Forget The Cease-and-Desist; Learn To Use The Proceed-and-Permit

from the how-to-respond-to-parody dept

There have been way too many stories over the years of humorless lawyers sending cease-and-desist letters to websites that create parodies involving their brands. Parody, of course, is protected by fair use. That's why it's at least a little refreshing to find out that there's at least one company out there that recognizes that you should respond to parody with parody. The EFF points to the way that Linden Lab, makers of Second Life, responded to a parody site called Get A First Life, by sending a "proceed-and-permit" letter (as described by the guy who created the parody site, Darren Barefoot). The text of the letter is classic, as they mockingly (in the language of a typical cease-and-desist) take offense at the idea that Barefoot would even bother to think that Second Life would dare to send him a cease-and-desist.
"Moreover, Linden Lab objects to any implication that it would employ lawyers incapable of distinguishing such obvious parody. Indeed, any competent attorney is well aware that the outcome of sending a cease-and-desist letter regarding a parody is only to draw more attention to such parody, and to invite public scorn and ridicule of the humor-impaired legal counsel. Linden Lab is well-known for having strict hiring standards, including a requirement for having a sense of humor, from which our lawyers receive no exception."
Of course, Linden Lab's lawyers aren't always so jokey, such as when the company threatened to get people arrested for highlighting their own programming flaws, or when the company opened themselves up to all sorts of legal issues by dragging real world laws into a virtual world where they don't make much sense. Still, it is nice to see a decent response in this particular case.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    JJ, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 2:05am


    Lawyers need better sense of humor. nice to find out at least some do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 5:50am

    Someone may be learning...

    how to use the Streisand Effect to their advantage. It's pretty silly to draw attention to something that you don't want to exist. So why not promote the parody, and generate some good PR at the same time?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Xiera, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 6:37am

    This is indeed brilliant. I found myself laughing at the parody and laughing even harder at the "proceed-and-permit" letter. Very well done by Linden Lab.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 7:25am

    notice how a funny and unique idea gets 1/10 the attention a stupid press release/comment gets. Just more proof that if it bleeds, it leads. Too many people are too interested in others downfalls. This is a neat story and unfortunately not many people are going to read it because bad news always gets more attention.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Elliebob Bean, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 7:41am

    getting a first life

    ROFL! I think this totally rocks! It's about time someone in this screwed-up first life got a sense of humour and actually ALLOWED fun, harmless use of this stuff. Kudos to LL for this one! :P

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Gomorrah, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 7:49am


    lol, I had no idea a site like that even existed (URL now sent to friend's ex who needs one lol).

    Finally some lawyers who can take a joke, and a company smart enough to use humour as a propoganda. The funniest are always remembered more.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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