Claris, a long time player in Internet marketing for personal injury lawyers, has bought the domain name USALaw.com and started a law blog feed aggregator.

Without asking leading law blog publishers, blog feed excerpts from their blogs were included in the aggregator. After including the leading blogs, USALaw.com invited other law blog publishers to submit a request to have their blog feeds included in the aggregator. Makes it look like the leading law blog publishers accepted an invite. I did not get an invite and neither did another leading law blog publisher whose feeds are also included.

Though a law blog aggregator may be commendable in certain circumstances and Nick Carrol of USAlaw.com appears to be a pretty good guy, I feel violated in not being asked if I want my blog feeds included in their aggregator, presumably for commercial gain. I have talked with another leading law blogger who feels the same way.

Had they asked permission, I would have asked questions as to Claris' commercial goals. I probably would have waited to see what how the aggregator developed and was received by other law blog publishers.

The fair use doctrine may provide protection to USAlaw.com, more so if they were just displaying titles and not blog excerpts. However, it feels like lawyers are being duped when they are invited to include their blog feeds in a USAlaw.com blog network pre-populated with leading law blog feeds. Lawyers publishing blogs would believe all the other law blogs requested to be included or at least gave USALaw.com permission to include their feed. Presumably, they would then want to jump in.

I do not not want to be part of anything that would dupe lawyers publishing good blogs to join the network. Under these circumstances, I am going to give some thought as to asking that my feeds not be included.

I welcome the comments and blog postings of other lawyers.