Toy giant Hasbro, for reasons known only to Hasbro, do not like the fact that Australian Martyn Yang runs a blog about Nerf Guns. What they're doing about it will make you wonder what's come of this world.
Yang's blog, Urban Taggers, exists to showcase Nerf Guns. People post images of guns they've bought, they talk about the toy weapons. It's a fan site — a comprehensive one, which catalogues all kinds of Nerf Guns, posts videos of them in action, and even has reviews of them.
Anyway, last month, Yang was contacted by Hasbro's public relations team, who were offering to send his site some swag for a giveaway. So he replied and gave the company his postal address. The swag never came. What did come was a letter from Hasbro's law firm, Baker & McKenzie, demanding that Urban Taggers not only remove images and information about an unreleased and upcoming Nerf Gun, but give up the identity of the user who supplied the information.
After telling them he got a lot of his information off the internet and Chinese auction sites, and that maybe Hasbro should try that sometimes, Yang then came home one Sunday afternoon to find two people — a "strange woman and a big-looking repo-man-looking guy" — had been lurking outside his apartment all day, wanted to interview him and record the conversation.
A reminder: this is over images and user reviews of plastic toy guns Yang bought off a Chinese website.
The matter has now been reported to the Office of the NSW Legal Services Commissioner, and Yang is "seeking redress" from the law firm for their conduct.
To read all the emails sent between Yang, Hasbro and the law firm, check out Crikey's great piece on the story below.