Boing, Boing -- That's the Sound of Baker & McKenzie Making a Fool of Itself in the Blogosphere
You know the saying, the bigger they are, the harder they fall? Well, that maxim's playing out in the blogosphere, where a recent PR gaffe by mega law firm Baker & McKenzie is attracting lots of negative publicity for the firm. Both Kevin O'Keefe of Lex Blog and Human Law blogger Justin Patten cover the matter respectively, here and here. Here's a summary from O'Keefe's post:
"Baker and McKenzie sent a letter to Boing Boing stating that their client 'anticipates the possibility of unauthorized streaming and downloading of FIFA World Cup matches.' The letter goes on to warn that the law firm will be 'actively monitoring your Web site ... to identify unlawful activity and will, if necessary, take appropriate action to ensure the protection of Infront's rights of those licenses.'
"Mark of Boing Boing's response to the nastygram. Oh brother. I don't even know what the FIFA World Cup is. I'm guessing it's soccer, which I hate just as much as any other pro sport. Every editor at Boing Boing detests professional sports, and we would sooner stream a video of a crumpled up paper napkin in the corner of a room than show some jackasses running after a ball. The only time we would ever post anything about pro-sports would be to make fun of them. Baker & McKenzie, be on alert: henceforth, Boing Boing will be actively monitoring your website to identify dumbass activity and will, if necessary, take appropriate action to point out instances of wasting clients' money by sending out unnecessary and obnoxious warning letters."
As both O'Keefe and Patten note, Baker & McKenzie's letter is now spreading across the world like wildfire, making the firm look bad, irrespective of the merits of its position.
And in fact, Baker has at least one defender, Dave Taylor at Intuitive Life Business Blog. Taylor writes:
"Say what you like, it's hard to deny that this is actively defrauding the copyright holders and if you had just bid hundreds of millions for the broadcast and later Internet rights to a major event how would YOU work to defend those rights and ensure that you could later monetize that content[...] Maybe the letter from Baker & McKenzie was the legal equivalent of a bull in the proverbial china shop, but I am just plain disappointed that the Boing Boing people have returned fire with its daft threats back to the law firm: "Baker & McKenzie, be on alert: henceforth, Boing Boing will be actively monitoring your website to identify dumbass activity and will, if necessary, take appropriate action to point out instances of wasting clients' money by sending out unnecessary and obnoxious warning letters."
Taylor's post, however, misses the point. Baker & McKenzie may be right as rain on this issue, asserting its clients' rights may have been the legally prudent course of action. But these days, with the blogosphere around, public opinion matters as much as legal merit. Had Baker & McKenzie realized that, it might have come up with a way to defend its client's position without making a fool of itself -- and by association, its client.
Posted by Carolyn Elefant on June 5, 2006 at 06:53 PM | Permalink
| Comments (0)