Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Let's talk about the legal issues of Public Relations

Public Relation writers as well as firms along with all other responsibilities have to watch what they say. Anything you say, create, or distribute can hold you to legal trouble. First I will talk about libel and defamation. According to the AP stylebook, "libel is injury to reputation. Words, pictures or cartoons that expose a person to a public hatred, shame, disgrace or ridicule, or induce an ill opinion of a person are libelous. Today we refer to this as defamation. Which kind of reminds me of being a situationalist. There is a wide spectrum that can be considered defamation, it pretty much all comes down to that person knowing INTENNIONALY hurting someones, pride, hurt them monteraly, damage of reputation or suffering to name a few.
When in front or juries there comes 4 points that can be proved to be defamation to any party, including corporations. Truth has always been the traditional defense against libel charges however, opinions do have an effect on the outcome. Through the U.S. Constitution which protects freedom of speech brings up the concept of the fair comment privilege. The fair comment defends mainstream journalists, sometimes radio show hosts, mainstream journalists, and also, probably one of the most important, critical comments of organizational exec's.

When talking about defamation, you can't not have infringement and copyright come into the equation. Copyright by definition is the protection of creative work from unauthorized according to our text book. The US copyright law of 1978 says "copyright protection subsists, in the original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression now known or later developed." By authorship they are referring to literary works, musical works, dramatic works, motion pictures, pantomimes, pictorial and other graphic work. However, a copyright does not protect ideas, but how the ideas are expressed. For example, you can use a concept for a movie, but you couldn't express that particular idea with the same characters in the same text etc.... Copyrights protects material for 70 years and 95 years from publication rights held by corporations for example The Walt Disney Company. Copyright infringement is referred to the unauthorized use of material that is protected under the copyright law, which goes hand in hand with plagiarism.
Lastly, trademarks are another topic for discussion when it comes to these topics. A trademark is pretty much a word made up by a company or slogan of the same. For example "have it your way" which I am pretty sure is Burger King's slogan. Anyways, burger king or mcdonalds, I think we get the point. There are three basic guidelines for trademarks according to our book and those are, that trademarks are proper adjectives, and should be capitalized and followed by a generic noun or phrase. Trademarks should also no be pluralized or used in the possessive form. And lastly trademarks are never verbs. #prca3330

it's been fun, see ya next week, world.

1 comment:

  1. I really like your point of view and all of the examples you gave, it really gives an in depth look into a very tricky subject.