronger than ever as he searches for his replacement. [Emphasis added]
Encana wants embarrassing audio file erased from Internet by Nathan Vanderklippe, February 21, 2013, The Globe and Mail
A lawyer for Encana Corp. is demanding the deletion of an Internet posting containing audio of an Encana executive swearing. On Feb. 14, during a quarterly results conference call, microphones caught someone – Encana has not said who – muttering an angry expletive. The audible whisper followed a question from Canaccord Genuity analyst Phil Skolnick, who asked: “But in terms of new investment guidelines which were updated, do you think that prohibits a company like Encana from being acquired?” The question was taken by chief executive Clayton Woitas, who answered: “The answer would be no.” Someone then muttered an obscenity, ostensibly at Mr. Skolnick.
A Globe and Mail reporter posted a 19-second audio file of the question and answer to Chirbit, a YouTube-like web site for audio sharing. The Encana clip has now been played more than 16,000 times, as the link was passed through the corporate towers of downtown Calgary and beyond.
Encana apologized after the conference call. The swearing does not appear in a transcript of the call, nor in a company replay of the audio. The company now wants the clip off the Internet, too. On Thursday, Chirbit founder Ivan Reyes said he has received a takedown request from Encana. Mr. Reyes has declined, citing fair use provisions in copyright law and a site policy directing that such requests be sent to the poster of audio.
Encana, in its request, says: “Encana is the copyright owner of the Recording. It was expressly stated at the outset of the Conference Call that ‘this conference call may not be recorded or rebroadcast without the express consent of Encana Corporation’,” the letter states.
“The Recording has been posted without Encana’s consent. The unauthorized use of this Recording clearly constitutes copyright infringement. … Encana views this matter extremely seriously and requests that you respond to the undersigned on or before the close of business on Friday, February 22, 2013, failing which, Encana will have no other recourse but to take all actions as may be available to it to protect its proprietary rights.”
Journalists regularly record conference calls to ensure accuracy in reporting. In a statement sent to The Globe, Encana spokesman Jay Averill said it’s reasonable for Encana to want it gone. “I think any individual or organization that has something embarrassing broadcast over the web without proper permissions would make any attempt to have that content eventually removed as, understandably, we do not wish to have that clip living on in perpetuity on the web,” he said. [Emphasis added]
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