The advertising agency is suing Dutson on three counts: copyright infringement, defamation, and trade libel/injurious falsehood. It seeks statutory damages of $150,000 for each of six images it alleges were infringed upon, as well as unspecified punitive damages and legal fees.
he posted a ''rough draft" advertisement pulled from Maine's Department of Economic and Community Development website showing a collage of iconic images of the Maine seacoast, woodlands, and ski slopes, with a dummy phone number that turned out to connect to a line promoting a phone sex service. The agency had inadvertently placed the phone number on the draft advertisement for a presentation made to state tourism officials.
Is Dutson an A-List blogger? Is he a powerful guy who can bring down a New York ad agency or a state tourism board? No. Check out his Alexa ranking. It hardly rates a mention, except for a spike on the day he linked to the Maine ad. He's small fry.
I personally hope that the EFF helps Dutson defend himself and that Warren Kremer Paino takes it on the chin.
Interestingly, Warren Kremer Paino don't reference their lawsuit on the "In The News" segment of their website. If you, like me, want to express your disappointment in their heavy-handed tactics, you can email Bill Crandall, their Senior Vice President, at email@example.com.
Here's the email I sent Bill:
I just read about your legal action against Dutson. Take some free advice - retract the charges, admit your mistakes, and get on with business. This is a no win situation for your agency. He doesn't have the money and you will forever tarnish your reputation. Every time someone Googles your agency in the future they are are going read about your sex phone incident and how you sued a small-time blogger. This isn't a winnable situation for you. Bail out now.
UPDATE 5-May-2006: Looks like WKP took our advice. They have "unconditionally surrendered":
Moments ago, lawyers for the advertising agency suing MBA Member Lance Dutson filed a Notice of Voluntary Dismissal in U.S. District Court in Maine.
now, the lesson here, for those of you paying attention, is that you have to be careful about what you do online. One slip-up can cost you your googlerank.