This May, back when Italians were just beginning to dream about winning the World Cup, Baker & McKenzie started a little scrimmage of its own. Its client, Infront Sports & Media AG, just happens to own the exclusive broadcast rights to the World Cup games, and the firm’s IP lawyers were determined to block any interlopers.

To that end, a letter signed “Baker & McKenzie” was sent to thousands of Web sites and Internet service providers, warning them of the perils of unauthorized downloading. But the aggressive move backfired when Boing Boing, a high-tech blog with 1.75 million daily visitors, posted the letter and proceeded to trash the firm’s good name.