Sent: 1/8/97; 11:24:17 AM
From: email@example.com (Patricia Meier)
This raises a whole issue that we PR people are dealing with. While we dislike intensely playing favorites, we sometimes provide exclusives to a number of different publications online and print (and broadcast) each with a different spin on a breaking story such as financial, technology, consumer, retail channel and business. Literally within moments of such news being posted on one 'zine's web site, it becomes fair game for anyone else's.
No doubt the Web makes it very easy to pluck graphics and information from here and there and call it your own. It can sometimes be very handy, for instance when we want to put a client's logo on our web site along with a news release. Appropriating information is fair game, too, it seems. I suppose the editors feel that once something is posted on one web site it's the same as the vendor putting the news release on BusinessWire or PR Newswire for all to see. Such is the democratization of the Web. We're probably all better off for it as we are more informed faster and through a greater variety of media.
But mailing lists are another matter. We consider our mailing list part of our equity and we pepper it with fictitious names that list addresses at our homes. I recently had an incident where an employee I had hired six months earlier misappropriated our list while she was working in our office and gave it to a digital audio company in the Pacific Northwest. The employee did not last longer than a month at our company. Later, when a piece of PR mail from the Pacific Northwest company came to me with a certain code name in the address, I knew immediately what had happened. Needless to say, the woman will never ever work for me again. She might not even know that I know but as far as I'm concerned, she is a thief.
It would have been one thing if Computist had asked your permission to use your list. We lend ours out on occasion for the one-time mailing that we feel would be appreciated by the recipients and have the sender sign a contract describing the contents of the mailing and the one-time usage agreement. The only way to protect yourself, Dave, is to place your mailing list in the bcc: field of your e-mail and send the newsletter to: yourself.
In closing, I am flattered to be in such esteemed company as is on your distribution list and it's nice to know who you consider your peers. It's just that some people make it their business to ride the coattails of leaders and such, it seems, is the case with Computist. C'est la vie. Pat
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