APR Ethics, Law &Technology


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

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APR Ethics, Law &Technology

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