Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

This is Why You Should Never Listen to Lawyers: People have always said nasty things about corporations, particularly former employees. In the past, they said them to friends and family, or after one too many in the neighborhood bar. Now they say them on the Internet in chat rooms. Sometimes the things they say are pretty mean and hurful, and mostly the listeners take them with a pinch of salt--which is what the companies in question should do too.

But Juniper Networks didn't like it when people said unpleasant things about it--"this is a very unethical company"--at a telecom website called lightreading.com. So it's suing for libel, BusinessWeek reports.

What are the likely consequences: a major waste of shareholders' assets; a wider audience for the negative remarks--instead of a couple of dozen message board devotees, they will now be read by tens of thousands of BusinessWeek subscribers; a reputation for bullying; and the suspicion that the company wouldn't be doing this if it didn't have something to hide. And Juniper will lose the case, because proving material damages will be almost impossible.

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