In an unexpected twist, Warren Kremer Paino Advertising has shut its doors as a result of its run-in with blogger Lance Dutson. (UPDATE: WKPA is still alive and kicking -- this was a misunderstanding based on the MediaPost article referenced below, which stated that WKPA had "folded." Thanks, Randy.)
According to a press release titled, "Blogger Case Yields Unconditional Surrender" released just hours ago:
...Warren Kremer Paino Advertising agency voluntarily dismissed its multi-million dollar federal lawsuit against Lance Dutson, a Media Bloggers Association member targeted for the content of his blog's reporting and commentary. Gregory W. Herbert, an attorney with the international law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP, represented Dutson pro bono as lead counsel.
The decision to withdraw the lawsuit comes on the heels of a media campaign orchestrated by the Media Bloggers Association on behalf of MBA Member Lance Dutson. Hundreds of bloggers responded to the MBA's call to arms and were joined by media outlets around the world in highlighting the heavy-handed tactics of the state contractor.
MediaPost reported shortly after that WKPA had been "brought down," although the firm's site makes no such announcement. I can't help but wonder why this has happened. WKPA has a pretty extensive client list...did they all bail over Dutson's blog? (Note that we misintrepreted this statement. The agency is still in business.)
I've expounded upon this extensively elsewhere...but my thought is this: I'm not sure Dutson's claims had merit, necessarily. And while I'll defend to the death his right to post them, I believe WKPA extended every olive branch they could have. A lawsuit seemed their only option.
Hindsight being 20/20 as it is, they most certainly should have ignored Dutson from the get-go. I'm sure every agency under the sun has learned that lesson now.
This may be a victory for the bloggers, but at what cost?
Now agency bloggers like me are scared to death to defend ourselves against bloggers who speak (or blog) against us. Knowing that any action we take in our defense can echo 10,000-fold across the blogosphere, what recourse do we have? It's a conundrum for folks like me who both blog and work in the world of the suits.
WKPA has become the first fable of the blogosphere. Let it be a lesson for both sides.