Posts Tagged ‘American Forest Foundation’


Broadcast Copyright Case Headed to Supreme Court

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014
flickr user dbking under CC BY license

flickr user dbking under CC BY license

There’s yet another news aggregator copyright case to keep your eye on – and this one will be in the Supreme Court. In 2012, ABC (American Broadcasting Companies, a consortium of television broadcasters) filed suit against Aereo, a service that transmits over-the-air TV signals using tiny antennas that allow users to watch online streaming broadcasts. Aereo subscribers pay a monthly fee, but Aereo has no paid licensing with broadcasters.

ABC v. Aereo seems like another of the many publisher-versus-aggregator news appropriation cases we’ve covered, only this time it’s broadcast television. The case has been going on for a while, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on April 22.

The most recent press has been full of support for ABC; both the U.S. copyright office and the Department of Justice filed an amicus brief stating that Aereo is infringing on broadcast copyright. Add to that two of the nation’s foremost legal experts on copyright law, UCLA School of Law professor David Nimmer and UC Berkeley School of Law Professor Peter Menell also filed a brief in support of the broadcasters. And then add the amicus brief filed by the National Football League and Major League Baseball, who receive about a hundred million dollars from broadcasters for licensing from cable in addition to potentially billions of dollars in retransmission fees for sports rights.

One would think things were looking good for ABC, but keep in mind that in the initial case in March, 2012, the judge ruled in favor of Aereo, a ruling that was upheld in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Without delving into all the legal rules and technical precedents, this is an interesting case because while it looks like classic publisher-vs-aggregator, the fact that it’s broadcast (which has had to deal with the advent of Beta Max, VCRs, and DVRs) and not written-word news content makes this an entirely different ballgame.

What does that mean for the PR pro? It means that despite the abundance of copyright cases and rulings, copyright is still a convoluted issue, and it’s still of the utmost importance to understand not only fair use, but other copyright implications as well. It’s also yet another reminder that though licensing may seem expensive, it’s important and vital to our industry that relies so heavily on media content and the continued success of media outlets.

It will be interesting to see how the case plays out and how the Supreme Court rules, but either way, the ruling could spell out a new future for broadcasting and copyright.

Create Goodwill to Gain Brand Advocates

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Create Goodwill to Gain Brand Advocates Ellis Friedman BurrellesLuce Fresh IdeasWith the propagation of innovative content and target marketing, e-newsletters, and social media outreach, it’s easy to overlook the brands that nurture and build their brand base through good old-fashioned upfront, in-person investment.

It’s a pretty simple scenario: give a small service for free and create goodwill to nurture a returning, loyal customer.

It’s a sinking feeling to walk out to your car and realize you have a flat tire, and I experienced that special feeling on last weekend. I changed my tire the following and expected the worst when I took it in to Discount Tire. I anticipated more sinking feelings to surface when it came time to pay the bill; instead, I walked out only an hour later with a patched tire and no bill.

Discount Tire didn’t charge me for the time and labor it took to repair and reattach the tire; they just smiled and asked that when I need new tires, I come to them, which I certainly will.

I didn’t walk out of there happy just because I didn’t have to pay a bill – I felt satisfied because Discount Tire seemed to be a brand that’s not just aiming for transactions, but aiming to foster goodwill and make all the special car feelings a little less frustrating. Instead of seeking transactions for small services they could charge for, they take the long view that happy customers make repeat customers.

I mentioned this to my dad, an admitted curmudgeon and the one who told me to go to Discount Tire, and he told me: “Discount Tire deprives me of things to complain about. Fortunately, there are still politicians.”

In an age where people take to Twitter to complain about brands, it’s a huge achievement to provide a complaint-free experience, and immensely notable to provide a positive one. I didn’t tweet Discount Tire (until publishing this blog) because as a marketer, I feel that experiencing positive programs warrants something more substantive than 140 characters.

While it’s impossible to make everyone totally satisfied all the time, Discount Tire shows that their business model is centered on the customer experience and leaving a positive impression, and it’s come back to them many-fold. Forbes lists its 2013 revenue as $3.7 billion and it’s number 118 on the Forbes list of America’s Largest Private Companies.

It’s not every organization that can give away a product or service for free, but there are plenty of great examples: Sephora’s rewards program is a classic loyalty program that stands out because they give out high-quality samples the customer can choose after a certain attainable spending threshold. Trader Joe’s provides free coffee – a real perk when you’re shopping after a long day at work.

Capturing brand loyalty can seem like a formidable task in a time when everyone’s throwing out lower prices, more deals, and more rewards programs. But it’s important not to forget the simple act of treating your customers with goodwill and creating a good impression – because that goodwill will return to you in the form of their business and their brand advocacy.

Privacy on the Internet: What Every Communicator Should Know

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011
Flickr Image: o5com

Flickr Image: o5com

Privacy laws remain the same, even in electronic mediums. Many organizations think the rules might be different, but actually the same rules apply. This was a key point from the National Capital Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA-NCC) September 13 professional development panel.

The expert panel included:

Brigitte Johnson, PRSA-NCC president and director of communications and executive editor at American Forest Foundation
Randy Barrett, communications director, Center for Public Integrity
Justin Brookman, director, Consumer Privacy Project, Center for Democracy & Technology
Christian Olsen, vice president for the Digital and Social Media team at Levick Strategic Communications

All the panelists reminded the audience about the importance of being transparent regarding who you are representing when pitching online media.

Barrett commented on the concerns of media and journalists. Media outlets try to avoid the appearance of any kind of bias and ask their journalists to be careful of whom they “like” on Facebook. Journalists should also always identify themselves when on social media, verify all social media leads and remember social media posts are discoverable in court.

Always disclose who is behind a post, because transparency is key says Brookman. He recommended looking at why and how much secondary data you might be collecting and be sure to disclose how it will be used. You should try to avoid unnecessary collection. He used the example of mobile apps, which can often have access to all the data on the phone. Olsen agreed and commented on how he removed the Facebook app from his smartphone, because he thought Facebook went too far when his entire address book of phone numbers imported to his Facebook account.

Public relations professionals have an obligation to counsel clients on how to be transparent in social media. Olsen encouraged the audience to understand the rules of the various platforms and said everyone needs to be monitoring what is being said through various tools, whether that be a free or paid tool(s).  But as good as tools might be, it’s important to have someone, who has an understanding of the industry as well as social media, reviewing the information.

PRSA-NCC president Johnson reviewed the code of ethics for several professional organizations and found they all had truth, honesty, and fairness as the basis for the codes. She commented that we are all guided by our ethics, first, so don’t ignore them. She encouraged all to work to stop the idea of being spin pros.

How do you counsel clients on privacy and transparency? Are their examples you can share with the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas readers?

New Tools Dominate the Conversation at PRSA International

Friday, October 31st, 2008

BurrellesLuce‘s launch of iMonitor at the PRSA International Conference in Detroit this week included a reception, where I caught-up with Brigitte Johnson of the American Forest Foundation, Washington DC. We are in the same chapter, and I was curious to learn her thoughts on the conference. Brigitte was attending in as many of the social media sessions as she could, in hopes of planning a social media strategy for her organization.

As we talked, we started brainstorming on ideas and steps for her plan. She told me they just signed-up for BurrellesLuce iMonitor, and I said it would be good for doing some “listening” on what other organizations are doing and finding out where the conversations are happening. Since they want to target younger members, we discussed Facebook as a tool. If she joined Facebook, she would start by reviewing how other groups are using it. The American Forest Foundation already partners with other environmental groups on some initiatives, so expanding the partnership into social media should be a natural extension of their current work. We also discussed the American Forest Foundation creating their own Facebook group to promote their initiatives and expand membership.

American Forest Foundation has had an e-newsletter, and Brigitte hopes to revive it. I encouraged her to use Twitter to comment and link to new editions. She could also promote it on their new Facebook page. Both efforts would drive traffic to the American Forest Foundation web site, and move them up on the search engines.

Since it was the iMonitor reception, I encouraged Brigitte to use iMonitor to monitor the increased web coverage of their organization, which she can put into reports with her print coverage to board members. She could also compare her coverage to other key organization in the environmental space, and track her increased coverage.

I am looking forward to seeing Brigitte back in Washington, DC, so we can continue our conversation. I wish her great success with her planning.