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APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
APR Ethics, Law &Technology
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APR Ethics, Law &Technology


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This is my annual presentation given to APR candidates for the Harrisburg Chapter of PRSA.

This is my annual presentation given to APR candidates for the Harrisburg Chapter of PRSA.

Published in: Technology, Business
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  • 1. Ethics, Law, & Technology
    An APR Study Presentation by:
    Joel A. Kline
    Associate Professor of Business and Digital Communications
    Lebanon Valley College
  • 2. ETHICs
  • 3. What is the relationship between law and ethics?
  • 4. Is the law a litmus test for ethics?
    Can something be ethical yet be illegal…ok, stop thinking of medicinal marijuana…can something be illegal yet ethical for a PR practitioner?
  • 5. General Ethical Principles
    Act in the public interest.
    Find the greater good for the majority of the people.
    Use honesty and integrity as your guide.
    Ensure accuracy and truth.
    Do not disseminate false and misleading information.
    If you accidentally do, correct your error immediately with all audiences.
    Deal fairly with the public.
    Respect yourself, respect others.
    When you move to a new job, leave proprietary materials related to your old job behind.
  • 6. Specific Ethical Principles
    Accurately define what public relations strategies and tactics can accomplish.
    Do not guarantee results for things beyond your control.
    Maintain the integrity of communication channels.
    Ensure transparency with all audiences, from employees to publics.
    Maintain ethical relationships with government, regulatory agencies, media, colleagues and all
    Safeguard confidences.
    Build trust through protection of confidential information.
    Secure the privacy of organization and individuals.
    Do not damage the reputation of others.
    Be careful during agency pitches.
    Stick to the facts; avoid the gossip.
    Avoid conflicts of interest.
    Disclose interests of yourself and others.
    Get consent to represent conflicting views or competitors; maintain the related knowledge in
    two different areas.
    Be ready to publicly identify your clients, sources of information, etc.
  • 7. Ethical Decision Making Guide
    Define issue/conflict
    Identify factors that influence
    Identify key values
    Identify parties affected
    Select principles
    Make a decision
  • 8. Case Study
    You are the communications director for a school district. A school board member who has been an outstanding advocate for the district is up for re-election. He calls to ask you if you would help with his re-election campaign.
    He says he values your communications expertise and needs help to defeat his opponent, who is very vocal about reducing administrative positions in the district. He considers them “fluff.” In fact, your job as communications director is at the top of his list and will likely be the first to go.
    You know you can’t work on the campaign during the workday but agree to work from home on the incumbent’s campaign. You don’t plan on telling anyone else you are helping him because what you do on your own time is your business.
  • 9. Why is Accreditation Important?
    Public Relation Practitioners strive to be treated as professionals:
    Specialized education and body of knowledge
    Recognized as essential service
    Autonomy and acceptance of personal responsibility
    Codes of ethics and standards
  • 10. law
  • 11. Legal Aspects of PR
    First Amendment
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
  • 12. Dimension of the First Amendment
    Free Speech vs. Commercial Speech
    Nike case
    Depends on court – Conservative Supreme Court thinks Commercial Speech doesn’t exist
    Freedom of the Press
    NYT vs. Sullivan
    Public Officials/Celebrities v. Private Persons
    Must prove negligence
  • 13. Legal System
    Administrative Law (FCC Rulings)
    Common Law (based on precedent)
    Constitutional Law (government relationships)
    Criminal Law
    Statutory Law (UCC)
    Plaintiff, defendant, and tort
  • 14. Freedom of Information Act
    Act allows for full or partial disclosure on information contained in U.S. Government documents
    9 exemptions
    States also legislate Open Records laws (how much does JoePa make???)
  • 15. Examples of FOIA Exemptions
    …established by an Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy …
    …related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency…
    specifically exempted from disclosure by statute …
    …trade secrets and commercial or financial information …
  • 16. Libel and Slander
    Statements or communication that diminish respect, goodwill, confidence, or esteem; or produce other adverse feelings about a person or institution.
    Sometimes referred to as defamation of character
    Slander is “spoken” Libel is written
  • 17. Libel/Slander Conditions
    Defame someone’s reputation
    Identify victim
    Be communicated
    Malice or negligence or
    (prove injurious or damaging)
  • 18. Libel/Slander Defense
    Fair Comment
  • 19. What is Privacy?
    Defined by Warren and Brandeis in Harvard law Review (1890) “as the right to be let alone."
    Privacy Act of 1974 recognizes this at the Supreme Court level.
  • 20. Privacy and The Supreme Court
    The privacy issue reached the Supreme Court through the issues of abortion and contraception.
    Just a value-added tidbit that won’t be on the APR exam…that I’m aware of(!)
  • 21. Prosser’s Categorization of Privacy
    In 1960 William Prosser, a legal scholar categorized four legal rights of privacy. Subsequently, many states and court systems have adopted his classification:
    1. Intrusion
    2. Disclosure of Private Facts
    3. False Light
    4. Misappropriation
  • 22. Examples
    Intrusion - Galella vs. Onassis 1982
    Disclosure of private facts - 1975 case of surfer Mike Virgil v. Time (Sports Illustrated)
    False Light – Two cases of the Gills
    Misappropriation - “Here’s Johnny” Portable Toilets
  • 23. Lawsuits to the Gills
    Same photo of John and Shelia Gill appeared in 2 publications. Two different captions appeared under the photo (which was taken without consent)
    Gill vs. Hearst (Harpers) 1953 (lost)
    Mentioned they were married…
    Gill vs. Curtis (LHJ) 1952 (won)
    “Love at First Sight…”
  • 24.
  • 25. Privacy Defenses
    Consent (age is an issue here)
    Public Record
  • 26. Copyright
    • Copyright is created at the moment creation – tangible expression. Publication (general or limited) is what separates a creator’s ability to restrict.
    Writing, music, dramatic, pictorial, graphic, and sculpture
    Ideas, methods of operations, and utility objects (lamp)
  • 27. Common or Statutory ©?
    Two types of copyrights exist: common law copyright and statutory copyright
    Common exists from conception. No filing required. If the owner makes a General Publication, he/she loses the right to limit copyright. Limited Publication does not limit copyright.
    Statutory requires filing with the LOC. 28 years from date and another 28 years. Heirs can inherit.
  • 28. Copyright Fair Use
    Ability of a critic, scholar, news reporter, or PR professional to quote briefly from copyrighted works while evaluating or commenting on them.
    Effect upon the market or value of copyrighted item
  • 29. Trademark, Trade Name, Service Mark
    General Electric
    “We bring good things to life”
    Trademark - words, names, or symbols used by companies to identify themselves
    Trade name – identifies producer
    Service mark – text that identifies a product, company, or service.
  • 30. Financial PR
    Regulation Fair Disclosure (timing and positioning of news)
    Securities Trading (10-k, 10-Q reports)
    Fraud (insider info)
    Sarbanes Oxley
  • 31. Sarbanes Oxley
    Applies only to public companies
    Holds executives accountable by requiring them to sign financial statements
    Enforced by the SEC
    Outlines criminal penalties for corporate fraud
    Has XI titles, most of which are not germane to a financial PR practitioner (unless broken!)
  • 32. Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)
    Nurse Nayirah- Babies were dumped out of incubators…and I love
    H&K… (not really a quote!)
  • 33. FARA Requirements
    Engages in political activities
    Acts in a public relations capacity for a foreign principal
    Solicits or dispenses any thing of value within the United States for a foreign principal
    Represents the interests of a foreign principal before any agency or official of the U.S. government.
  • 34. More Legal Fun…
    Media Access
    Due process
    Sunshine Act
    Political Expression (corporate & union)
    Grassroots Lobbying
  • 35. Questions on Law & Ethics?
  • 36. Information technology
  • 37. Non-exhaustive list from Study Guide
    Anonymous Web surfing
    Breadcrumb trail
    Cascading style sheet
    Chat room
    Chiclet (sp.)
    Content management system
    File transfer protocol ( FTP)
    News feed
    Permission marketing
    Proxy server
    Push technology
    RSS aggregator/RSSL/RSS feed
    Streaming media
  • 38. IT on the Exam
    Only 2% of questions come from IT
    Some IT questions arise from the business literacy area
    Previous exam had case studies – terminology is more appropriate for new exam
  • 39. Blogs
    Web logs – weblogs – blogs
    Chronological musings of people posted to the web
    2 relevant aspects for PR: should we start one? Is the company receiving neg/pos publicity on a blog?
    Daypop is one of the few solid directories (but by no means exhaustive)
  • 40. Websites
    Webpages are essential
    Basic contact information
    Area tailored for media (or Online Newsroom)
    Clear Ownership of areas of the website should be employed
    Content Management issues
    Richness vs. Reach
  • 41. Content vs. Presentation
    Companies of a reasonable size should separate content from presentation. This can be achieved with a dynamic or database-driven website.
    Dynamic Website Example from a Housing Authority Website
  • 42. Other Website Issues
    Use logs and statistics to track where people go on your site
    Have a disclaimer and privacy statement
    Review any external link periodically for validity
    Pay attention to usability…sometimes designers do not
    Create consistency in message and distribution (all docs are PDFs for example)
    Have formal structures and policies for incoming information/contact us forms
    Know/Identify/Segment your audience
  • 43. Email
    Find out whether a reporter likes email or not
    Permission marketing – do you know anyone who “opts in” for email from strangers? Me either!
    Email lists – different story. HersheyPark is one example. Achieve a balance.
    Run a successful removal program
  • 44. News Groups
    Technical name is Usenet.
    Long History on the internet.
    Generally, groups are categorized by a common interest.
    Examples are rec., sci., alt., comp.,
    Google Groups is best place to query. Google bought déjà news which was a pioneer in displaying groups in browser. is a place to locate groups and lists
    Choose correct group & don’t post PR msgs.
  • 45. List Servers
    Different than Groups
    Basically, a broadcast email system
    Useful for special events, practitioners, and people in a common industry
    Can lurk on a list (or chat room) that might say negative things about your company.
  • 46. Section 508 compliance
    Section 508 requires that Federal agencies' electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities.
    Not applicable to state
    Often a good standard for all companies (and agencies)
  • 47. Web 2.0 & Semantic Web
    Extensive amount of User Generated Content (UGC)
    Permits combination (mash up) of different sources of information
    Often contains extensive interactive components (e.g. social networking, video, or applications)
  • 48. Web 2.0 Technologies
    Social Networking Sites
    Blogs (Weblogs)
  • 49.
    Contact Me At: