RE: Do you give permission to use your materials?

Subject: RE: Do you give permission to use your materials?
From: Kathleen Padova <kpadova -at- Paytrust -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2000 09:16:02 -0500

At my last company, some of our distribution channels negotiated for the
source files for the docs. I figured if that was part of the contract, then
I had no problem with it. I did notice that technical support for modifying
the files was not included, so I was never bothered by any other tech
writing department. I think they did a pretty nice job with the printed
docs. I saw that noone ever changed the help files, so maybe they never
figured out how to use HDK. My time wasn't part of the deal, I didn't worry.

At another company, a client decided to go with another vendor to produce
their CD-ROM product. I had created a PDF online help. Months later I
received a copy of the new CD. I hit the roof when I discovered the other
vendor had taken my document and replaced our logo and copyright notice with
theirs and left the content intact. As evidence, if you opened the
Properties for the PDF, my name is listed as the author. I admit it took a
bit to calm me down. And even though the client and vendor "stole" other
parts of our copyrighted material, my company decided not to pursue legal
action. As much as I felt "injured" in reality the material belonged to my
employer and it was their decision. It was never "my" document. I still feel
like sending an invoice to the other vendor for my work <g>. And I have
since learned about the different levels of protection for PDF files.

I currently avoid offering to send source files for the reason that:

1. I don't want to go through what Thomas Knepher described. I don't want to
be bothered when they complain the doc doesn't print right because they
don't have the same printer driver. Or they don't have the same version of
software. Or they don't know how to use the software.

2. I don't want to assume liability for any changed information. If I don't
have control over the final content, they could give bad information and
leave us liable.

That being said, if my employer makes the decision to hand over the source
files, I make sure I understand exactly to what degree I am responsible and
give 'em up.

Kathleen Padova




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