Re: Ethics, ownership of product, and suchlike

Subject: Re: Ethics, ownership of product, and suchlike
From: Sean Hower <hokumhome -at- freehomepage -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2003 16:24:50 -0800 (PST)

Bonnie Granat wrote:
All of this brings up the question for me of when structure lost its status as part of the product? You're not the first to suggest in this conversation that it has.

What do you mean by structure?

If we're talking a template here, there are only so many ways you can arrange words on the page. I mean, no matter how you cut it, a paperback novel is pretty much arrange in a certain way. Does that mean that you're stealing the structure if you opt to use the same format? I would assume the same goes for brochures. Most of the ones I've seen all pretty much look alike. So what's wrong with borrowing the structure of one brochure for another one? If you develop a template, and your contract says they are paying you for template development, I would assume that would only stop you from using the exact template you developed for them. There's nothing stopping you, I would assume, from creating another template and using the the same structure in another project. I could be wrong on this, but it seems like a difference between an object you've created and your expertise. :-)

Look at it this way: I tend to use the same point sizes and fonts for the headings in the various docs I've written, mostly because they look good. Does that mean that I'm stealing the structure from the person who first asked me to design a document? Or am I just relying on my internal expertise that says, "hey, this font looks good?" It would seem that if a company is going to claim that kind of thing as their own because you designed a template for them, then all of us would be hard-pressed to create anything without "stealing" structure.

Anyway, that's my two cents worth. :-) Maybe I'm just not getting the discussion...I am hopped up on TheraFlu after all. hehehe

"And in the morning, I'm makin waffles." ~ Donkey
Sean Hower - tech writer

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