Wikiscanner and Law: From Althouse to Spitzer

Someone in the Texas office of BCG Attorney Search is no fan of musician Prince, it appears. Wikiscanner — the tool that lets you track the origins of anonymous edits to Wikipedia entries — shows that someone from a Plano, Texas, IP address registered to BCG made dozens of edits to entries about Prince and his albums, none complimentary. For example, the person twice deleted the entire entry about Prince’s album “Musicology” and replaced it with one word: “poopie.” For the Prince film, “Graffiti Bridge,” the person deleted the entire entry and replaced it with the word “stinky.” For the Prince album “Sign O’ the Times,” the person replaced the songwriters’ creidts with “all songs written by Grannys armpits.”

This is just one of several items I found while scanning Wikiscanner for edits from law-related companies and organizations. Surprisingly few have anything to do with law. Among the more interesting:

  • When former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer was campaigning to become governor, someone from the N.Y. Attorney General’s office twice edited the entry describing his gubernatorial campaign. Wikiscanner lists 180 edits to Wikipedia entries from the N.Y. A.G.’s office from 2005 to 2007, covering topics ranging from Kerry Kennedy to Roger Clemens to Elvis.
  • At legal publishing company ALM, an apparently disgruntled employee revised the company’s Wikipedia entry to criticize its holiday-bonus policy. Someone from the same domain later deleted the criticism. Overall, Wikiscanner found 175 edits from ALM’s domain (not counting affiliated domains), covering such topics as Courteney Cox Arquette, short men and Pabst Brewing Company.
  • At the Nashville law firm King & Ballow, someone edited the entry for law professor and blogger Ann Althouse to include: “Professor Althouse is known for her aversion to the acknowledgment of her own conservatism.” That comment has since been removed.
  • Someone from the Texas attorney general’s office deleted a coarse comment that someone else had added to the biography of AG Gregory W. Abbott. Someone there also made grammatical changes to the entry on the trial of former Enron executives Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling and made revisions to the biographies of former Houston Mayor Kathryn J. Whitmire, former L.A. Guns lead singer Paul Black and former Iraq President Saddam Hussein.
  • At the New Jersey Lawyer newspaper, someone made three revisions to the entry on Doogie Howser, M.D.
  • Someone at the Practising Law Institute edited the entry on continuing legal education to add PLI’s name and a link to the company’s Web site. Of 108 edits made from PLI’s domain, most were to the entry on children’s book author Marilyn Singer.
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  • The Travel Chick

    Hi Bob,
    As much as this made me chuckle (and having a toddler, I do appreciate “poopie” humor), BCG doesn’t have an office in Richardson, Plano or even Dallas, nor have we ever had one. This isn’t our IP address. Seems someone is having a bit of “fun” with poor Prince (I can’t make his symbol on my keyboard) and BCG.

    Purple Rain forever,

    Suzanne Howe
    Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search Texas