Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Non-Profit Discussion: Diabetes and Cash

The article, "In Diabetes Fight, Raising Cash and Keeping Trust", which was featured in the New York Times was an eye opener. Marc Santora, wrote, "the effort has increasingly become an exercise in balancing the need to raise money with core matters of conscience," things become complicated when lots of money and closed doors are concerned.

Non-profits have over-head costs, employees to pay, campaigns and so on. They don't run on bubble gum dreams and horse shoes.

But when the accounting practices of said charities go duplictious in their dealings, then a detailed line has to be drawn....where do you stop taking money from organizations and companies that contribute to the harmful effects of the cause you are fighting?


"The ADA remains too wedded to benefactors in the food and pharmaceutical industries, who provided more than $23 million last year"

The ADA might as well give sponsorship to Girl Scout Cookies or Willy Wonka.
I post this to make a poignant point about Cosmopolitanism and my interpretation of the application and assignment in class.


Similarities
Minority status
Raised Catholic
PR Students
Seniors
Middle-Upper Class Family
Foreign parents
Perfectionist
Yankee
Differences

Family-base
Gender
Sibling Position: Older v. Youngest
Inter-racial parents

I truly dreaded is assignment because I disagreed with the revelation Dr. Lambiase, supported. Lauren was my partner. We hardly talked and on appearance alone we were direct opposites.

But when the list continued it showed (surprise surprise) we are more alike. This would be a point for Dr. Lambiase but then I got thinking…Even though we have similarities, we have different experiences and perspectives of society.

It does make the idealism of Cosmopolitanism, more difficult to swallow. To think we are linked with similarities doesn’t make us feel connected it actually makes it feel as if there is a common disconnect.

We both come from Catholic backgrounds, well to do families, Yankees, and have the same neurosis but it end there.

Despite popular belief Carl Marx was right…at least a little, instead of a conflict between classes it’s a conflict between social and communal consciousness, cosmopolitanism doesn’t add up in the void.

***Now to the point of the assignment the relevance to PR professionals is that even these superficial and non-superficial traits that we share can still be a bridge to communications, beliefs and idealisms.

For PR professionals we play the role of social bridge-builders and it's important to remember how to link and connect different people.
A community is a group of people that share a common characteristic. In Japan, there is an emerging youthful generation that is connected by means of advancing technology and an embedded raison d’etre of near total detachment from reality or rejection.

The Otaku refers to an overtly obsessive fan of any one particular theme, topic, or hobby. While the hikikomori, are categorized as individuals that spend months on end, in their rooms of complete solitude on the computer, mesmerized by the television, comics, anime or playing video games that portray a glossy detachable alternative to reality.

Both groups also fear society’s expectations and rules. But what young adult doesn’t?

There is an ironic pulchritude in the cohesive element and economical success in each of these groups that can be translated into any young rebellious computer literate generation. While there are no American slang for those who sit on the computer for hours and cruise on either MySpace, Friendster, or Facebook…there is a disconnect between reality and rejection even within relationships.

"I just can’t live with the pathetic tickles that you call 'sexual thrusts' anymore"

"I can't be with you because you are graduating and I never went to college."

"It’s not you, it’s me."

"I want to be able to see other women without hurting you."

"I miss being HAPPY!"

It is one thing to have these kiss-offs printed indelibly on white stationary or mumbled through the lips of some soon to be ex, it is quite another hat, when these popular if not redundant barbs are posted on your MySpace page. Face to face communication has subsided to computer-to-computer chats.

In 1975, Paul Simon wrote, "There must be 50 ways to leave your lover". At the time Paul Simon only gave us four. Leave it to modern-day technology to fill in the gaps by giving us more creativity accessible ways of saying goodbye.

There are reputable if not socially acceptable rituals in the dark and gloomy world of breaking up. A pathetic and tone deaf foray into karaoke; the burning of sentimental pictures; the notorious 80’s monster ballads on continuous loop; any Sandra Bullock romantic comedy and the inevitable drunk dialing are all penalties and patterns of behavior for the romantically forsaken.

Nowadays, in the technologically savvy Thunder-dome called love, the most important and symbolic feat post-break – the updating of your MySpace page.

MySpace and the family of web sites like Facebook and Friendstar have been ordained the epicenter of social networking sites. But can this really be a relationship when in a few steps; someone can be erased with ease?

For more than 84,000,000 people, MySpace is an online communication tool. It is used to keep in contact with a variety of acquaintances, family and friends. Users are able to search for people with similar interests, sexual orientation, location and a menagerie of provided information.

Bobbie McCarthy sits with four of her girlfriends sipping Cosmos and eating from a heaping plate of chicken nachos from Applebee’s. After completing a break up sacrament worthy of Alias, this S.W.A.T. team of girlfriends, relaxed in Bobbie’s boyfriend-free apartment in Coppell, Texas, which overlooks a luxuriously green courtyard.

The mission was simple: eradicate any evidence of said boyfriend’s existence, including Valentine’s Day cards, presents and stuff animals which included the birthday gift that Bobbie adds came two weeks late.

“Deleting him from my buddy list made the whole experience real, and inadvertently got the biggest reaction.”

Bobbie is a petite 22-year-old college student seeking a career in dentistry. Blond hair and amber eyes, she lightens up any room with charisma and polite conversation. But mention her last relationship and McCarthy’s composure wavers, her eyes get beady, palms sweaty and her demeanor darkens.

“I like to think of it as a technological, bitch slap,” said Jessica Halper, a nursing student who recounts breaking up with her previous boyfriend via MySpace.

A few days after breaking up with his boyfriend, Ian Simmons couldn’t resist logging on MySpace, a popular online social community to check out his ex-boyfriend’s profile page. Two things caught him off guard: Mr. Simmons’ relationship and sequential break- up had been advertised over MySpace in detail by various blogs, and love stricken poetry posted by his ex, but also more appalling was the fact that his ex hadn’t updated his status to “single” from “in a relationship.”

The Internet impeded the break because Simmons’ ex continued to contact him via emails, instant messenger or by comments on MySpace. “We even got in email fights”.

Even though physically they had broken up; there we still digital relics of their past relationship. When his ex would send a bulletin or massive email, Ian would receive it. His ex’s picture would linger in the upper right corner of the computer screen, like the internet’s equivalent of the Bubonic plague.

“The internet made me see my ex as a bad speller and someone too lazy to use spell check…which only made his quotes even more asinine”. Ian’s ex still remains a persistent digital ghost of relationships past and his spelling hasn’t improved.

In order to really cut ties in an internet-reliant relationship, a digital exorcism must be performed which consist of removing a person from your buddy list, erasing all information from email, contact list and purging your cell phone, which may prove to be more effort than you previously applied to your expired relationship.

But it also combines the ideas of blogs, photo albums, streaming music, instant messengers and e-mail into one site, where elements of all those programs and services are available.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Cosmopolitanism is a term and idealism that is even more far-reaching than, “globalization”. Globalization caters to presenting a thought, franchise or product in the international market, while cosmopolitanism caters to the diverse cultures and people around the world and yielding a dynamic understanding, respect, and appreciation of those divergent views and places.

I finally received the book, Cosmopolitanism by Kwane Anthony Appiah. This book is reminiscing of Kant and Voltaire’s lines of logic and philosophy. A heavy reading, the book lends ideas to the public relations arena.

Obligation and difference are the cohesive elements to Cosmopolitanism.
Selling Cocaine to the Teen Market:
7-Eleven Pulls Energy Drink off the Shelves

Kwesi Robertson

M
ost of the advertising we view each day is not on the television, radio or billboard but candidly hidden on the shelves of grocery, gas, and convenience stores. Advertisements and product placement are synonymously powerful vehicles that attract all avenues of costumers, especially a younger market that is said to yield a more disposable income and easily seduced by trends, celebrities and edge.

There is an arsenal of communication and advertising strategies that are used when aligning products with distinctive brand recognition, consumer appeal and profit. Some fall in line with informative appeals while other go for the lowest common marketing denominator of sex, drugs, models and music.

Canvassing the beverage section of the local 7-Eleven, there is an anthropological study in waiting. On the right upper shelf are the old-timers – Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Gatorade. These titan-like corporations are not only giants in marketing but kings of advertisement. Then the middle and lower shelves are dotted with Ocean-Spray fruit juices and designer bottled waters, featured in midday commercials while hoards of this particular merchandise decorated in local grocery stores. The left shelf is full of newcomers, edgy products that shine a little brighter due to their metallic packaging and bold Courier lettering. Energy drinks are various in name and flavors from Red Bull, to Pimp Juice, Monster to Amp, to Jolt. The market is corned on the next uber hyper-caffeinated beverage.

The marketing for energy drinks tends to keenly if not predatorily target teenagers, especially with these corporations’ limited funds for advertisement, packaging and promotion. A very provocative and even more prevalent strategy is edge in advertising – which features sub cultural cues, metaphors, sex and images that are designed to entice excite and provoke young trendy consumers into buying their products.

Unfortunately there is no Rosetta stone to decipher what is too provocative, sexual, and edgy or simply out of bad taste. There is a realm of gray and subjective advertising that has always been considered controversial, something that steps over the lines of profit into a state of sheer and utter gross negligence and exploitation in regards to the consumer and the public/community they reside in.


Case Narrative

Since, 1927, 7-Eleven, a Dallas-based company has been the staple for convenient stores franchises, with more than 30,000 stores worldwide. On September 25, 2006, 7-Eleven, faced a moral if not corporate distribution dilemma in regards to one of their products that had been receiving a maelstrom of scrutiny from media, parents, non-profits, advocacy groups, politicians and even the entire continent of Australia, banning this particular product.

Cocaine is an energy that comes packaged in a red cans with the word cocaine written in what appears to be lines of the illegal substance. 7-Eleven sent out a memo to pull this drink from the shelves of all stores because of the pressure put on the chain and distributors by concerned parents. Parents viewed the marketing strategy as a ploy to get teenagers as a tier one consumer.

Margaret Chabris, a spokeswoman for 7-Eleven said in a statement, “our merchandising team believes the product’s name promotes an image which we didn’t want to be associated with”.

Cocaine is produced by Redux Beverages, a company that resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hannah Kirby and James Kirby are the co-managers and creators of this caffeinated raspberry drink.

The marketing for the drink, Cocaine, is not limited to the name itself. The slogan for the beverage is “legal alternative.” The edginess and bad publicity of Cocaine has only heightened
Crossing Boarders and Public Relations Line: My PR Blog of Baby Noor


C
hildren’s Healthcare of Atlanta was contacted by Sen. Saxby CHAMBLISS, R-Ga., about a child in need.

Sen Chambliss call to action was in the form of an email from a Lt. Jeff Morgan who was at present, stationed in Iraq.

During a raid the Lt. discovered an infant, and named her baby Noor. Later, Noor had be diagnosed with spinal bifida, which is when the spinal cord fails to close completely.

Her death by medical official was estimated in only mere weeks.

So the soldiers wanted to send Noor to the United States.

Easier said than done.

“As part of their evaluation of whether we could accept the child, senior hospital executives approached our PR team to discuss how their decision might be perceived by the public and the degree of media coverage the organization should anticipate if the Iraqi infant came to the United States”. – Kevin McClelland, Director, External Comm. for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.


The PR team took in several considerations:
• No preceding cases of this magnitude from the hospital’s perspective.
• Timing (Noor’s arrival would be during the holidays and her health was dramatically depleting).
• Nature of the surgery
• The humane purpose behind this act

To be continued….
This will make a good PR Case Study...see next blog!!!

Copyright 2006 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
http://www.ajc.com
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

July 2, 2006 Sunday
Main Edition

SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 16A

LENGTH: 429 words

HEADLINE: SAVING BABY NOOR;
An American odyssey

BYLINE: MARK BIXLER; Staff

BODY:


THE SURGERY: The mother of Baby Noor's first Atlanta host family, Andrea Molavi, awoke at 5:14 a.m. on Jan. 9, the day of Noor's first surgery. She heard a shower running downstairs; Noor's grandmother couldn't sleep, either. They kissed Noor at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta before nurses wheeled her to the operating room. Then they waited in Room 137. A nurse called at 8:09 a.m. The surgery was under way.

THE RECOVERY: Dr. Roger Hudgins met with Noor's father and grandmother after operating on the baby. "She's waking up and moving her arms and head," he said through an interpreter. Noor's grandmother thanked him. Then Nurse Toni Lindros (above) wheeled in Noor. "I took care of her in the recovery room," Lindros said. "She did good."

THE OUTPOURING: Strangers crocheted and quilted blankets for Noor. She got balloons, flowers --- even a stuffed UGA bulldog. One girl sent pink pants and a white sweater with a note: "My name is Sophia Sanford and just like Baby Noor, I have spina bifida. I am writing you this letter to tell you that the disability is not something to worry over. In fact, I have lived a long time with it. I just began high school a year ago."

THE FANFARE: Georgians often recognized Baby Noor when her host families gave their Iraqi guests a glimpse of life in America. At the Georgia Aquarium, employees including Kim Jackson (center, in tie) doted on the celebrity baby, held by her second host mom, Nancy Turner. On another occasion, a cashier at a Dunwoody Babies R Us turned to a customer after seeing an Iraqi man and woman stroll by with a sleeping infant. "Is that Baby Noor?" the cashier asked.

THE PROGRESS: After crisis summoned Baby Noor's father and grandmother back to Iraq, they tracked her progress through Nancy Turner, a Roswell church administrator who hosted them in Georgia. "Greetings from Atlanta!" she wrote in a message that reached Noor's family through a neighbor. "Noor misses you and sends her love. She is teething. . . . She has started on food and unlike her father loves vegetables!"

THE ATLANTA TOUR: Noor's host mothers in Georgia, Andrea Molavi for the first month and Nancy Turner for the next five, took the infant, her grandmother and father to Atlanta attractions including the Varsity and World of Coke. At home, they stocked the refrigerator with Caffeine Free Diet Coke for Noor's grandmother. And they went with the family on medical appointments. One doctor took notes in a manila folder that said "Baby" in block letters in a space for the patient's first name and "Noor" in the space for her last name.

GRAPHIC: Photo: CURTIS COMPTON / StaffTHE FANFARE: Georgians often recognized Baby Noor when her host families gave their Iraqi guests a glimpse of life in America. At the Georgia Aquarium, employees including Kim Jackson (center, in tie) doted on the celebrity baby, held by her second host mom, Nancy Turner. On another occasion, a cashier at a Dunwoody Babies R Us turned to a customer after seeing an Iraqi man and woman stroll by with a sleeping infant. "Is that Baby Noor?" the cashier asked.
Photo: CURTIS COMPTON / StaffTHE RECOVERY: Dr. Roger Hudgins met with Noor's father and grandmother after operating on the baby. "She's waking up and moving her arms and head," he said through an interpreter. Noor's grandmother thanked him. Then Nurse Toni Lindros (above) wheeled in Noor. "I took care of her in the recovery room," Lindros said. "She did good."
Photo: CURTIS COMPTON / StaffTHE SURGERY: The mother of Baby Noor's first Atlanta host family, Andrea Molavi, awoke at 5:14 a.m. on Jan. 9, the day of Noor's first surgery. She heard a shower running downstairs; Noor's grandmother couldn't sleep, either. They kissed Noor at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta before nurses wheeled her to the operating room. Then they waited in Room 137. A nurse called at 8:09 a.m. The surgery was under way.
Photo: CURTIS COMPTON / StaffTHE OUTPOURING: Strangers crocheted and quilted blankets for Noor. She got balloons, flowers --- even a stuffed UGA bulldog. One girl sent pink pants and a white sweater with a note: "My name is Sophia Sanford and just like Baby Noor, I have spina bifida. I am writing you this letter to tell you that the disability is not something to worry over. In fact, I have lived a long time with it. I just began high school a year ago."
Photo: CURTIS COMPTON / StaffTHE PROGRESS: After crisis summoned Baby Noor's father and grandmother back to Iraq, they tracked her progress through Nancy Turner, a Roswell church administrator who hosted them in Georgia. "Greetings from Atlanta!" she wrote in a message that reached Noor's family through a neighbor. "Noor misses you and sends her love. She is teething. . . . She has started on food and unlike her father loves vegetables!"
Photo: CURTIS COMPTON / StaffTHE ATLANTA TOUR: Noor's host mothers in Georgia, Andrea Molavi for the first month and Nancy Turner for the next five, took the infant, her grandmother and father to Atlanta attractions including the Varsity and World of Coke. At home, they stocked the refrigerator with Caffeine Free Diet Coke for Noor's grandmother. And they went with the family on medical appointments. One doctor took notes in a manila folder that said "Baby" in block letters in a space for the patient's first name and "Noor" in the space for her last name.

LOAD-DATE: July 2, 2006

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A headline in USA Today on October 3, 2006, said, "Courts are asked to crack down on bloggers, websites; Those attacked online are filing libel lawsuits

In class discussions, we warranted the actions and consequences on blogs, especially as public relations professionals.

The article started: "Rafe Banks, a lawyer in Georgia, got involved in a nasty dispute with a client over how to defend him on a drunken-driving charge. The client, David Milum, fired Banks and demanded that the lawyer refund a $3,000 fee. Banks refused.

Milum eventually was acquitted. Ordinarily, that might have been the last Banks ever heard about his former client. But then Milum started a blog.

In May 2004, Banks was stunned to learn that Milum's blog was accusing the lawyer of bribing judges on behalf of drug dealers. At the end of one posting, Milum wrote, "Rafe, don't you wish you had given back my $3,000 retainer?""

So what is the outcome?

Well Milum after his allegations was fined $50,000.00 in a libel suit.

The power of the blogs.

It was probably 2 years ago when I talked to a guest speaker in a mass media class. The "printing press turned us into publishers, the television made us broadcasters", and now the blogs has turned us...into fair game....


To look at the article go here:http://libproxy.library.unt.edu:2112/universe/document?_m=35c83e61c56a262c0e448241063c9ed2&_docnum=2&wchp=dGLbVtz-zSkVb&_md5=9c078cd3a725722646af3ddaa402adf0
McGreevy .vs. Foley

During scandals there are simple rules and guidelines to abide by when the media is involved. While driving to school, my radio was tuned to 90.1 NPR, and there was a journalism expert whose name evades me but the lesson was pretty applicable to these two infamous cases.

1. act early
2. answer all questions through various mediums
3. apologize personally

Three simple rules that are rarely followed. When I finially arrived to school, I was canvassing the bookstore and saw on the cover of Advocate (a gay magazine that focues on various topics in the media and entertainment), there was former senator McGreevy on the cover.

The article was an editorial on his turbulent life and the aftermath of such a politically and socially charged scandal. McGreevy quickly reacted to the allegations, although there are no noble characteristics in McGreevy actions the way he approached the problem has yielded a much more likable result.

Now on to Mark Foleym who did the textbook tactics of what not to do. After these allegations were presented a political smoke screen quickly congested the air waves. Fox News, even "misrepresented" the information about Foley when they labeled him a Democrat.

Questions were ping ponged from a representative to an expert to another talk piece without getting a clean answer from Foley. Even now Foley has blamed his alcoholism, psychological trauma, and homosexual tendencies.

Both men are intelligent and well connected. Wouldn't they be advised to keep their best face on and use the media to mininize these scandals in a more managable situation.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Review for The TEST

Why are codes of ethics important to professions? What are some of the criticisms of the PRSA code?
One of the signs of professionalism is a code of ethics governing the conduct of members of the profession. Code of ethics serve two purposes:
• They are a continual reminder to members of the profession of the acceptable standards of behavior for that profession.
• They assure those outside of the profession that ethical standards are maintained within the profession’s ranks.
SOME CRITICISMS:
Codes of conduct are not with their detractors. One criticism is that codes are too general to be of much help in a real situation.

There are contradictions within the codes themselves. For example, in the PRSA code, public relations professionals are required to safeguard confidences of their client, while at the same time being open and honest with the public.

A third criticism is the lack of enforcement. PR professionals are not licensed or legal bonded like doctors or lawyers therefore the harshest penalty is to suspend membership to the PRSA association.

How does a PR professional serve as an ethical advocate?
Public relations professionals serve the public interest by acting as responsible advocates for clients and provide a voice in the marketplace of ideas to aid informed public debate.
*Persuasion can be practiced ethically, provided certain criteria are followed.



Explain the ethical concepts of utilitarianism and communitarianism.
UTILITARIANISM
An action is good if its consequences are good; an action is bad if its consequences are bad. Utilitarians take the position that the ethical act is the one that produces the greatest possible balance of good over band for everyone affected.
CRITICISM
Critics of the utilitarian approach are concerned with this potential unpredictability of result. They also point out that it sometimes simply ignores justice.

COMMUNITARIANISM
Communitarianism stresses the community and the ties that bind individuals together. It calls for a movement away from the emphasis on individual rights to that of social responsibility. Communitarianism means that public relations professionals should encourage organizations to recognize and fulfill their responsibilities to the communities of which that are a part.

Check out question 2 from chapter 1.

Define corporate speech and commercial speech, and the First Amendment principles that make these relevant to PR practice.
CORPORATE SPEECH – is speech by corporations concerning political and social issues. The purpose of corporate speech is not to promote a product or service, but rather the corporation’s views or position on a matter of public importance.

COMMERICAL SPEECH – has been defined by the Supreme Court as either speech that does “no more than propose a commercial transaction” or as expression “solely motivated by the desire for profit.” Advertisements specifically promoting a product or service are not difficult to classify as commercial speech.

**Commercial speech has less First Amendment protection from government regulation than political or corporate speech.

The FTC (FDA or SEC) and relevance to PR practice, and more broadly, to integrated practices that you may be involved in some day.
SEC – Securities and Exchange Commission – oversees the financial markets, that grew out of the stock market crash that triggered the Great Depression. Essentially, the SEC purpose is to ensure a level playing field for all investors by requiring truthful, complete, and timely disclosure of information about publicly traded companies that could be important to an investor’s decision to buy, sell or hold securities.

How do lobbying regulations impinge on workers in public affairs?
Lobbyists who make more than $5,000 in a six-month-period for their services and in-house lobbyists who expect to spend more than $20,000 on lobbyist activities in a six-month-period must register with the government.

Which leads to registered lobbyists being required to file statements identifying their client & detailing the general areas & specific issues on which they have lobbied.

Think of an example of how defamation could occur in the PR context.
Defamation is holding someone up to public hatred, ridicule, or scorn. It is more than just saying something that is embarrassing or private about a person. It is saying something negative about a person’s character that causes other to think less of that person.

Example could be bloggers that discuss a company they work for.

Discuss red flags and strategies for avoiding libel.
RED FLAGS:
Some words and expressions should raise red flags in the view of a public relations professional. Among them: addict, adultery, AIDS, alcoholic, bankrupt, blackmail, bribery, cheater, child abuse…

STRATEGIES TO AVOID LIBEL:
Libel is a misrepresentation of truth. Therefore, always thoroughly research the material and present the information as accurately as possible. Sound basic journalism techniques such as checking sources and facts are the best defenses to libel actions.

KEEP IN MIND:

OPINION.
QUOTATIONS.
CLIPPINGS/NEWS.
HEADLINES/PHOTOS.
INTERVIEWS/NOTES.
EDIT.


Consider privacy and PR work, and strategies for ensuring that sensitive matters are kept private.

Read about PR and negligence, especially concerning contests.
Contributory negligence – occurs when the plaintiff fails to take reasonable care for his own protection. If the plaintiff is found to be contributory negligent, whether slightly or extensively, she is denied recovery from the defendant.
Comparative negligence – the court divides damages between the parties in proportion to the degree of fault or negligence it finds against them.
Assumption of Risk – is the plaintiff’s consent to encounter a known danger. A plaintiff who has voluntarily and knowingly assumed the risk of harm arising from the defendant’s negligent or reckless conduct cannot recover damages for such harm.


Question 3, chapter 4.
THE PLAINTIFF’S BURDEN OF PROOF:
The plaintiff in a libel action must prove all six essential elements to win a libel case:
PUBLICATION – means that one person in addition to the writer an the defamed person saw or heard the material.
IDENTIFICATION – must show that the statement was “of and concerning him, her or it.
DEFAMATION – holding someone up to public hatred, ridicule, or scorn.
FAULT – is confirmed after the other essential elements have been proven. Fault has four categories for the plaintiff: public official; all-purpose public figure; limited public figure; private person.
FALSITY – having to prove the statement was in actuality false.
INJURY – three kinds of damages can be awarded in civil lawsuits: general, special and punitive.

Why should PR pros care about copyright?
Copyright is a form of protection given to “original works of authorship in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed” and is governed by the federal Copyright Act.

What is Fair Use, and why does this concept probably not apply to most commercial activities?
The Copyright Act provides that the fair use of copyrighted material for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research is not an infringement of copyright.

Commercial copying is generally considered unfair. In the eyes of the courts, commercial means making money from the copying; it does not matter whether the copying is done by a not-for-profit or a for-profit organization. It both cases, it is commercial copying.

These copyrighted items are not limited to pictures or logos. As a PR professional you need to be aware of copyrighted materials while composing brochures, press releases or any other material distributed by various mediums.

Why should a PR professional care about protecting his/her company's trademark? How is trademark protected?
A trademark serves to identify tangible products. A trade or service mark can be any work, symbol, design, or color, provided it meets three criteria.

Registration is evidence of the first use of the trademark by the company, it permits the owner to sue in federal court for infringement, and the registration symbols serves as notice to others of a claim of ownership.