Friday, April 25, 2008

Why we're trying to join the Media Bloggers Association!

Tansi/Good Day Folks:

A very special thank you to one of our eagle-eyed readers who spotted this article and anonymously passed it along. Fascinating!

New Rochelle, New York based MEDIA BLOGGERS Association ( is a highly organized, sophisticated operation representing several thousand American Bloggers throughout the United States. It's mission statement:

(1) Promoting its members by advancing the grassroots media movement generally, showcasing exemplary instances of media blogging and citizen journalism, making members available for media appearances, and otherwise creating promotional opportunities for the MBA and its members.

(2) Protecting members by defending the rights of bloggers and citizen journalists generally, providing first-line legal advice to members, and partnering with organizations dedicated to promoting values enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
(3) Educating its members through mutual support and robust internal discussion, by partnering with organizations dedicated to education in the area of technology, methods and standards and otherwise creating educational opportunities for the MBA and its members

MBA President Robert Cox

MBA General Legal Counsel Ronald D. Coleman

Hoffman Polland & Furman PLLC - New York (Profile) (His Work) (Blog) (Blog)

When you read the article below, you'll understand why we'd like so much to become a member even though it's for American Bloggers. We're hoping the MBA will find the Canadian taxpayer funded Manitoba Metis Federation's defamation lawsuit against and the bigger issue of Bloggers' rights it raises worthy of it's consideration. If we can't join perhaps the Association will allow us to post articles to their homepage. We'll also request an exchange of links.

Shortly we'll be posting our MBA letter.


Clare L. Pieuk
Winners And Losers In blogger Defamation Lawsuits
Full text: Visit links ( and the Nashville, Tennessee city newspaper he works for report that Katherine Coble has reached an agreement ( with J.L. Kirk in its threatened defamation lawsuit. I predicted this last week, but it didn’t take clairvoyance to figure out that J.L. Kirk had heedlessly kicked a hornets’ nest in response to one sting.

The obvious loser here is J.L. Kirk & Associates. As Brittney Gilbert of Nashville is Talking

( noted this previously unknown firm launched itself into newspaper headlines and the top ten of Technorati’s blog searches when it sent Coble the demand takedown letter. But it is more interesting to note the winners in this chain of events. The most obvious winner, I think, is not Katherine Coble, but the Media Bloggers Association. Certainly, Coble has been vindicated in her cogent critique of the executive placement firm’s policies. But the Media Bloggers Association ( members arranged ( for New York attorney Ron Coleman to represent Coble pro bono and helped draw the large publicity to the case. The Media Bloggers Association has been riding high lately, coming off the victorious settlement in the Main Web Report lawsuit ( and securing media credentials ( for its bloggers for the Lewis Libby trial, a first in the history of blogging. This case is is a quick, effective victory for Media Bloggers and their cause.

The other winners in this situation are American consumers. If citizen bloggers were discouraged from publishing non-defamatory criticisms of business or service providers by the threat of spurious lawsuits, there would be less information available for consumers to make an informed decision. Katherine Coble cited this as the major reason for her initial post

( about J.L. Kirk — she and her husband had been unable to find any online information on the firm, and she wanted other potential clients of the firm to be aware of what they would experience.

The only question left in my mind is whether King & Ballow (, the law firm representing J.L. Kirk, is a winner or loser in this case. On the one hand, King & Ballow and J.L. Kirk eventually backed down under the firestorm of public criticism. On the other hand, at teh end of the day, King & Ballow got a paycheck for its role in the case. This raises the same issues as the Lance Dutson litigation ( a law firm have a duty to discourage its clients from pursuing heavy-handed tactics against private citizens (such as bloggers) when the suits have little legal basis? In the case of Lance Dutson, the law firm of Preti, Flaherty, Beliveau, Pachios & Haley ( sued blogger Dutson on behalf of its client, Warren Paino Kremer Advertising. The result in that case was even more adverse for the advertising firm when Dutson counter-sued and achieved national media coverage. But in both situations, should the law firm have advised its client not to take legal action?

King & Ballow may have come out on top in this case, or at the very least didn’t it didn’t wind up a loser. However, firms like this need to realize that suing (or threatening to sue) a blogger could run counter to is clients’ interests. Of course, I wasn’t privy to King & Ballow’s discussions with J.L. Kirl; K&B may have warned J.L. Kirk of the potential backlash. But in a world where every citizen can harness the power of the Internet, law firms will have to advise clients accordingly or they will indeed end up the losers.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lets hope
claire, lets hope... keep up the gusto... with you all the way...


2:59 PM  

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