PR firm quiet on accusations

I guess even PR firms have lawyers. I have often gone head-to-head with corporate attorneys who advise their organizations, in time of crisis or public scrutiny, to say nothing. “We’ll deal with it in court,” they say.

Qorvis Communications LLC, a Beltway PR firm, is in court right now, side-by-side with one of its clients, accused of making “false and misleading claims” about sugar substitute Splenda. Qorvis evidently was involved in efforts to disparage the zero-calorie sugar substitute developed by asserting that its claim to be made from sugar are false. The maker of competing products Equal and Nutrasweet went so far as to file a… Read More »

Is NIRI membership a prerequisite for US communicators?

Andy Lark just suggested that communicators in the US need to join NIRI (the National Investor Relations Institute) and take SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley) training, because communicators representing public companies are subject to laws bloggers are not. Question: Do communicators need to join an investor relations association or do communications associations like IABC need to provide communications-specific SOX training?

EFF goes to bat against Apple, for bloggers

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will defend AppleInsider and PowerPage, two blogs that divulged the computer maker’s plans for a product code-named “Asteroid.” The EFF asserts the bloggers shouldn’t have to disclose the source—an Apple insider—who revealed the plans. Apple has issued subpoenas to the bloggers demanding they name the source.

“Bloggers break the news, just like journalists do. They must be able to promise confidentiality in order to maintain the free flow of information,” according to EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. “Without legal protection, informants will refuse to talk to reporters, diminishing the power of… Read More »

Commercial success through open access

The Recording Industry Association of America—that group best know these days for the intriguing strategy of suing their customers—insists that is model guarantees profitability for recording artists. Performers whose contracts with record labels include RIAA copyright protections supposedly earn money every time their music is played on the radio; radio stations (even Internet radio stations) make regular payments to cover these fees. To hear the RIAA (and Metallica’s Lars Ulrich), without RIAA protections, artists would starve as consumers enjoyed the fruits of their labor without paying a nickel for the works they have stolen.

Go… Read More »

You don’t own your own words

Back in my early days online, the online community to which I belonged—the WELL—had a simple slogan: “You own your own words.” They must not have been thinking about people who wrote using their employer’s computers. Jim Horton points to a story on C|Net about a Washington State man who used his office computer to search for pornography. Police seized the computer and used what they found to charge him with 50 counts of possessing child pornography. He was sentenced to four years in prison. He appealed, claiming the seizure of the computer violated his rights, but a 3-0 appeals court decision said the only thing police needed was the… Read More »

Blogs and copyright

Back when I was in journalism school, Journalism Law was a required class. The late Dr. Ken DeVol did a great job teaching us about libel and a host of other legal issues of importance to journalists. Copyright was among them. Unfortunately, most bloggers don’t have the benefit of being required to take a class in law, leading many to make assumptions that are—at least, so far—false. has a worthwhile piece that lists eight copyright myths that have been taken for granted on the Net for years but have been exacerbated by the explosion in blogging. The article provides detail about each myth. Here’s the short list:

  1. It???s okay… Read More »

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