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When writing persuasive pieces, remember to that it is your responsibility to uphold the law.  Proceeding in unfavorable acts such as providing false claims and/or using a person’s picture without permission can and will result in consequences.  If you are part of a client’s illegal activity, you are still liable.  In today’s society, you can no longer hide behind the phrase, “My client told me to do it.” 

Some illegal practices that tend to happen are libel and slander.  Libel is printing statements to subject a person to a bad reputation.  Whereas slander is doing the same but it is spoken.  Defamation is the mix of the two.  This all goes back to watching the context in which your language is used. 

Public relations practitioners should be familiar with laws pertaining to copyright and trademarks.  A copyright is protection of expressed ideas and creative work from unauthorized use.  For instance, all the Harry Potter books and any song that is written are copyrighted.  A trademark is anything pertaining to a product’s symbol, word and/or slogan.  For example, L’Oréal® Paris’ slogan is “Because you’re worth it.”  The Voluminous® line is a registered trademark of the company. Hence, the “R” with a circle around it. 

There are certain regulatory agencies that make sure that businesses and public relations practitioners follow these laws.  The Federal Trade Commission is in charge of making sure advertisements are not misleading and deceptive.  The Securities and Exchange Commission protects the financial information of public companies and their stockholders.  Everyone should be familiar of the Food and Drug Administration.  They are in charge of overseeing that the advertisements and promotions of any prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and cosmetics are not misleading and false.  Just make sure that the claims the you make in financial reports, new releases, advertisements, and pitch letters are have information supporting those claims.  Like journalists, stick to the facts and play up any products and services.  You can not fool the public.

Speaking of misleading advertisements, what advertisements do you feel are not 100 percent true?