Re: Manuals and Copyright Infringement

Subject: Re: Manuals and Copyright Infringement
From: Bill Hartzer <BHartzer -at- PAGEMART -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999 12:57:00 -0600

Eric,

You said:
"If you are going to produce a software help/instruction manual/book, how
much information can you 'lift' from the instruction manuals that come
with
the software"

One of the first questions that you must answer here is "is it really
necessary to re-document something that has already been documented?".
It might save you a lot of time and hassle if you just "point" to the
other place(s) where that information is documented, rather than actually
re-documenting or "lifting" information from another source.

I remember one case in particular when I was documenting a software
product that really *DID* use a lot of another company's product. In
fact, our "new" product was really only an enhancement of the original
product. Our software company at the time simply took an existing
product, enhanced it to our users' needs, and repackaged it. Upon my
suggestion, we actually contacted the original manufacturer and bought
hundreds of copies of their user guide and packaged it along with our
enhanced product. Of course, our documentation was included as well,
that did not re-document something that was already documented; we
pointed to the instructions in the other manual.

In other words, don't re-invent the wheel.

Regards,
Bill Hartzer
Senior Technical Writer
IS Documentation Group
PageMart Wireless, Inc.
Dallas, Texas USA
voice (214) 765-4330
voicemail pager (214) 798-3620 pin#1338853
fax (214) 765-4906
internet email: bhartzer -at- pagemart -dot- com


-----Original Message-----
From: edunn [SMTP:edunn -at- TRANSPORT -dot- BOMBARDIER -dot- COM]
Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 1999 12:14 PM
To: TECHWR-L
Subject: Manuals and Copyright Infringement

If you are going to produce a software help/instruction manual/book, how
much information can you 'lift' from the instruction manuals that come
with
the software.
In most cases all the information already exists in the documentation
that
came with the software. What is usually lacking is either the
organisation
or a few how-to, task oriented instructions.
Any advise from those that currently do aftermarket software
documentation?

Eric L. Dunn

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