Why Can’t Lawyers Just Get With the Times?

Back in college, my minor was E-business. As part of that minor, I was required to take a “Law for E-Commerce” class. I found the class very interesting, and I learned quite a bit that I still use today. However, I would cringe whenever the Professor, also a Lawyer in Northern Virginia, would try to explain technical topics such as MP3 file sharing (still very primitive back then), the DMCA, and what laws protect things such as domain parking, among other things. I remember defending my answer on a test, in which she claimed MP3 file sharing was illegal to do on a personal level. I argued it was covered under Fair Use policy, and that no successful case that I’m aware of has successfully made it through court with a guilty conviction placed upon a single file sharer (most have been settled out of court). She argued MP3 file sharing was illegal based on the DMCA! I challenged her to show me where in the DMCA it was deemed illegal and she could not come up with a clause that supported her statement. I got an A on that test.

I came across a great article today by John Dvorak, one of my favorite technical commentators on the web. In the article, he ratifies my point that Lawyers are behind the times. He talks about the recent fiasco on Digg.com in which someone posted the cracked HD DVD key (09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63-56-88-c0), and Digg received a cease and desist to remove the article. Digg promptly removed the article, and the public Digg.com community responded furiously, with at one time the entire front page of Digg consisting of nothing but the above key. The public had spoken, and Digg decided not to censor the key any more. Funny thing is, now the key was even more popular than ever before.

Dvorak has it right – the lawyers of today just don’t get it! I’m not sure what they need to do in order to get it, but maybe hanging out with their kids or something might help. Talk to a computer geek, maybe join a social networking site or something. What lawyers thought was a simple cease and desist, something law school taught them to do, ended up being a PR nightmare for the company defending the HD DVD key. Now it is more known than ever, and there’s no going back.

As for my college professor, when I finished the class she was defending an MP3 sharing case. Oh the poor soul she was defending!

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Jesse Stay has been a pioneer in the space of social media marketing since before it was called "social media marketing". Originally a software developer, Jesse built a tool called SocialToo.com which helped brands like Pepsi, Brittany Spears, and MC Hammer grow their social media presence, and before he knew it brands were coming to him for help to grow their presence in very unique ways. His tool was featured on almost every tech blog and even mainstream news sites like New York Times, Techcrunch, and Mashable. Jesse also spent a brief period working FOR Facebook, Inc., helping them to build out their documentation to help companies integrate Facebook Connect into their websites and mobile apps. Jesse took his skills and helped the LDS Church kick off most of its social media programs. While there he helped launch the award-winning "I'm a Mormon" marketing campaign with global reach worldwide in the millions of views and followers. Jesse established new global programs at the Church to further grow its reach amongst both members and non-members of the Church, working with every department of the Church, also including entities like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Brigham Young University. He also helped the Church navigate its voice and presence during the Mitt Romney Presidential campaign due to the significant attention the Church was getting at the time. He established the social media advertising techniques and strategies employed at Deseret Digital Media growing over 20 million fans across their news properties in just 6 months, and was featured on AdWeek for his success. As founder and Principal of Stay N Alive, Jesse has developed very unique techniques in social media advertising to help organizations grow presences, within months on minimal budgets, into hundreds of thousands of highly relevant and engaging fans and followers. He designed and teaches social media advertising at LDS Business College. He has helped grow sales, and has a belief that yes, you CAN measure social! Jesse has been featured as one of 10 entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter (next to Biz Stone and Ev Williams, founders of Twitter) by Entrepreneur magazine. Jesse has written 9 books on the topic of social media marketing and development, including Google+ Marketing For Dummies and Facebook All In One For Dummies, and eats, lives, and drinks social media with a personal combined presence of over 600,000 followers on his personal social profiles.

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