Re: Ethics of reusing vendor's help material -- copyright issue or commonplace practice?
Is it commonplace or questionable to reuse a vendor's help material nearly verbatim to customize a smaller guide more focused on our audience?
Why not get the vendor's permission to use the material. That would save you problems with copyright laws and potential lawsuits. Depending on the quantity of guides you produce, the vendor may only ask that you identify them as the creators of the material. If there are a lot of guides that will use the materials, they may ask you to purchase them in bulk for a nominal costs.
Get the vendor's permission to use and modify the section.
For example, our company recently purchased software that comes with a 384 page user guide. Our users will only need about 40 pages of this. I want to copy these 40 pages, change it a little to fit with our style guide, and brand it without own documentation template. However, I plan to leave the wording and screenshots mostly as is.
If we've purchased this software, is it still a copyright issue? Even if so, is it common practice in the tech comm. field to do this? Any recommendations for me?If the software you purchased has a purchase agreement like Microsoft, you did not actually purchase the software, only the right to use the software.
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