Kind & Gentle PR: Barbara Fox

Is There Intelligent Life on the Internet?

Hothouse Environments: Larry Cohen

RVCC to Fairleigh

Corporate Angels

Donate Please

Corrections or additions?

Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on May 10, 2000. All rights reserved.

Who Owns Your Website?: Marc Friedman


Can your website hosting service hold your website hostage?

Can your website developer sell your design to a competitor? Does

your website infringe on a patent? All these are possibilities, says

Marc Friedman, an attorney with Friedman Siegelbaum in Roseland,

who speaks on "Websites: Critical Issues Analysis," on Tuesday,

May 16, at 11:30 a.m. at the Westin in Morristown. Call 973-631-5680.

A founding partner of Friedman and Siegelbaum, Friedman specializes

in Internet, E-commerce, and high technology litigation, and pioneered

computer law more than 20 years ago. He has a BA in philosophy from

George Washington University, Class of 1980, and a law degree from

Johns Hopkins University.

If you own a website, you want to have a specific contract in place

with your web hosting service that will enable you to switch services

if you choose to do so, says Friedman. "The web host can hold

it hostage," says Friedman. "An agreement does not ensure

that you can liberate it, but it gives you certain privileges. The

website hosting service actually exercises dominion and control over

the data, so a web operator needs a carefully drafted web hosting

agreement that says when he can move it to another location."

Likewise, web developers, by law, own the intellectual property rights

associated with a website — the code, the look, the feel of the

website — unless otherwise indicated in a work-for-hire agreement,

which establishes company ownership of all of the intellectual property

rights associated with the website. In theory, without a work-for-hire

agreement, your web developer could sell several features of your

website to a competitor, but perhaps more importantly, a company should

own all the intellectual property associated with its website so that

it can be improved in the future.

Businesses also have to consider the issue of patent violations as

well, which became front page news when sued Barnes & Noble

for using its unique "one-click" purchasing feature. Internet

patents are both good and bad news for businesses. "We have found

instances where clients have come in with websites that were well

under way and would have infringed on some kind of patent," he

says. "A patent lawyer who has experience with website development

can intuit whether there’s an infringement, and can also determine

if there’s any part of our client’s website that may be patentable.

You are much better off owning a patent than not owning a patent —

the patent itself has a deterring effect on competition."

The globalization of commerce enabled by the Internet has also created

more situations in which companies get sued by a foreign court, says

Friedman. "Suppose you are L.L. Bean, located in Freeport, Maine,

and I place an order in New Jersey over your website for a kayak,"

says Friedman. "It’s shipped to me in New Jersey and it turns

out to be defective and I suffer some personal injury. L.L. Bean could

very well be sued in New Jersey if it hadn’t taken the appropriate


The appropriate measures, in this case, would be a "terms of agreement"

that customers must click on before making a purchase that requires

any lawsuits be brought to court in the state where the website is

operated. "The safest way to guard against being sued in some

foreign jurisdiction is to have a law firm qualified in these kinds

of affairs prepare an agreement before any communication can take

place over the website," says Friedman. For E-commerce sites,

this is essential; for websites that deal purely in information, so-called

"passive" sites, this is not essential, says Friedman, but

it doesn’t hurt to have a disclaimer in any case.

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Kind & Gentle PR: Barbara Fox

Amateurs may be able to get away with pestering editors

with repeated useless phone calls, says Barbara Fox, senior

editor of U.S. 1 Newspaper, but PR pros or semi-pros can’t, "because

when it’s time to pitch another story some of us may be less enthusiastic

about taking your call."

Good PR tactics and manners will be covered at "Making Your Company

Newsworthy," the next New Jersey Association of Women Business

Owners meeting, on Thursday, May 18, at 6 p.m. at the Palmer Inn.

Fox will join newspaper women Susan Briggs, editor of the Princeton

Packet’s Business Journal, and Anita Shaffer, business editor

of the Times of Trenton. Call 609-924-7975. Cost: $34.

A journalist with 20 years of bylines in Baltimore, Philadelphia,

Pittsburgh, and Trenton dailies, Fox has been reporting on business

and technology in the Princeton corridor since 1987. She has a BA

in English from Duke, Class of 1961.

Since most publications have a unique angle, they also may have different

criteria for selecting their stories and the kind of information they

need in their press release. The first thing PR people need to do

is their homework: read the publication, find out what formula they

use. An example: "For most newspapers, provide the hometown for

each person you talk about, but for U.S. 1, tell us where that person

works — the company and the street address," says Fox.

When you write the press release, remember to provide the kind of

facts that are typically conveyed in the publication’s stories, and

don’t worry too much about how it looks. "The press release format

doesn’t matter for U.S. 1," says Fox. "Just get it down on

a piece of paper. Give us more detail rather than less." For U.S.

1’s day-by-day calendar, be sure to include the cost of the event.

"At U.S. 1 we feel that’s noteworthy," she says. "If other

newspapers don’t run ticket prices, they can omit them."

Take into consideration the logical timeline for the publication,

depending on whether it is a daily, weekly, or monthly. The further

apart the editions, the more time goes into planning. "We all

want information, good information, but U.S. 1 wants it earlier rather

than later," says Fox. Events should come in at least a week ahead

of time for U.S. 1’s day-by-day calendar. Business or feature story

ideas need to be articulated at the very least two weeks in advance.

Remember that editorial and advertising are clearly separated in the

newspaper business, says Fox. Don’t approach editorial with an ad,

or advertising sales people with editorial unless you want to lose

your audience quickly. "Don’t use the word `ad’ when you are talking

to an editor," she advises.

While editors are used to being pressured and prodded by their sources,

and while publications often need your cooperation as much as you

need theirs, you can still attract more journalistic bees with honey

than with vinegar. Here are some ways to sweeten your dealings with

the press:

Don’t ask if a reporter got the press release. Ask if

you should send another copy.

Don’t ask when the editor will run it. Ask if more information

is needed.

Don’t ask if it ran. Ask how you can make sure to get

copies on a regular basis.

Don’t ask the editor to send you a copy. Ask where you

can get copies on a regular basis.

Don’t neglect to notify editors of an error. The editor

wants to know what was wrong. Offer to write a letter to the editor.

Don’t ask to see a story. If you must, ask if you can

call to have the direct quotes read back.

Don’t give your info to the ad department for them to

pass on. Give it to editorial. Talk to editorial.

Even if you do all these things right, there are no guarantees

that your story will make it to print, says Fox. "Realize that

every newspaper has space problems," she says. "Out of 335

events in a recent time period, U.S. 1 editors assigned or wrote stories

on only 12 of those events, and an additional 30 were able to get

an extended listing or a photo." The opposite side of that story,

however, is that newspaper often need to fill space, so don’t hesitate

to send your press release in, particularly if it’s timely.

Top Of Page
Is There Intelligent Life on the Internet?

It’s a question almost everyone has pondered — how

do you find the good stuff on the Internet without spending many fruitless

hours surfing?

Author David Vine set out to solve that problem, and in his

newly-released book, "Internet Business Intelligence," presents

at least one solution. Vine developed a system he calls "Internet

Business Intelligence System," or IBIS, a hybrid of traditional

knowledge management systems with data mining techniques for getting

at the Web’s most valuable data sources. "The ability to rapidly

locate and acquire data is a cornerstone of the IBIS," writes

Vine, who comes to Barnes and Noble in MarketFair Thursday, May 18,

at 7 p.m. Call 609-897-9250.

A journalist during the 1960s, Vine (

holds a business degree from Thomas Edison State College, and an MBA

from Rowan. He’s been running a consulting practice since 1982, and

has written for several computer trade press and management publications

prior to penning "Internet Business Intelligence."

In this 400-page book, Vine attempts to cover a lot of terrain, beginning

with basic definitions of a "web browser" or "search engine"

for the Internet neophyte, to more detailed descriptions of newsgroups

and shareware. Vine’s major contribution is a theoretical framework,

which he calls PROActive, for tapping information from various sources

and implementing them in a business, and several descriptions of software

tools that can help businesses organize information constructively.

PROActive, he writes, is "a methodology derived from centuries-old

warrior strategies but updated for the new millennium. This update

encompasses technology and ever-greater flows of digital information.

This process includes Planning, Rapidly obtaining required information;

Organizing the information and Analyzing it; then Communicating it

by translating, interpreting, verifying, and evaluating information

throughout the process." In short, Vine lays out the basic principles

of knowledge management.

He explains various tools on the market for capturing data. He includes

everything from Microsoft Excel, to OrgChart by Softkey (,

to IBM’s Decision Edge, a complete end-to-end business intelligence

solution. The descriptions are to-the-point, and well-served by some

illustrations of the basic interface.

This survey of the Internet is interweaved with descriptions of basic

business concepts, such as marketing or benchmarking, that are not

only unnecessary, but tiresomely long-winded. If the book is written

for the complete novice, which this feature seams to indicate, Vine’s

use of acronyms (IBIS, LMDS) and lofty, technical language is likely

to scare people away, especially if they can pick-up "Internet

for Dummies" instead. Take, for example, Vine’s cryptic definition

of "problem solving:"

"Solving a problem means finding an appropriate way to cross a

gap. When there is little uncertainty one can utilize optimizing methods.

Dominance relations among alternatives, specification of the order

of importance of alternatives, and additive weighting given to more

important properties are optimizing methods. A non-optimizing method

called "satisficing" includes finding the first satisfactory alternative."

"Internet Business Intelligence" also faces the very problem

it purports to solve: with over 500 pages of tangential information,

how do you get the good stuff without fruitless hours wasted?

— Melinda Sherwood

Top Of Page
Hothouse Environments: Larry Cohen

There’s a reason that newsrooms are open space —

businesses that deal in information have to foster communication.

Likewise, businesses thriving in an information-based economy might

be wise to follow the newsroom model: be open, fluid, and flexible,

says Larry Cohen, senior consultant for workplace strategies

at Steelcase in New York, a company that provides office solutions.

"If you look at the older offices, the cubicles are on the inside

and the panels are about 65 inches high — it’s a very isolating

experience," says Cohen. "What we see today is that private

offices are now on the inside of the building, and workspaces are

on the exterior so they get the natural light. Panels have dropped

and that’s creating an environment that fosters communication, so

you tend to get a faster flow of ideas, product development, and customer


On Friday, May 19, at 8 a.m. Steelcase joins Office Interiors of Hainesport,

(609-702-5882) to present, "HotHouse Environments: Fostering Breakthrough

Innovations," a seminar on how interior design and planning can

foster greater productivity. The meeting is at the Doral Forrestal.

Call 908-252-6027.

Steelcase’s methodology in interior design focuses on three things:

nurturing the individual, cultivating interaction, and propagating

knowledge. "A good example, by the way, is Bristol Myers Squibb,"

says Cohen, who has a business degree from NYU, Class of 1978, and

went back to school for interior design after selling computers at

IBM for seven years. "The private offices were moved to the inside

and the walls they used can be stacked and destacked. Some people

need more privacy — the point is that it’s adaptable."

Embedded technology is also a key feature of today’s office equipment,

and many companies are using raised floors to accommodate cables associated

with the technology. "It’s very prevalent in Europe," he says,

"and it’s becoming more predominant here."

Top Of Page
RVCC to Fairleigh

Beginning this fall, students admitted to Raritan Valley

Community College will automatically be granted admission to Fairleigh

Dickinson University. The joint admission and degree completion program

allows students to simultaneously apply to RVCC and FDU, and upon

graduation from the community college, enter FDU with junior standing.

Raritan Valley also has joint admission programs with Rutgers, Montclair

State, Centenary College, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Cedar

Crest College, Kean University, and Thomas Edison State College, and

offers masters program courses from Seton Hall, NJIT, and FDU on its

campus. Call 908-218-8860.

Top Of Page
Corporate Angels

<B>Bristol-Myers Squibb is making a land donation

along the Stony Brook to create a Mercer County Greenways trail. The

trail will be a key link in a planned Greenways walkway from the Stony

Brook Watershed in Hopewell Township through Pennington and Mercer

County Park Northwest. The announcement will be made this Wednesday,

May 10, at 11 a.m. at Bristol-Myers’ Hopewell facility.

GTECH Corporation on Route 130 has donated the computers, online

technology, software and volunteer hours needed for the Trenton YMCA

to open a state-of-the-art computer center at its Pennington Avenue

facility. The new facility is part of the YMCA’s after school program,

and officials hope it will close the digital divide that exists in

many urban areas. Call 609-599-9622.

Top Of Page
Donate Please

The Central New Jersey Council of the Boy Scouts

of America needs funds for its scouting program in New Jersey,

a program that serves more than 15,000 young people. A major gift

as a benefactor ($3,000) or sponsor ($2,500) includes multiple tickets

to the Good Scout Award ceremony on Wednesday, May 31, at the Princeton

Marriott, plus a full-page ad in the event program. Tickets are also

available for $125 each. Call 609-419-1600.

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