The Fine Print


I just received an unsolicited email message from Yamaha. They’re trying to sell me a new product. It looks fancy. As a blogger, I was tempted to share it with you…only I can’t. You’d think they’d want me to share the news about their new, fancy product with you, but I’m not allowed to. It’s right there in the fine print at the bottom of their email message. Check it out:

“This e-mail message and its contents are copyrighted and are proprietary products of Yamaha Electronics Corporation. Any unauthorized use, reproduction, or transfer of this message or its contents, in any medium, is strictly prohibited.”

In fact, I’m probably treading on thin ice by copying and reproducing their legalese on my blog. It’s been a few years since I’ve received a cease and desist letter, though, so I’m willing to take that risk.

Here’s a case when the people who embrace the rules are louder than the people who are trying to share the message. When the rule enforcers get their way, fewer people hear the message.

Sometimes we also forget that messages should not be and really can’t be protected. That’s old school marketing. Messages are created to be shared. As soon as we focus on protecting the message rather than encouraging people to spread the message, fewer people hear it and therefore fewer people respond.

Yamaha should have spent more time generating a story that could be shared than perfecting their fine print. If they did, they’d probably sell more fancy gadgets.

How about you? Are you more concerned about sharing the story or protecting the fine print?

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About Author

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and

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