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On December 30, 2009, the 9th Circuit (US District Court – Northern California) issued an opinion in the case of Birdsong, Waggoner, et. Al. v. Apple, Inc., No. 08-16641 (DC No. 5:06-CV-02280-JW) finding that even though the iPod’s ear buds can project sounds into the ears of up to 115 decibels, the plaintiffs in this case were not in fact injured (i.e., did not suffer hearing loss themselves) and thus did not have standing to sue. In addition, the court noted that the iPods did not cause hearing loss while using ear buds unless the volume was turned up significantly. Because the iPods could be used without turning the volume up (an obviously unsafe use), the decision to dismiss the class action suit was upheld. Although the plaintiffs claim that they were seeking to have Apple adopt safer features, the court was correct in indicating that filing a class action suit was not the best way to go about this. Perhaps the Plaintiffs could learn something from Jeff Jarvis who posted his issues with Dell in 2005 on his blog buzzmachine.com. Apparently, this tactic worked. Dell responded with its own direct2dell.com blog and worked to resolve its customer service issues. What we are seeing, and which should really be acknowledged for its power, is that blogging CAN be used successfully to resolve issues that a mere decade ago could only garner national attention by going to court. A blog with a wide readership has enormous potential to affect positive corporate and societal change. I believe this trend with be proven out in the years to come. Not only is blogging a faster way to reach your target audience, it is much cheaper than going to court.

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