The JD effect: a loveable lawyer’s letter

By Toby Manhire In The Internaut

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At the end of a week that saw Conservative leader Colin Craig and his lawyer roundly lampooned for delivering a startling legal threat to the 21-year-old author of a harmless bit of satire, it seems as good a time as any to recall an example of a lawyer’s letter that won love rather than mockery.

When author Patrick Wensink published a book with a front-page design based on the Jack Daniels label, he received a letter from Christy Susman, senior trademark attorney for the liquor company, that began, “We are certainly flattered by your affection for the brand, but while we can appreciate the pop culture appeal of Jack Daniel’s, we also have to be diligent to ensure that the Jack Daniel’s trademark are used correctly.”

It went on to politely ask that he change the design for the next print run – it even offered a contribution towards any costs.

The full letter is a bit of a contrast to that sent by Chapman Tripp to The Civilian.

It was so refreshingly nice, that after being posted by Wensink at his blog, the letter attracted huge attention and acclaim last year – see here, here and here, for example – winning the prize for “the nicest cease-and-desist letter ever”.

As just about everyone – and including now if not before Colin Craig and the guy from Chapman Tripp – knows, the Streisand Effect describes the backdraft of attention that a legal threat can invite. Perhaps it’s time for another, opposite category: The JD Effect.

More by Toby Manhire

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