Bird nonpologizes: "we accidentally sent you a threatening letter"

Originally published at:


Speaking of accidents and birds…



I San Diego the electric scooter is synonymous with explosive diarrhea. Cory, give them hell old chap!


So I guess their apology didn’t really fly?


Willy: You know what I hate? I hate when I send out one of them, um…

Frankie: Frivolous threatening legal letters?

Willy: Yeah! When I send out one of them frivolous threatening legal letters, and then the recipient calls me on it, and gets his lawyer friends to laugh at it, too. And soon everyone is laughing at it and me, because it’s so absurd the only reasonable response is bird puns? I hate when that happens.

Frankie: Me too!


Threatening Letter Bot gone rogue?


Oh we’re not ‘angry,’ Bird; we’re happy as a lark to mock you endlessly, for your piss-poor attempts at bullying.


To summarise this topic so far: a rouge nonpology is worth frivolously flipping the Angry Bird.

I dig it.


In the quest for curbing illegal activities related to our vehicles, our legal team overstretched and sent a takedown request related to the issue to a member of the media. This was our mistake and we apologize to Cory Doctorow.

I know defending lawyers will make me no friends on BB, but this strikes me as utter BS. In any organization I have worked at or for, there’s no way a letter like that goes out the door without senior management approval. My guess is the conversation went like this:

Exec: We don’t like that people can buy these conversion kits and we don’t want it publicized. How do we get this BoingBoing place to take down this post?
Legal: Well, we can’t really. We don’t have any solid legal ground to stand on to get BoingBoing to take down that post.
Exec: Can’t you send one of those cease & desist letter or something?
Legal: Yes. I mean, I can always write a letter. I can reference the DMCA, but that’s a big stretch. It would be mostly chest-pounding. If they ignore the letter, there isn’t much we can do and we might just end up looking stupid.
Exec: Go ahead and draft a letter and send it so I can tell the CEO we did something.

After everything goes wrong:

Exec: Oh well, you know what lawyers are like, they just love to send letters.


@doctorow “This was our mistake and we apologize to Cory Doctorow” is not a non-apology. It’s an actual apology. They apologize, and not for how you reacted to it, but for the mistake they made.
I would agree, though, that they seem to have mischaracterized what that mistake was to begin with…


Your scenario sounds completely plausible to me



|45x45 Oo_oO

I don’t think the thread will descend to wren and ruin. Only five more days until it reaches it’s swan song.

MelizmaticBBS Lieutenant

Do you think people will keep flocking to the post to make comments until then?

Apparently! Thank you for making another Bird scoter post for the puns, @doctorow. You really take the crake!


Happens to me all the time. I just wanted to buy cereal, sent away cease&desist letters instead…


Can we agree that Bird’s lawyers were puffin themselves up, but their tactics laid an egg? And now that the whole thing is starting to look like it might be an albatross around their neck, the company is swift to drip nectar to the flock of yawping beaks that is the internet, hoping to smooth the ruffled feathers?


Sounds like they’re ducking the issue to me. I love the implication “our lawyers are working SO HARD they just send out letters thither and yon and DON’T know WHEN to STOP!” …yeah, right, because legal professionals who bill by the hour are so likely to do that.


Many companies farm out DMCA/trademark C&D enforcement to mills (or internal divisions) where underpaid chumps who don’t particularly care about the circumstances or consequences churn out variations on takedown/C&D/etc form letters all day. I’m not saying that’s what happened here but every time a story comes out in the media about someone getting a notice or C&D, everyone assumes that the process was initiated by the CEO pacing and shouting in an emergency meeting, something like “BRING ME THE HEAD OF DOCTOROW!” Usually someone just checked their Google Alerts for company mentions, saw something that didn’t sit right with the brand, touched up a form letter, and sent it out. There’s often little recourse for this kind of bullying, so why not?

We need to focus less on the individual letter and more on why we give rights holders broad authority to intimidate beyond the scope of their protection.


So the Bird has been flipped


Congratulations with the win and with the BBC mention two days ago:

Start-up Bird backs down in electric scooter legal row -


I’m guessing they get adequately remunerated for acting as a human shield for management’s asshattery. As a contractor I knew was fond of saying, “Smile and bill.”