Saturday, June 16, 2007

Lawyer Hates Free Speech and Doesn't Know the Law

One of the great things about the Internet is the rise of the "prosumer", as pointed out in this video.

Information about products and services flows freely online. In the space of 10 minutes, you can post your thoughts on a product and it can be read by 10 thousand people. I think of this as word of mouth on steroids.

There has been a big backlash against this new form of information sharing. The latest is a lawsuit filed against a lawyer-ratings service. Essentially, some (most?) lawyers don't want to follow the path the rest of the world's industries have been taking (mostly by force of course), one of consumer empowerment.

The suit claims that Avvo's methods of ranking lawyers are deceptive, however, the suit is still an attack on Avvo's right of free speech. Avvo is not publishing false statements, and it explicitly states how it ranks lawyers. There has been no allegation of Avvo manually altering rankings to slander or defame lawyers.

Essentially, these lawyers want to shut down a data aggregation service because ignorant consumers work better in conjunction with their business model.

1 Comment:

R. Mullen said...

Eh...It's not that simple, but you can be sure that by reducing this issue down to the likes of "they hate us for our freedom" you can get people to line up for the fight instead of having an intelligent conversation.

There is a legal basis for the lawsuit: the problem isn't the dissemination of data, if you read the complaint. The issue is the responsibility to get data right WHEN you encourage people to rely on it in a legal sense.

While the intentions of big firm lawyers is always suspect, both sides are composed of the same type of lawyer, so it's hardly David vs. Goliath on behalf of the little guy at work here.

Now, I have issues with the complaint too, but the dumbing down of the argument isn't helping anyone.

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