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Information Mapping is NOT just the layout. Please don't be confused.
It is the entire methodology. And the copywrite question has more to do
with modifying and/or distributing our Formatting Solutions Software or
our training manuals than actually proposing a Mapped solution to a
I don't have a good solution to propose for how to tell your prospective
clients that they aren't breaking any "rules" (there are none) about
>From: Tim Altom[SMTP:taltom -at- IQUEST -dot- NET]
>Sent: Friday, August 01, 1997 11:48 AM
>Subject: Re: IMI methodolgy
>At 11:05 AM 8/1/97 -0400, you wrote:
>>Is there anyone on the list that works for IMI?
>>I was taught Information Mapping when I worked for a company nearly ten
>>years ago. The company took the basics of IMI and revised it somewhat to
>>fit their corporate policies.
>>Later, when I was hired for a contract where there was no existing
>>documentation, I created a template for documentation that was even more of
>>a revision from IMI's standards in addition to other styles I had learned
>>during the intervening years. I was told by the company that they had
>>approached IMI once and were told that if IMI principles were followed in a
>>document (like block lines, chunking, the 7+/-2 rules, etc.) that they
>>would have to pay a royalty back to IMI.
>>I need to know if this is true so I won't accidently break any copyright
>>laws. At this point, many years have passed with me working contracts at
>>several firms, all with different documentation styles. I'm sure my
>>personal working template is very much removed from the original IMI
>>formats, even if I remembered exactly what those were.
>>You can contact me off line. I don't use anything like this in my current
>>position but I am working on a training manual at home in which I may have
>>to make extensive format revisions, if this statement on royalties is
>Kathy says in this message that I can contact her off line, and I have done
>so. But I thought this was an issue that badly needs laid to rest. I hear it
>all too often. I actually had a client object to the layout we proposed for
>them because "It was too close to Info Mapping". Hogwash and horsefeathers.
>The only things that IMI owns are its trademark and the copyrights on the
>_wording_ and _graphics_ they've created for their own manuals and training
>materials. And "copyright" in this case means the order of the words, and
>the actual pictures they've drawn for themselves. You can't photocopy IMI's
>manuals or training materials and use them for yourself.
>But everything else...EVERYTHING ELSE...the bars, the lines, the patterns of
>organization, the "7 plus or minus 2" concept, is entirely, totally,
>completely, and utterly available and in the public domain. Information and
>layout cannot be protected against anyone, any more than Time magazine can
>sue you for mimicking its interior layout.
>Mind you, you can't use the Time logo, nor mislead the public by (at least
>in some cases) appropriating the "look and feel" (by, for example, naming
>your mag "Tine" and using Time's colors, typography, and positioning),
>because Time is considered to have invested a great deal in its distinctive
>look, and the public can be fooled all too easily by a too-close imitator.
>But you can steal their interior layout techniques at will. The Copyright
>Office won't even accept "layout" as part of the protection you want to
>claim. Further, you can readily steal the information in those pages. You
>can, for example, rewrite the whole article entirely in your own words and
>resell it as your own. Ethics demand at least a nod toward the Time folks by
>giving them credit, but the law won't intervene. Information is public. It's
>the _expression_ of it that's protected. And how you organize it on a page
>is your own affair. Once you've done it, you can protect the whole page, but
>you can't keep someone else from using your technique with their own pages,
>nor can you demand a royalty. Time, for example, can protect its own pages
>even if those pages are nothing but reprints from others, but it can't
>protect the _way_ the page is arranged.
>In my experience, neither IMI nor its instructors actually _say_ that IMI
>owns the layout techniques, but they sure don't point out that they don't
>own them. If I want to design a page with sideheads, lines between chunks
>and a limitation of 7 steps to a procedure, then I can do so with absolute
>impunity. It's the _impression_ you're left with in an IMI class, though,
>that makes you think IMI is somehow the owner of all this stuff. They do
>nothing to correct that notion, and indeed they benefit from it. But if it
>isn't copyrighted or trademarked, it's fair game. Layout, which is what the
>IMI theory mostly comes down to in print, isn't protected in either case.
>I've used some of the IMI principles, as I'm sure most of us have. Many of
>them are sound. They should be; they're based on publicly-available research
>done many years ago. But IMI is, in my view, being rather disingenous by
>letting students believe implicitly that IMI owns the techniques it's
>promulgating. Bosh. That's tantamount to saying that because you're using
>the same chords in your song that Garth Brooks used in one of his, that you
>owe him royalties forever more. That would put a kink in the music industry,
>Vice President, Simply Written, Inc.
>317.899.5882 (voice) 317.899.5987 (fax)
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