Re: Converting HELP files to RTF files

Subject: Re: Converting HELP files to RTF files
From: Tim Altom <taltom -at- IQUEST -dot- NET>
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 1996 21:18:00 EST

At 04:55 PM 3/22/96 EST, you wrote:
>At 10:31 PM 3/19/96 GMT, Charles Good wrote:

>>It's bad enough that the standard help engine
>>allows you to copy text (which you can paste into a notepad window).

>Then Sue Gallagher said:

>>And I'm not sure why you think this is a bad thing. I have often
>>taken advantage of this capability, and even automated it for my
>>users by including a Copy macro attached to a button. It's great
>>for including sample text -- batch files, code snipettes, etc.

>It's a sticky issue at our company, and some others. In fact, it was
>brought up at our department meeting just today. We're shipping our docs
>in online form only, on a CD-ROM. Customers are starting to ask us "Saaaay,
>do you mind if we cut-n-paste your procedures into our own internal
>documents?" We're not too keen on that, and plan to start including some
>limited license language.

>My boss also pointed out that our customrs could copy files,
>delete some text, and they've then got nicely designed templates in
>Information Mapping (TM) layout. At our expense.

>Rick Lippincott
>Boston Technology
>Wakefield, MA
>rjl -at- bostech -dot- com

We just had this discussion at the STC meeting. In question was the practice
of letting users (or encouraging users) to print out huge volumes of online
documentation. I question the practice when the online document is true
hypertext, because printing out the topics is pretty much a waste anyway: no
index, no TOC, no page numbers (at least in some readers), and perhaps even
mysterious popup language. And then, of course, there's the copyright issue.
Some users apparently see no problem with lifting large amounts of online
wording, when they wouldn't think of doing the same to a printed manual.
Yet, aren't we actually, in effect, giving away the documentation? I know of
few companies that charge for it. We may still hold the copyright, but users
may be morally excused if they overlook the copyright notices and assume
that if they bought the product, they also bought the documentation, to use
any way they want.

Tim Altom
Vice President
Simply Written, Inc.
317.899.5882 (voice)
317.899.5987 (fax)

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