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USALaw.com blog network uses leading law blog feeds without permission

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.

  • http://www.compensationstandards.com/home.asp Broc Romanek

    Hear! Hear!
    Broc Romanek, Editor and Blogger on TheCorporateCounsel.net

  • http://nick.usalaw.com/ Nick Carroll

    Kevin, what happened? Did you lose my email address?
    Seriously, I apologize if there is some confusion over whether or not blogs included in our multifeeds are actually part of the USALAW community. Our intention was to simply provide an easy way for those new to blogging to subscribe to some of the best legal blogs with just one click. I've removed yours, Broc's and Dennis' since you guys all raised objections, but hope that you will reconsider.
    USALAW aims to be a community not a network. We are providing free blogs to those that want something a little more professional than a Blogger account. We're not trying to pool blogs together to package advertising or anything of the sort. In fact, we sort of saw our service as a nice bridge between no blog and a LexBlog blog. For the record, if a blog doesn't look very similar to mine (http://nick.usalaw.com), then it's not part of the USALAW community.
    Along with the free blogs, we also hope to provide some nice tools for all those involved in legal blogging. Our multifeeds and soon-to-be launched Power Feeds are a good example. And, we are working on a nice feed validator that lets users know exactly what info they are and aren't passing along with their feed. Additional tools are also in the works.
    Unfortunately I'm sick as a dog and about out of gas. But, I invite anyone with any questions to please email (ncarroll@clarislaw.com) me at anytime.

  • http://www.thepracticeblog.com Jonathan

    Kevin -
    How is this different from Yahoo or Newsgator or another aggregator? Or how is it different from any one of a number of ways people may find your blog? Quite frankly, for those who run practice oriented blogs, the more exposure and the more links, the better.
    Jonathan

  • http://www.injuryboard.com Nick Carroll

    Kevin:
    Have you seen lexmonitor.com? What do you think of it, and how is it different than what usalaw.com tried to do 2.5 years ago? As I recall it was a blog aggregator like lexmonitor, though it was not running ads. Regardless, hats off to lexmonitor, because getting permission from 5000 authors must have been a bear.
    I’m not saying… I’m just saying. ;)