I discussed the saga of JL Kirk Associates in The Darwin business model - Part II. In brief Katherine Coble questioned their business practices and wrote about it in her blog. JL Kirk and their crack legal team at King & Ballow sent a cease-and-desist demand to Coble and started a firestorm of bad publicity across the blogosphere. After the Media Bloggers Association agreed to assist Coble pro bono JL Kirk and their legal team decided it was time to talk.
Attorneys for JL Kirk & Assocs. contacted Media Bloggers Association attorney Ronald Coleman shortly after receiving his letter stating that the MBA was representing me in this dispute on Thursday afternoon. Both sides expressed their wish to avoid litigation or further aggravation of the situation. JL Kirk’s main concern at the outset was that we communicate their position - which is different from the information originally told to me by a JL Kirk employee - that JL Kirk is not a continuation of the defunct Bernard Haldane company, either in terms of corporate identity or stock ownership, and that JL Kirk’s principal, Kirk Leipzig, is only a former Bernard Haldane employee but did not buy any assets or stock of Bernard Haldane. I can’t vouch for the truth of that statement because I have no first-hand knowledge of the facts, but evidently anyone who wants more information can obtain it from JL Kirk.Brittney Gilbert explains how this demonstrates that this is a Brave New World for firms like JL Kirk.
As you know if you read their cease and desist letter, the company disagrees with what I have said about them here, but they have told the MBA lawyer that they are interested in discussing this with my husband and me personally rather than litigating in court. I have not decided if I am interested in talking, but I don’t mind the idea of putting this behind me and moving on, and will not write on this topic again.
A lawsuit was never this company's intent, if I had to guess. They just wanted to bully a blogger into taking down speech that made them look bad. Instead they set off a firestorm of fury from bloggers all across the web who take their right to tell the truth about negative corporate experiences very seriously. More seriously than even I guessed. And rightly so, because self-publishers on the web - your average, everyday citizen - no longer need to bend to the will of the ones with the most might. Bloggers no longer need to buy ink by the barrel. The ink is free.The climate has changed for for companies like JL Kirk with shady business practices and questionable ethics and they face extinction.
Not only is the ink free, but so are those using it. Free to warn others about what they think is a shady business or uncooperative legislator. No longer are newspapers and television stations the only people with a platform. Through the wonder that is the tubes, a blogger with under a thousand readers a day can bring a company to its knees, especially when that company attempts to roll over an individual's First Amendment rights.