Legal Rights

Taking a New Measure

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These articles were prepared for the November 15, 2000 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

For Writers, New Blocks

For most people writing home to mom and dad is a writing

challenge in itself. Professional writers working in the new interactive

media can find plenty of variations on the old writers’ block: How

will their words play out — in print, video, graphics, and animation?

The Princeton chapter of Moving Image Professionals assembles a panel

on Wednesday, November 15, to sort out the issues in this new medium.

As the press release asks, "Is there one tried and true way to

structure content and write for interactive media?"

The meeting will be Wednesday, November 15, beginning with dinner

at 6:30 p.m. at the Olive Garden restaurant on Route 1 in Lawrenceville.

The presentation starts at 7:15 p.m. For directions, visit www.movingimage.org.

Or call Dennis Nobile, president of Moving Image Professionals,

at 609-716-1737. Free admission for MIP/ITVA members; others are $10.

On the panel: John Loven, who designed his first interactive

program for Strawbridge and Clothier stores in 1983 and since then

has produced or designed more than 160 interactive multimedia programs;

Victor Davis, who began his career in video, at NBC and NJN,

and then became a corporate video producer for such companies as GE,

Unisys and Lucent; Lena Lattanzi, an interactive industry veteran

with experience in program development, graphic design, project management,

and instructional design; and Robert Gengerke, whose New York-based

firm, Magic Box Communications, produces interactive programs for

training, public relations, and trade shows.

The moderator: Andy Kienzle, director of content solutions for

RAC Productions at 182 Nassau Street.

Among the topics on the agenda:

Key differences between writing for interactive media and print, video,

live presentations; steps for organizing content; how much technical

knowledge of programming is required to write effectively; challenges

in recasting information from other media; differences between CD-ROMs

and websites; and elements that make websites effective.

Thursday, November 16

Top Of Page
Legal Rights

On the Internet

In cyberspace, no one can hear you scream. That’s why

it’s important to know where you stand legally when you start to do

business on the Internet. Attorney Richard Ravin, head of the

E-Commerce and Intellectual Property Group of the law firm of Hartman

& Winnicki in Paramus, speaks to the issue of "The Internet, the

Law and Your Legal Rights," at a free seminar sponsored by the

New Jersey State Bar Foundation, the educational and philanthropic

arm of the New Jersey State Bar Association.

The seminar will be held Thursday, November 16, from 7 to 9 p.m. at

the New Jersey Law Center, off Ryder Lane, in New Brunswick. Woodbury

attorney Allan Richardson and Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott

Christie will also be featured. Advanced registration is required.

To register, call 1-800-FREE-LAW, or go to www.njsbf.org.

Ravin has been interested in E-law for several years. "I had been

practicing commercial law for many years, and then I personally discovered

the Internet around 1995," he says. "I realized that this

was where business was headed, and that in order to practice business

law I needed to learn as much as possible about Internet law. Before

long I was giving the seminars and representing clients with various

Internet issues. Now it’s the majority of my practice."

Ravin is a graduate of Syracuse University and the Newhouse School

of Public Communications, and took his law degree at Nova Southeastern

University School of Law. He is currently the co-chair of the Internet

law Committee of the New York Bar Association’s Intellectual Property

Law Section. He is also a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s

Intellectual Property Law Section and lectures for the New Jersey

Institute for Continuing Legal Education, the Venture Association

of New Jersey, and the New York State Bar Association. He has written

many articles on Internet law.

Ravin defines E-commerce as "doing business electronically: communicating

electronically, advertising electronically, entering into contracts

electronically — that’s that area that is going to develop over

the next few years. But one cannot and should not think about E-commerce

without thinking about privacy concerns, database security, and database

privacy." Ravin lists several areas that are of prime importance

to anyone doing business on the Internet:

Intellectual properties in cyberspace. If you own and

wish to control your website and domain name, it’s very important

to know that the contents and inventions that come out of your website

may not belong to you. If you hire a website designer and you do not

exercise control over the content, the ownership of the copyright

can fall to the designer or subcontractor.

Franchise agreements and arrangements. Many franchise

agreements provide that the franchisee has the right to exclusively

advertise in a particular area; a retail franchise will normally get

geographic exclusivity. But with the Internet, if one franchise goes

on the web, he could be invading other franchisers’ territory. And

what if the franchiser sells retail on its website? Many of these

franchise arrangements existed before anyone thought of the Internet,

and the courts are in the procedure of sorting it out.

Copyright and linking arrangements. Linked sites come

in two categories: referring sites and referred sites. If you link

to another site, and that site has engaged in copyright infringement,

you could be liable for copyright infringement too. The same is true

of defamatory statements.

In the same way, framing can be problematic. Framing is the process

of sending people to a linked site by framing the original site so

that the viewer never really leaves it while looking at the referred

site. However, the referring site can now be considered as a publisher,

and liable for claims and statements made on the referred site. And

if the referring site, by the framing process, is blocking out advertisements

from the second site, the first site could be liable. Deep linking

(linking deep into another site and bypassing the main page) could

also bypass disclaimers and terms for services.

The Federal E-sign Law. This law, which took effect October

1, says that any notice (an eviction, for example) which legally has

to be in writing can now be given electronically. The law is vague

and leaves the courts to determine what constitutes reasonable notice,

verification of a delivered notice, and other ramifications. There

are exceptions — wills, for example, cannot be E-mailed.

Privacy statements on the Internet. Ultimately, says Ravin,

the world will go the way of the European Union Privacy Directive.

That directive states that before collectors of data use any personal

information (name, phone, habits) collected on the Internet, they

must disclose to the subject what the information is to be used for,

and must get permission to use it. This directive specifically excludes

telling people that they are giving permission by not saying no —

they must specifically say yes. No country in the European Union can

export data to a country without proof that the other nation has as

stringent protection as this. Ravin believes that there will be similar

laws set up in the U.S., so you might as well set up your website

now to reflect this trend.

Personal jurisdiction. This is a big issue in cyberspace:

An Ohio viewer clicks to a New Jersey website via a Pennsylvania server.

Whose law applies? That partly depends how interactive the website

is. Is it a passive website? Is the customer entering into agreements,

submitting purchase orders, or using a credit card number?

Common sense should, and hopefully will, prevail on the Internet,

says Ravin. Just don’t do anything you wouldn’t do in the bricks and

mortar world. "People think that because the Internet is free

and open territory they can say and do what they want. It’s just not

true. Copyright infringement, bulletin board libel, harassment by

spammimg — they’ll all get you into trouble; and you in your turn

are protected against them. Just like in the real world."

— David McDonough

Friday, November 17

Top Of Page
Taking a New Measure

For Business Success

The game has changed. The way people are managed is

a much greater source of competitive advantage than ever before,"

says Mark A. Huselid, associate professor of human resource

management in the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations.

Though human resources departments have moved into the 21st century,

says Huselid, accounting finance departments are stuck in the 19th

century: "The way firms measure and report what they are doing

is linked to a measurement system invented 150 years ago. For an industrial

age company, conventional metrics work great, but for a new software

startup, they don’t."

Huselid will give a class entitled "The HRM Scorecard: Criteria

for `Valuation’ of Your HRM Assets," on Friday, November 17, from

8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Rutgers Center for Management Development

on Rockafeller Road. This lecture is third in the Human Resources

"Hot Topic Faculty Speaker" fall series. Cost: $375 including

breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon networking session. Register at

732-445-5526 or call Bonnie Westbrook at 732-445-5448. The next

session in the series is attorney Barbara A. Lee, dean of the

School of Management and Labor Relations, speaking on "Managing

Organizational Liability and Reducing Exposure in Handling Whistleblowers"

on Friday, December 8.

Huselid’s book "The HR Scorecard: Linking People, Strategy, and

Performance," has been co-authored by Brian Becker of SUNY

Buffalo and David Ulrich of the University of Michigan and is

due out in March from the Harvard Business School Press. He also edits

the Human Resource Management Journal (www.rci.rutgers.edu/~huselid).

A graduate of California State at Fresno, Class of ’86, Huselid has

two master’s degrees from Kansas State, and a PhD from SUNY Buffalo.

His parents were entrepreneurs with a parts distribution business,

and he himself ran a machine shop for eight years. He is also an avid

drag racer and though he has curtailed his racing career, he is even

now building a car. He and his wife, a professor at Hunter College,

live in Princeton Junction and have two preschool children.

Organizational number-crunchers realized 10 years ago that their metrics

could only tell what did happen, says Huselid, and that they couldn’t

tell what is going to happen. They began to try to measure

intangibles: How does HR create value? What is it, where is it, and

how can we measure it? "We are developing measurement systems

to track that. We are extending the idea that intangibles and people

matter."

Then in 1996 Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton came

up with some answers in the best selling business book, "The Balanced

Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action" (Harvard Business

School Press, $29.95). Even now this book is in the top 400 best-selling

books of Amazon.com and the authors’ follow-up title ("The Strategy-Focused

Organization: How Balanced Scorecard Companies Thrive in the New Business

Environment," September, 2000) is in the top 100 sellers on Amazon.

Huselid explains the concept. "If you are an R&D company and you

know that one of the key drivers of your success is cycle time for

new products, our approach would ask, What are the HR types of things

that could drive cycle time?"

These factors are not generic to every company, Huselid says. "The

hard part is deciding what creates value, getting a sense of what

things you need to do to drive business success." Once you get

answers on what the key factors are, then you need to collect the

data and figure out how to present that data to the management team.

At an R&D company, for example, the driving factors might be attracting

and retaining talent, promoting workers quickly, giving workers cross

training so they don’t leave, and offering incentives for them to

stay.

For another company, the crucial factor might be to help employees

know where they fit in the organizations. "How employees understand

their roles and their contribution to the firm’s success — that

is a leading indicator of success," says Huselid.

A factor like understanding roles can be measured by survey data and

monthly random polls, but what the company really needs to do is weave

employee understanding throughout its company culture.

Have company meetings.

Put "nested" goal setting systems in place. (If

you work for me and meet your goal, that helps me meet my goals).

Install incentives that align everybody’s behavior. You

might key variable pay to the number of new patents generated or the

shortening of product to market cycles.

In one famous case, Sears Roebuck pulled itself out of a deep

slough in the early ’90s. "They spent money going through the

conventional mission statements and it didn’t change anybody’s behavior,"

says Huselid. "Then officers went to the stores and asked the

employees `What’s your job.’"

They were dismayed by the standard answer: "We’re trying to protect

the company’s assets." In other words, the salespeople were putting

their energy into preventing shoplifting, not boosting sales.

Executives then asked the salespeople how much the company kept out

of every dollar spent in the stores. The usual answer was 40 cents,

but the real answer is closer to two cents. In other words, they had

a very low level of understanding what they were supposed to be doing.

At that point Arthur Martinez, the CEO, and Tony Rucci,

who was senior vice president of PR, developed a measurement system,

not only to help employees understand the system but to track their

progress. They used a learning map, a 4-by-6 foot graphical representation

of key business problems. For cash flow, for instance, they used an

illustration of water flowing from a faucet.

Rucci is no longer with Sears, but the results of this strategy made

business history. As Kaplan & Norton say in their newest book, "Measurement

creates focus for the future because the measures chosen by managers

communicate to the organization what is important."


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