Saturday, I blogged about a lawyer at the Berkman Center at Harvard Law bringing up the word “zealots” in relation to antispyware activitities.
She’s responded well:
Several commentors here and elsewhere have seen my post Spyware as an Ecosystem Blight as an attack on those who have exposed spyware. It isn’t.
First, as a lawyer who takes seriously the duty of “zealous advocacy” owed to my clients and causes, I see “zealot” as a badge of honor more often than as criticism. Second, I was referring my own criticism specifically to those who have levered poorly-justified lawsuits against alleged spyware — not to those who have preceded StopBadware.org in exposing the mechanisms by which malware gunks up computers against the users’ will.
The most visible “anti-spyware” forces to me, a lawyer, have been those such as U-Haul, Wells Fargo, Washington Post, and 1-800 Contacts, who have run amok in the courts trying to shut down popups with theories I think are harmful to the fabric of the law. I don’t think the user-centered movement gains when trademark or copyright law is extended to prevent a user from covering the on-screen display of a web page or trademark — what if the user wants to browse with Greasemonkey or show her own pop-ups?
It’s unfortunate when the companies making misleading legal claims or lobbying for overreaching law become the most visible piece of the anti-spyware spectrum — though it may be that they’re only the most visible to those wearing lawyer-colored glasses. So, to make clear: thank you to all those working to enhance user choice by informing the public about the software that wants to install itself on our computers.
Thanks Wendy, for clearing that up!
Btw — this is a light blogging week for me — board meetings. Have to pay the bills…