This weeks reading was chapter 3 of “Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques (6th Edition) by Dennis L. Wilcox” Amazon.com. The chapter focused on legal hassles that are often dealt with in the media community, with an emphasis on legal hassles that would effect those working in the public relations field. Here are some of the key points I found important from the reading:
- libel is injury to reputation. Words, pictures or cartoons that expose a person to public hatred, shame, disgrace or ridicule, or induce and ill opinion of a person are libelous. In other words, a printed falsehood. Often falling under the heading of “defamation” the party who has been injured can be awarded by the jury if the following points can be proven: the statement was published to others by print or broadcast, the plaintiff was identified or is identifiable, there was actual injury in the form of monetary losses, impairment of reputation, humiliation, or mental anguish and suffering, and the publisher of the statement was malicious or negligent
- As an employee of a company that does have a monthly newsletter I found the following information concerning what was appropriate and what wasn’t when writing about employee activities very interesting: keep the focus on organizational related activities, have employees submit “personals” in writing, double-check all information for accuracy, ask: “will this embarrass anyone or cause someone to be the butt of jokes?”, don’t rely on secondhand information; confirm the facts with the person involved, don’t include racial or ethnic designations of employees in any articles.
- And the third point that I found important was copyright law as it effects the public relations community. The book says that knowledge of copyright law is important from two perspectivies: what organizational materials should be copyrighted, and how to correctly utilize the copyrighted materials of others. The book also says that copyright refers to the protection of creative work from unauthorized use. This covers usage of literary works, musical works, dramatic works, motion pictures, pantomimes and choreographic works, pictorial graphic or sculptural works, and sound recordings.
There are many rules to follow when it comes to copyright law, some easier to remember than others. A friend introduced me to this video that his teacher used in class to teach them about copyright. I found it very interesting and I actually learned a lot from it:
In your opinion, do you think copyright law is a protection or just a law that hinders the dissemination of “borrowed” ideas?