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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 Amazon.com 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.
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
you should send another copy.
copies on a regular basis.
can get copies on a regular basis.
wants to know what was wrong. Offer to write a letter to the editor.
call to have the direct quotes read back.
pass on. Give it to editorial. Talk to editorial.
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.
It’s a question almost everyone has pondered — how
do you find the good stuff on the Internet without spending many fruitless
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 (www.davidvineassociates.com)
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 (www.softkey.com),
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
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.
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."
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.
<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.
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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