Venkat Balasubramani hits one square over the firewall and argues that Tony La Russa’s legal claims against Twitter look tenuous.
I used to think I was a little bit on top of things and stuff, but, really, I just don’t know. Did I ever foresee the intersection of the concepts embracing both Tony LaRussa and Twitter? Maybe I have to just sit back, try my little-league cases and leave all this big-league stuff to you young folks, what with all that newfangled night baseball and designating hitters on the infield-tubes.
Anyway, it’s like this — evidently one of those Tweetmark infringements, or what have you:
The complaint [link] contains causes of action for: 1 trademark infringement/false designation of origin, 2 cybersquatting/ACPA violations, and 3 emotional/privacy torts. Mr. La Russa’s claims are not terribly strong for several reasons. As an initial matter, as pointed out by Mashable, the obviously fake Mr. La Russa profile only had 4 followers before it was disabled. La Russa will be hard pressed to show that any appreciable number of people were exposed to the Fake La Russa’s tweets. This doesn’t necessarily fatally undermine La Russa’s claims, but it will affect his damages if any. So what to make of the claims themselves?
Venkat, for his part, makes a nice little article out of them. [Insert baseball metaphor divided by Internet metaphor here.] He also has a couple of pieces of crackerjack advice for the Twitter nine, legal-wise:
If there’s an easy short term lesson in this whole episode for Twitter, it would be two things. First, respond to all complaints. (At least as a matter of customer service.) La Russa’s lawyer said he tried to tackle the issue with Twitter and received “no response.” Second, set up a complaint procedure (a la eBay’s VeRO). If you set up a procedure and a complainant does not avail him or herself of it, that’s your first line of defense right there. Also, a complaint procedure will bolster Twitter’s argument that it was not aware of any infringements by users and will be a potential defense against liability.
Well, it’s a nice idea, but I would assume they’re following the Microsoft / Google (i.e., Western Division) model of “customer service” when it comes to the Complaint Department, Venkat, wherein tobacco juice is considered a “response.”
Still, good eye. After all, [insert mangled baseball / social networking malapropism punchline here].
Play ball! Wi-fi!
UPDATE: I thought baseball was the one game where there were no ties?