RE: Requoting other companies' docs in your own docs

Subject: RE: Requoting other companies' docs in your own docs
From: "Carnall, Jane" <Jane -dot- Carnall -at- compaq -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2001 17:29:03 -0000

>I've been asked to write an installation manual for 2 other software
>products (a web server and some kind of java browser modification/scripting
>thingimy) which are necessary to install before installing my company's

I've done something similiar once or twice in my current job: how to install
a kind of "invisible bridge" between software that didn't belong to us and
software that does. (Similiar, not identical: the users were not required to
install the software that wasn't ours with any special settings, so I could
simply reference the other firm's documentation as and when required,
without quoting from it.

>From your options:

As others have already observed, it isn't legal to copy directly.

Option 2: AFAIK, this would be technically difficult and run into updating
problems pretty fast.

Option 3: >Create a short manual with instructions on which sections to look
for on
>the other 2 manuals.
>Problems: My boss might think I haven't done very much work and just taken
>the easy way out. I can probably talk him out of this perception, though :)

Of your three options, this one is certainly best. It's manageable, it's
legal, and it's (relatively) easily updatable. The other companies should
have no difficulty with it (though you might want to ask your legal
department to check with their legal department) since you are, effectively,
insisting that the companies you sell your software to buy legal and
documented copies of *their* software first.

Michele Marques suggests Option 4:> we write our own installation
>instructions, because we want to recommend (and sometimes require) certain
>settings so that the 3rd party software works properly with our software
>and/or to make it easier for us to support.

This seems probably the best option to me - the one that I would prefer to
use - but note that if you work with screendumps of GUI software, you may be
in breach of copyright if you use someone else's GUI to illustrate your own
instructions: though you may well be allowed to use it if you seek
permission, quote copyright data, and guarantee not to edit <g>.

Jane Carnall
Technical Writer, Compaq, UK
Unless stated otherwise, these opinions are mine, and mine alone.

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