Baker & McKenzie vs Boing Boing

In the midst of my blawg research, I came across an interesting episode involving the law firm Baker & McKenzie and a blog called Boing Boing.

Brief introduction of the parties: Baker & McKenzie is a massive global law firm, with branches in virtually every leading legal jurisdiction. Boing Boing is a large blog, run very much like a weekly newspaper, linking to interesting stories across the internet.

Last year, in the leadup to the Fifa World Cup 2006, Baker & McKenzie issued a letter on behalf of its clients to Boing Boing as a pre-emptive warning Boing Boing to to prevent the dissemination of copyrighted video clips of the World Cup.

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Extract of the letter. The full letter is over here.

Boing Boing immediately posts its reply online. It may not be the most mature of replies, especially when it mischievously links to this story regarding the ‘saucy email shame of city lawyer‘, thus forever ‘immortalising’ Baker & McKenzie.

A google search using the terms “baker mckenzie” shows that the Boing Boing story is on the second page. More telling however, is that a google search on “baker mckenzie blog” reveals a number of blogs picking up on the Boing Boing story.

Is this a case where a firm did not take into account the nature of the blogosphere and the reaction that such a heavy-handed letter would generate. Still, there are others who theorise that the whole point of this letter was to generate added publicity on the enforcement of the World Cup copyright.

Undoubtedly though, this episode did generate negative publicity for the firm, both within the blogosphere and outside of it. I read somewhere that the The Times law section picked up on the story as well.

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