Give Clients Softcopy?

Subject: Give Clients Softcopy?
From: Phillip Wilkerson <phillipw -at- ALLENSYSGROUP -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 1996 10:43:47 -0500

Pete Holman said:
>The writers at our software company sometimes are asked
>to write custom documentation for our clients. The vice-
>president in charge of custom projects wants to provide
>clients with the softcopy source files. Is this something
>that is a commom practice? We, as writers, do not want to
>provide the source files. Can any of you help back us up
>with reasons not to provide source, or experiences you've
>had with providing it? We need responses ASAP as we are
>meeting later this week with the vice-president.

At Allen Systems we do some customized documentation, and
we allow clients to customize our documentation. Our
legal dept. handles the contract and stipulates a
non-disclosure clause, which says that legally, we own
the copyright to the document's "source" code, and we
are permitting them to use a modifiable copy of the source
and modify it for their own, limited purposes, which are
also clearly stipulated and outlined.

You have the option of helping your client meet their needs,
which promotes good will; or being intransigent and making
things difficult for your client. If you force them to settle
for a paper copy only, they can always resort to re-writing your
documentation to suit their needs. You have to decide
between communicating cooperation and giving them options,
or simply saying "no" to their request. We have found
cooperation and focusing on their needs to be better, in the
long run, for all parties involved. Isn't meeting needs what we,
as professional communicators and information providers,
are seeking to achieve?

Phil Wilkerson
Manager of Technical Communications
Allen Systems Group
phillipw -at- allensysgroup -dot- com


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