Baker and McKenzie, one of the largest law firms, if not the largest law firm, in the world, have shown they do not know much about the state of PR and the blogosphere. The firm severly embarrassed themselves and their client, Infront Sports and Media, in front of 1.75 million daily visitors of Boing Boing. Good chance the embarrassment will spread to millions of others reading via the Internet and the main stream media who pick up the story via Boing Boing.
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 website … 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.
I've had my head taken off by a Chief Marketing Officer at a large law firm telling me they have no need for blogs nor to find out what they were about (mind you I was invited to the firm). Large law firms need to wake up and fast.
Actions like Baker and McKenzie's and copies of letters like this one can get spread across the world like wild fire. And it ain't only to go show up on the Internet which is bad enough. I'll be surprised if this one does not end up in The Times, the UK's daily national newspaper.
If I am a CEO or in-house counsel of a large corporation looking for a law firm I can trust with my company's affairs, I'd be looking for a firm nore cognisciant of how PR works today.
Update: Blog Herald says '…first pre-emptive cease & desist letter I think I’ve ever seen. Idiot lawyers.'