RE: About Themes for Fake Names

Subject: RE: About Themes for Fake Names
From: "Dick Margulis " <margulis -at- mail -dot- fiam -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 22 Jul 2002 09:49:08 -0400

bryan -dot- westbrook -at- amd -dot- com wrote:

>Your analogy is false because I am not trying to claim that any actual people made any comments or used the systems I was documenting.

It wasn't an analogy. I was telling a story.

I only made sure that they were not the names of any actual employees because that would have defeated the purpose of using fake names in the first place, especially since some of the screen shots were instructions to administrators on how to eliminate inappropriate user comments from a peer-recognition system and I wanted to make sure that nobody would think that the examples I showed had actually been created by their co-workers. If I were to substitute generically common names like John Smith, I would not go out and seek release forms from every John Smith in the phone book, would you?

No. If I were using the name of a public personage or a trademarked character, or a character from a copyrighted work of fiction, I would get a release from _someone_ with that name or from the owner of the intellectual property--if I had any concern about a lawsuit.

I think the lawyers who advised not to use such names were being overly paranoid, and I probably wouldn't go to the trouble at all. But if I were trying to satisfy such a legal department, I think the first line of defense is a signed release.


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