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Avoiding Legal Hassles February 25, 2010

Posted by Chris Yates in PRCA 3330-Reading Notes.

Legal problems should be a concern for those in PR. Firms produce pages upon pages of documents for clients, and it all must be accurate. It is important to cite all sources when appropriate and to avoid publishing statements that could be viewed as defamatory. I think a good tip that the book gives is to avoid “unflattering comments or accusations about the competition’s products or services.”

Some guidelines for using copyrighted material:

  • Expression of ideas can be copyrighted
  • Major public relations materials should be copyrighted
  • Permission is required to use clips of movies, television shows, or published songs
  • Photographers and freelance writers retain the rights to their works
  • Original materials posted on the Internet have copyright protection

Trademarks are a strange phenomena. People always end up using the trademarked name of a product in innapropriate ways. A trademark should never be pluralized or used as a possessive. Additionally, a trademark should not be used as a verb.

All information is paraphrased from Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques 6th ed.


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