I’ve just spent more time than I should have engaging in an at times a surreal exchange of emails with a UK-based legal sector management consultancy about whether or not we can talk about a new report they have published.

The report appears to have been commissioned and sponsored by one of their clients* – a global legal IT provider – who wants to tell the world about the report’s findings. However the management consultancy who have authored the report say the content contains their intellectual property** and so I’m not allowed to write about it’s content without being subject to endless caveats and cavils. So, you’ve produced a really, really great report containing really, really great content (sarcasm alert) but it’s all a big secret and we not only have to take your word for it but the only way our readers can find out about its content is by logging onto your website to download a copy and then risking being bombarded by your own marketing materials.

Now I’m not so crass as to suggest that there is no such thing as bad publicity – just look at Starbucks! On the otherhand consultancies and sundry other publishers of reports need to realise that there is one thing worse than having people quote from the content of their reports – and that is having people not talking about their reports. In a market where there are currently more consultants than consultancy assignments, obscurity is not something you should be deliberately courting. Of course if I were a management consultant I’d now be writing a report on marketing and media relations for management consultants – but I’m not, so I aren’t!

* The client says they are “not impressed” by the consultancy’s unhelpfulness

** Here are the full T&Cs… Distribution to all other parties, including but not limited to social networking or media sites, or reproduction in any form is strictly prohibited without written permission from the copyright holders. Individuals or organizations wanting to use any of the copyrighted content of this report must first obtain a written license or permission from the copyright holders. Contact details are listed on our web site. <Report Name> is copyright protected under English law and is the intellectual property of the copyright holders. Any misuse by other media, individuals or organizations, of the title or the content of this publication in Europe and the rest of the world, will be vigorously pursued. Yadah, yadah, yadah…