So this firm has circulated a silly C&D letter, thereby drawing attention to comments alleging that their client has a large penis? Brilliant. How many men would pay the sort of fees which Lavely demand to spread such a rumor?
The bigger challenge is, frankly, giving them something to leverage. They say that your first million dollars are the hardest to earn; harder still (heh) is your first large penis rumor posted to an online gossip site. Once he has that, nearly any guy can sign-on Lavely to spread the rumor and thereby commence the Jared-Letoesque phase of his existence.
If only all high-priced firms accomplished as much for their clients.
Implicit in this whining -- if indeed it amounts to anything more than simple whining -- is old media's recognition that its power has waned to such an extent that it can no longer realistically compete with social and new media. Certainly it maintains an advantage on most issues where its message is consistent versus a fragmented and distracted internet; where, as with the PIPA/SOPA backlash, the social and new media turn their attention to an issue and muster something like a unified voice, old media cannot hope to compete.
Their strategy is clear to both them and us: they need to employ greater subtlety. Money still talks but it needs to speak more quietly, and when the noise from the internet deafens on a sensitive issue, no reasonable amount of money will overcome it with anything like political certainty. PIPA/SOPA is probably going to be instructive, as the entrenched powers in Hollywood and Washington test the waters every so often with smaller bills, "debated" more secretly and enacted when we're not paying so much heed, building PIPA/SOPA by layers rather than in one fell swoop.
Money will be the means to accomplish old media's ends, but we can continue to fight the good fight and make this as time-consuming and expensive for them as we can. Cost them enough on this and other issues and they will be deterred in the future. There is little deterrent now -- relatively little money and effort in Washington will get them what they want -- but when those costs go up, that's when their business model will start to change.
The first Korean War was euphemistically referred-to as a "police action"; the next one can be the "patent enforcement hearing". Perhaps even "Police Action in Korea II: The Patent Enforcement Hearing (Sponsored by Hyundai and Presented in Samsung 3D)"?
As Brett Trout pointed out earlier today (see http://blawgit.com/2010/08/05/is-taco-johns-twittering-its-way-into-trademark-trouble/), a tweet from Taco John's account referencing a date of first use different (by several years) from the company's trademark registration may have jeopardized their trademark to some degree. That in addition to the issues you raise seem to make this a difficult fight if Taco John's really wants to pursue it. Perhaps they could bully the Oklahoma restaurant, but considering the negative attention this has bought thus far, why would they? Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail.
I'm frankly amazed at the nonchalant attitude that many employers seem to take when enterprise software rollouts start resulting in late payment or underpayment of wages. When you consider the penalties which rapidly accrue and the broad recovery rights for aggrieved employees under states' wage and hour laws, the diminished employee morale on which many reporters focus seems odd.
Probably because of diminished liability under those W/H laws or because of alternative resolution processes described in union agreements, the main offenders in this area, at least lately, seem to be governmental agencies. Just a few weeks back, the Wall Street Journal had a lengthy article about how Arizona State University implemented and rolled-out an Oracle system with the expectation that many payroll-related errors would occur. Essentially, they made the decision to use their employees as beta testers for their new system to troubleshoot issues as they arose. Far from being defensive about this decision, those responsible happily cited Google's working beta style of software development as their model for their Oracle implementation.
When problems and low morale resulted, what were the workarounds while IT staffers and Oracle implementers sorted things out? There was the fiscally irresponsible approach: if an employee claims that s/he should get more money, give it to him/her on the spot and revisit the issue later (maybe); this broke down as staffers simply couldn't write checks fast enough. There was the technical approach: "fix" it in the new system and try again -- an approach which at times resulted in new checks being issued for $0.00. Finally, there was the self-service approach: tell the employee that you're working on things and leave them to their own devices to make up the the short-term shortfall in their budgets, by getting loans from the employee credit union in many instances.
For a government-shielded employer like a university or a school district to take these approaches to employee wages is irresponsible from a management standpoint; if a private employer takes its cues from these high-profile implementations, severe legal consequences are the likely result.
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