APR cards - Ethics & Law
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General Principles Underlying PR Practice
- - Act in the public interest - find the greater good for the majority of the people.
- - Use honesty and intgrity as your guide
- - Ensure accuracy and truth - do not disseminate false or misleading information; If you accidentally do not make an error, correct it immediately with all audiences
- - Deal fairly with all publics - respect yourself and others; leave proprietary materials related to your old job behind
6 Values in PRSA Code of Ethics
- 1. Advocacy
- 2. Honesty
- 3. Expertise
- 4. Independence
- 5. Loyalty
- 6. Fairness
What are the 6 code provisions of the PRSA Code of Ethics?
- 1. Free Flow of Information
- 2. Competition
- 3. Disclosure of Information
- 4. Safeguarding Confidences
- 5. Conflicts of Interests
- 6. Enhancing the Profession
6 Decision-Making Guidelines in PRSA Code of Ethics
- 1. Define the specific ethical issue/conflict
- 2. Identify internal/external factors that may influence the decision
- 3. Identify the key values
- 4. Identify parties to be affected and PR professionals' obligation to each
- 5. Select ethical principals to guide the decision process
- 6. Make a decision and justify
Definition: Taking of some element of a person's name or likeness for advertising or trade purposes without consent, such as using a celebrity's photo without permission and signed release.
Definition: Extensive word-for-word copying. One can use the idea, but not the creative expression of the idea.
Definition: Putting a person in a false position before the public, misleading the public to make a person appear other than he or she is (misrepresentation). Reputation need not be harmed.
Definition: The legal word or act by which the author makes the work available to the world while remaining control of the creative expression. To obtain this, an author must provide two copies to the Library of Congress and display the copyright symbol on the material.
Definition: Recognized defense against a libel action, based on the argument that the statement was either true or privileged (taken from a public document)
Definition: Law providing that the copyright owner :shall have exclusive right" to reproduce, distribute and use original works of expression fixed in a tangible medium. You can copyright written, musical, dramatic, pictorial, graphic and sculptural works, but not ideas, methods of operation, concepts or utilitarian ideas.
Definition: Law ensuring an individual's right to be left alone and can be violated if name, likeness, and/or information is used for commercial purposes. Securing permission from an individual protects PR professional
Right of Privacy
Definition: Law allowing use of parts of copyrighted materias without violating copyright laws and without paying a royalty fee when used for: criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or reserach
What are the two types of Copyright Law?
- 1. Common Law Copyright
- 2. Statutory Copyright
Definition: An author who creates a tangible expression of his or her idea immediately acquires common law copyright of work. This right continues until the author dedicates work to the public by a general publication, or surrenders common law right to obtain specific statutory copyright protection.
Common Law Copyright
Qualifications for Defamation:
- 1. Communicated to the public
- 2. Statement must be untrue (malice for public figure/negligence for private individual)
- 3. Identifies victim
- 4. Damage must be proven
Written of pictorial defamation
What is the standard applied by The New York Times vs. Sullivan?
Since a public figure puts him or herself out before the public, actual malice must be proven by a public figure.
Untruth that damages a reputation.
What are the five elements for Libel to be Actionable?
- 1. Defamation
- 2. Identification
- 3. Communications (publication/broadcast)
- 4. Fault (malice or negligence)
- 5. Damage (in absense of fault, provable damages or injury)
Spoken or verbal defamation (need not be spoken in a public setting)
Common Law derivitives:
Derives from historical rulings. No federal common law - each state has its own. Based on English common law 1,000+ years old.
Definition: Defines and punishes offenses against society. Requires "guilt beyond reasonable doubt." "Civil Law" has lower standards (preponderance of evidence) but resolves conflicts without government participation.
4-Part Test for First Amendment Protection of Commercial Speech
- 1. Concerns a lawful activity that does not mislead
- 2. It's a "protectable" issue within essence of First Amendment
- 3. Governmental interest substantial enough to justify regulation
- 4. Regulation directly advances the governmental interest without being excessive
Public Disclosure of Embarrassing Private Facts
Truth is not necessarily a defense here (medical info, sex-crime victim identity, name of juvenile offender, embarassing poses). Reputation need not be harmed.
Four Defenses for Libel
- 1. Truth (hard to prove)
- 2. Privilege (taken from a public document)
- 3. Fair Comment (must be related to community interest with subject and truth)
- 4. Retraction (full and prompt apology that helps mitigate damages)
Two Forms of Disclosure:
- 1. That which is mandated by statute
- 2. That which is required to aviod fraud
Defintion: Words, names and symbols used by companies to identify ad distinguish their goods or services from those of another.
Definition:Requires broadcasters to carry advertisements from political candidates without censorship, even when some might consider the content offensive. Supreme Court reuled under Section 15 that stations can't censor or limit what politicians say and they would have immunity for libel/slander.
Equal Time Rule
Definition: Legal wrongs. Defendant vs. plantiff under civil law. Rewards of general damages, special, punative, compensation for loss or injury and/or reimbursement for actual monetary loss.
4 Categories of Privacy Law
- 1. Intrusion (invading person's solitude/seclusion)
- 2. Public Disclosure (communication o private embarrassing facts)
- 3. False Light (false information that humiliates or causes mental anguish)
- 4. Appropriation (use of person's name or picture wothout consent)
Definition: Statutes and ordinances by legislative bodies (acts of Congress to City Councils). Recorded by subject in published codes.
Essence of the First Amendment
Congress shall make no law "abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of greievances."
What act regulates communications during political elections but also prohibits management from interfering with labor's right to organize and to bargain collectively once a union is established. Prohibits both unions and management from engaging in unfair labor practices.
Labor Management Relations Act 1947 (Taft-Hartley Act)
Definition: Rules and decisions of governmental agencies. Pertains to enforcement of regulated areas and activities such as communication (FCC), advertising/trade (FTC), public training of stocks (SEC) and communication between labor and management
Definition: US digital rights management law created to update copyright laws to deal with special challenges of regulating digital material. Broadly, the aim is to protect the rights of both copyright owners and consumers.
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
Defintion: Invading a person's solitude, such as taping without permission.
Definition: Legal term describing rights or entitlements that apply to the ownership and use of certain types of information, ideas or other concepts in an expressed form
Provides a comprehensive overview of a company. Must be filed within 60 days after the close of the company's fiscal year and contains crecial information, sucha s company history, organizational structure, equity, holdings, earnings per share, subsidaries, etc.
Quarterly financial report containing unauditer financial data. Due 35 days after the close of each of the first three fiscal quarters. There is no fling after the fourth quarter because that is when the 10-K is filed.
Document produced for the benefit of shareholders prior to the Annual Meeting of Shareholders so they can make informed decisions about matters due to be discussed at Annual Meeting.
Legislation covering corporate auditing accountability, responsibility, and transparency, including how information is disclosed.
Enacted following the 1929 stock market crash. Contain checks and balances for securities-related actions. Mandates disclosure to level the playing field fora ll investors. The law requires filing specific infomration with the SEC to make it available to the public.
Securities Ace of 1933/Security Exchange Act of 1934
Legal document that is written/checked by lawyers and must be complete, including potential negatives.
Shows how cash flows in and out of a company over a given period of time. This statement shows postitive or negative cash flow in operating, investing and financing activity.
Statement of Cash Flow
Requires all publicly traded companies to disclose material information to all investors at the same time.
Regulation Fair Disclosure, Regulation FD or Reg FD
Covers solicitation of proxies in the timeframe between sending the official statement and holding the annual meeting where the proxy voting occurs.
Section 14 of The Act of 1934
Filed for unscheduled material or corporate events of importance to the shareholders and SEC.
Concerns fraud in disclosure. An organization has the legal responsibility to ensure the information it releases is both accurate and complete, including in PR tactics.
Rule 10 B-5 of SEC 1934
Made it illegal to engage in activity that ruins competition. Overselling wording in news releases announcing acquistions and divestitures can be cited as violations.
Sherman/Clayton Ace / Robinson Putnam Act
Requires states lobbyists to register with the clerk of the house or the secretary of the senate between the firt and tenth day of each quarter
Federal Lobbying Act (1913)
Allows employees to choose from among different types of benefits.
Cafeteria Benefit Plan
Retirement plan creating an individual account for each employee. THe benefit the employee receives is based on the amount contributed and affected by income, expenses, gains and losses. Two common types of defined contrbution plans are the 4019(k) and 403(b) plans.
Defined Contribution Plan
Shows a firm's assets, liabilities and equity at a given point.
Requires PR professionals who represent a foreign government to register with the U.S. government.
Registration of Foreign Agents Acts of 1938
Retirement plan promising the employee a specific monthly benefit. The employee is usually not required to contribute to this plan in the private sector; however, in the public sector, employee contributions are required.
Defined Benefit Plan
Forms of retirement plans that provide income after retirement or disability.
Retirement plan allowing employees to invest on an after-tax basis and the earnings are tax-free when withdrawn.
Roth Retirement Plan
Measures a firm's profitability over a period of time. The firm can choose the length of its reporting time period, such as a month, a quarter or a year. Often called a profit/loss or P&L statement.
Voluntary retirement plans for employees of profit and public/not-for-profit organizations are known as 401(k) and 403(b) plans respectively.
401(k) and 403(b) retirement plans.
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