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Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2004 by Bedford/St. Martin's1 Four Bodies of Law Relevant to Technical Communication Copyright law Trademark law Contract law Liability law
Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2004 by Bedford/St. Martin's2 Courts Consider Four Factors in Disputes Over “Fair Use": The purpose and character of the use, especially whether the use is for profit. The effect of the use on the potential market for the copyrighted work. The nature and purpose of the copyrighted work. The amount and substantiality of the portion of the work used.
Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2004 by Bedford/St. Martin's3 Consider the Following Advice When Using Material From Another Source: Abide by the fair-use concept. Seek permission. Cite your sources accurately. See text pages for citation guidelines. Discuss authorship questions openly. Consult legal counsel if you have questions.
Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2004 by Bedford/St. Martin's4 Strategies for Protecting Trademarks The TM symbol denotes a trademark. The ® symbol denotes a registered trademark. Distinguish trademarks from other material. Use the trademark symbol. Use the trademarked item as an adjective, not as a noun or a verb: Kleenex ® tissue or Xerox ® photocopier. Do not use the plural form or the possessive form of the term: Kleenex ® tissue, not Kleenexes ®.
Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2004 by Bedford/St. Martin's5 Contract Law An express warranty is a written or oral statement that the product has a particular feature or can perform a particular function. An implied warranty is not written or spoken explicitly but inferred by the purchaser
Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2004 by Bedford/St. Martin's6 Guidelines for Abiding by Liability Laws Understand the product and its likely users. Describe the product's functions and limitations. Instruct users on all aspects of ownership. Use appropriate words and graphics. Warn users about the risks of using or misusing the product.
Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2004 by Bedford/St. Martin's7 Guidelines for Abiding by Liability Laws (cont.) Include warnings along with assertions of safety. Make directions and warnings clearly visible. Make sure that the instructions comply with applicable company standards and local, state, or federal statutes. Perform usability testing on the product and on the instructions. Make sure users receive the information.
Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2004 by Bedford/St. Martin's8 Principles for Ethical Communication Abide by relevant laws. Abide by the appropriate corporate or professional code of conduct. Tell the truth. Don't mislead your readers. Be clear. Avoid discriminatory language. Acknowledge assistance from others.
Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2004 by Bedford/St. Martin's9 Avoid These Common Kinds of Misleading Technical Communication: False implications. Exaggerations. Euphemisms.
Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2004 by Bedford/St. Martin's10 Companies Must Communicate Ethically Across Cultures They have to make their communications understandable and clear to their target audiences. They are ethically obligated not to reinforce patterns of discrimination in product information. They are not obligated to challenge the prevailing prejudice directly.
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