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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Laws of Public Relations

Public relations (PR) is critical for small business because it is an effective way to make their companies known by utilizing advertising, media sessions, blogs and press releases, to name a few. While the work of a PR officer can be both challenging and exciting, it is very important to ensure that you are familiar with all the applicable laws in order to avoid law suits. Such charges could ruin the status of the company as well as the career of the PR professional. It is the work of any competent PR specialist to know these laws because many small businesses depend on their expertise. 

Privacy. It may be ignorant to assume that it is a non-issue to attach the photo of any employee in a company bulletin or to share news concerning a certain employee with the media. Any business must ensure that they get express consent if they intend to use a worker’s photo in any kind of press statement. The best way to do this would be to make sure that the employee has signed a release form before any publication is made. Alternatively, they can ensure that the particular employee personally communicates with the media. 

Defamation. This refers to any destructive words said about a person that can damage or ruin his/her reputation, instigate financial damage or emotional suffering. A company can be sued for slander or defamation if they speak adversely of a competitor. It is also an act of defamation to speak negatively about someone else while trying to shift blame, depending on how it is done. A business can avoid these issues by ensuring their statements are accurate. 

Intellectual property. PR professionals tend to understand copyrights and trademarks. While trademarks are signs or words that classify a product that might be a company emblem, a copyright is the protection of any artistic work that is fixed, written or printed in a physical medium. “It would be a violation to use another company’s logo with the intention of making profit out of the particular company’s image or publicity,” said Mark Herman, a criminal defense attorney. “Any small company should ensure that they register for a trademark for any new emblem they create in order to get extra protection.” 

Deceptive Advertising. Deceptive advertising can mean the release of any false or dishonest information that a company uses to advertise their company or products through press releases, publication or broadcasts. An example is listing a product as being free when it isn’t or making up testimonials with negative and misleading information about a competitor. Small businesses should ensure that the information they give while making known their products or company is truthful and not larger-than-life.
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