Saturday, September 10, 2005

Big Payday for Lawyers In Sony Fake-Blurb Deal

I would be surprised if anyone is surprised that the only people who got anything out of the "David Manning" fake critic consumer lawsuit are the lawyers.


Craig said...

Given how impossible they made it to file a claim, it's hardly a surprise. When the story was published, no information was given on how to find a claim form, and as far as I can tell, the period for filing (even to reject the settlement) had already lapsed by then.

No one involved in the suit - not the lawyers, the courts, Sony, or even the other claimants (who on average received $29.91 each) had any reason to publicize the ruling properly and so they didn't.

I guess getting a few bucks back for the abysmal piece of dreck, Hollow Man, was just too much to hope for.

yellojkt said...

If you had known about the lawsuit you wouldve had to admit to seeing one of the movies in theaters. I have my pride.

David Apatoff said...

It seems to me that the lawsuit had two objectives: to punish Sony so that no other studio tried such a stunt again, and to compensate the people who were duped. You can't deny the lawsuit achieved the first goal. As for the second goal, how many movie goers would find it worthwhile to fill out the paperwork to get their ticket price back? The administrative costs of getting $5 to millions of people are just prohibitively expensive, from both sides.

Nell Minow said...

David, I agree with you that the first goal of the lawsuit was to prevent the studio from creating fake quotes from an imaginary critic to put in ads, and that has been accomplished, despite the studio's attempt to argue that fabricating quotes was protected speech under the First Amendment. I even agree that there was no way to track down audience members who didn't just attend those movies but who might possibly have been persuaded to buy a ticket because of the enthusiastic blurbs from fictitious critic "David Manning." But I am not sure this particular allocation of the award was fair. I saw the same thing with the money that came out of the Drexel lawsuits after Mike Milken went to jail, and I don't expect any better with the settlements from Enron et al. I know it's an inherent problem with class actions (I did say in the original post that I wasn't surprised), but I still think the justice system should be able to produce something that feels a little more just.