Ethical and legal issues
You work at TalkBox, a company that develops and supports software solutions for workforce collaboration. Its vendors include a number of multinational corporations in English-speaking countries. TalkBox is considered a technology, media, and telecom (TMT) sector business; it has just completed its fifth year and is thus barely out of the startup phase. Its leaders recently realized its business practices may not be fully aligned with their ethical and legal vision, given that TalkBox had been struggling simply to succeed.
As the director of social responsibility at TalkBox, you’ve been asked to draft an employee handbook section that delineates ethical and legal guidelines for your company. You will create your company’s guidelines, which will be reviewed by the company’s legal counsel.
These guidelines will be the foundation for employee training at the monthly all-company meeting. In particular, public relations (PR) and marketing professionals need these guidelines; however, those employees have likely had coursework on this topic. Thus, your guidelines are truly for those at the company with no background or understanding of these issues, as their main focus has been business and software technology.
To create TalkBox’s ethical and legal guidelines, you first gathered the following information about what the document should include:
* An explanation of how professional codes of ethics guide the work of communication professionals. The introductory overview paragraph of your guidelines should explain how the document is used as well as its purpose.
* An explanation of copyright law and Creative Commons licensing
* What U.S. copyright law covers
* What categories of work are excluded
* What fair use is
* The potential impact of digital modification practices on company practices
* Manipulating news photos
* Explanations of relevant aspects of defamation law
* A discussion about confidential versus public sources of information. Additionally, discussion of the role of transparency as it relates to this issue.
* A description of privacy laws and what employees should do to avoid violating them
* Internal and external communications
* Protecting employee and customer private information
* An explanation of the potential impact of not following the guidelines
Preview one or more of the following codes of ethics (or one in the technology sector) to consider formatting, major themes, and wording for the ethical aspect of your guidelines:
* Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ)
* Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
* The Washington Post
* The New York Times
* International Association for Business Communicators (IABC)
* American Federation of Advertising (AFA)
* American Marketing Association (AMA)
What to Submit
For this project, you must submit the following:
Your document should clarify TalkBox’s ethical and legal guidelines in 2 to 3 pages.
The Guidelines must include the following:
Explains how ethical guidelines function and their purpose in the profession and potential impacts of not following guidelines
Explains U.S. copyright law (including exclusions and fair use) and Creative Commons licensing
Discusses the potential impact of digital modification practices on the company
Describes relevant aspects of defamation law
Evaluates the balance between confidential versus public sources of information
Assesses how privacy laws impact internal and external communication messages
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