The Bengals made a mistake going after fans... surprise?

The general feel right now is that the Cincinnati Bengals HATE bloggers. I'm sure there's truth that they are annoyed by the constant ramblings of an incompetent owner, reports of a chaotic lockerroom and general negative press (mostly all the time), the feeling is that the Bengals went after one for reasons more than copyrighted material. Now, it should be understand: The Bengals aren't sending letters threatening lawsuits because they blog about the team, players, coaches or the constant (justified) bashing of the front office -- or we would have been knocked down long ago; only that Stripe Hype used copyrighted material.

In one sense, I actually do understand the point of keeping your own work (that's where my understanding ends). On the other hand, blogs like us provide a free opportunity for the Bengals to get their word out to fans. Using their logo should be a small price to pay for free word of mouth. Instead, their intentions of protecting their work backfired. And to be honest, I was hoping for some commentary from Cincinnati based media on the issue. I guess the drawback from being traditional media is that you lack the opportunity of promoting your voice (reason #1 why I never aim to be a sports journalist).

(Note: the leaders of SB Nation took great care avoiding these type of issues, so we don't use the Bengals material nor does our site's name reference 'Bengals')

The lack of understanding won't stop over-reactions from others -- which is totally at the fault of the Cincinnati Bengals. For instance Who Dey Revolution simply states that Mike Brown hates freedom saying "he seems bent on now silencing the teams biggest fans". From my understanding, the cease and desist letter had nothing to do with content or voice -- there was no content changes, revisions or deletions. Though I completely agree that this issue just adds to a list of things that keep wearing out fans until their base dwindles to a singularity. I also agree that the Bengals are not only wasting their time, but damaging their own PR cred (as if they had any) in which, ironically enough, bloggers will be forced to repair to justify using our free time, with free coin, to talk about the team (even some of it good!). Even so, it's getting pretty tiring when we're inundated with this team's trivial rest stop bathroom antics against fans.

However, this issue really isn't about new media vs. traditional media. If Stripe Hype received permission to the logo, nothing happens and they're allowed to do what they will. The worst part about this whole parade lap of "beat the fans down" is that the main blogger took the fall and resigned soon after -- David, call me! -- though we're not sure if he was forced out or left on his own accord. Not that it really matters.

If this issue were about the team going around and telling bloggers to stop blogging about the team, then we'd have war on our hands. A fight that all bloggers -- who are a tight-nit community -- would readily fight. Legally, the Bengals really can't do much more than fight for their own product -- i.e., images, articles on Bengals.com etc.. Fortunately, this isn't a new media vs. traditional media fight -- though as you can tell reading through the internet, some are drooling at the prospect.

So I suppose we can nickname this off-season the "Suicide Sessions". First, it was Chad Johnson's character from fun-loving to egomaniacal minion of Oil Slick. Now it's the Bengals' suicide PR campaign against their own fans.

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