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Toronto lawyer Michael Osborne says social media introduces new considerations into the decision whether to send a demand letter or sue.
“A company may have a legal right it wants to vindicate; it may well win in court; but if its actions create a viral reaction on Twitter or other social media, the damage may outweigh the legal victory,” says Osborne, pointing to the legal letter Labatt’s sent to the Montreal Gazette threatening to sue unless the paper takes down a photo of alleged killer Luka Magnotta posing with one of the beer company’s products. Read Globe and Mail Story
“Labatt’s legal letter to the Montreal Gazette is a perfect illustration of this: Labatt wanted to protect its iconic Blue beer brand from association alleged murderer Magnotta,” says Osborne, a partner with Affleck Greene MurMurtry LLP.
“But the Twitter-sphere reacted by coming up with marketing tag lines with the hashtag #newlabattcampaign, building on the link to Magnotta, with lines like “Tastes Great, Less Killing”, and ‘Labatt Blue: When you’ve got more than just time to kill’.”