I am pleased to inform you that Human Law is providing a series of free podcasts relating to the blogging revolution. In Part 1, we explore the forces of technology which have levelled the playing field in the world and how and why blogging has emerged.
I am grateful to Lilian Edwards for referring me to this article in the New York Times.
As Lilian highlights, the intern, Andrew McDonald got himself into a spot of bother with his company after he started blogging about his work activities.
As the New York Times writes "On the first day of his internship last year, Andrew McDonald created a Web site for himself. It never occurred to him that his bosses might not like his naming it after the company and writing in it about what went on in their office.
For Mr. McDonald, the Web log he created, "I'm a Comedy Central Intern," was merely a way to keep his friends apprised of his activities and to practice his humor writing. For Comedy Central, it was a corporate no-no — especially after it was mentioned on Gawker.com, the gossip Web site, attracting thousands of new readers."
Whilst writing, please note that Lilian' blog BlogScript has just been renamed PanGloss though at this stage, the URL address remains the same.
The philosophy of Lilian's blog is that it is "A UK-based cyberlaw blog by Lilian Edwards. Specialising in online privacy and security law, cybercrime, online intermediary law (including eBay and Google law), e-commerce, digital property and whatever captures my eye:-) With the odd tartan moment!"
The IPKat gives some prominence to this on IBC's ‘Mediation of IP Disputes’ conference which took place yesterday. Here, Judge Fysh (Patents County Court) and Professor Sir Hugh Laddie (formerly senior Judge of the Patents Court, now IP professor at UCL) highlighted the need for IP-based businesses, lawyers and judges to know more about mediation.
Judge Fysh is reported as saying: “It’s truly astonishing to think of how many people don't use or don't know what mediation is, especially when mediation is often a better option than going to court. I am firmly for mediation and I throw it under the noses of litigators but unfortunately I can't do any more than that”.
Sir Hugh is reported as agreeing with this sentiment: “I'm not sure that the judge’s hearts are in it when it comes to mediation. There is a lot of ignorance among judges at the UK Patents Court".
This is my experience of the knowledge of lawyers and business people of mediation. To read more about the post, please click here.
The problem is that last week a federal grand jury indicted Milberg Weiss, a leading american law firm for allegedly participating in a scheme that paid out more than $11 million in illegal kickbacks to plaintiffs.
As Kevin writes "That's old news. We're now beginning to see an onslaught of blog posts about the indictment from lawyers, journalists and the like.
Just look at the increase in blog posts about Milberg Weis being tracked by Technorati this last week." (These numbers have continued to rise since)
With respect to damage limitation, as Kevin writes:
If Milberg Weiss thinks they can control the PR spin with traditional press releases and responses to media inquiries, they're nuts. They need a blog to clearly communicate their position on various matters and allegations as well as to respond to reports by bloggers and journalists."
However, as Kevin writes it is extremely unlikely that Milberg Weiss will launch a blog.
"Will Milberg Weiss launch a blog? Probably not. They'll have expensive PR people working on things who do not have a clue about using blogs for damage control. They'll have traditional lawyers who will be scared to death of innovative communication tools like blogs."
Some other observations:
1 It took until 22nd May for the firm to release a press statement on its website regarding the indictment - That is an eternity on the web.
2 Generally speaking, despite being very well paid, leading PR companies are out of touch with blogging - If there is one industry that is going to be changed by blogging, it is PR.
3 With my UK hat on, in light of the fact that there are less than 20 blogs done by lawyers, you are hardly going to see the UK legal profession embracing blogging as a PR tool. The UK is light years behind the USA for law blogs.
As he writes "..now all the protocols contain the same requirement in relation to ADR. In summary these are:
a requirement for the parties to consider whether some form of ADR procedure would be more suitable than litigation;
if so, a requirement to endeavour to agree which form to adopt; and
a requirement to provide evidence that alternative means of resolving the dispute was considered.
The protocols now all confirm that the courts take the view that litigation should only be taken as a last resort, and that the court can impose costs sanctions for failure to comply."
As Sands goes on "Its success will depend on robust enforcement by the judges."
I have already posted about this amendment and believe that this is a significant way forward in minimising costs in litigation and enabling disputing parties to reach a settlement. What would be very good would be if the legislators could focus on employment law and introduce a similar type provision within the conduct of employment litigation.
A cracking book on developing understanding of how blogs are changing business is Naked Conversations.
This is written by two authors - Robert Scoble who helps run Microsoft Channel 9 website and his blog has more than 3.5 million readers each year. The other author is Shel Israel who is an expert on innovation.
If you want to spend some money in understanding the blogging revolution, this is where you need to put it.