Boing Boing Battles MagicJack, Transparency Wins
Our friends at Boing Boing are embroiled in a legal fracas with MagicJack, a company that makes a little eponymous gadget that lets you make phone...
Our friends at Boing Boing are embroiled in a legal fracas with MagicJack, a company that makes a little eponymous gadget that lets you make phone calls over the internet.Here's the abridged story: In April of 2008, Boing Boing's Rob Beschizza wrote a post that raised some concerns about the agreement customers had to sign to use a MagicJack. He wrote that the agreement (which wasn't very easy to find in the first place) gave MagicJack the right to use information about customers' calls to target ads at them, and had them sign away the right to sue MagicJack in court. It's a considerably shadier-than-average user agreement.MagicJack filed suit in an effort to get Boing Boing to shut up, but Boing Boing fought the case, and won. Then MagicJack tried to get Boing Boing to keep the legal dispute itself a secret. Boing Boing refused, and there's a long and fascinating post on their site detailing the whole story.In it, Beschizza writes:
At several points in the process, we could have taken a check and walked away: as it is, the award doesn't quite cover our costs. But we don't like being bullied, and we wanted the chance to tell anyone else threatened by this company what to expect.The Boingers have found themselves in situations like this before. They're a prominent blog and they like shining light on shady stuff. They also have a track record of not backing down when faced with legal intimidation, even though there'd be nothing easier (and cheaper) than editing a post and leaving the whole mess behind.And that illustrates an important point. It doesn't matter whether you're dealing with old media or new media or print or whatever. The important thing is having media sources who ultimately prize information and integrity over money when push comes to shove.Boing Boing calls itself a "directory of wonderful things." For me, the posts like this that bring total transparency to these legal shenanigans are the most wonderful things in it.