Re: Clarifying: Charging for Softcopies

Subject: Re: Clarifying: Charging for Softcopies
From: "Eric Haddock, Q.P." <ehaddock -at- ENGAGENET -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 1997 09:58:47 -0500

>Occasionally, we have clients (typically, the international
>governments) who ask for a copy (file copy) of each manual on diskette.
>they are asking for the copyright.

Asking for the copyright? You mean they want to include sections of your
manuals in their products and they want the electronic versions of your
manuals so they don't have to retype or re-illustrate things themselves?
If it's copyright-related, shouldn't your legal people determine the
price for it? I'm surprised that you, a documentation manager, is being
asked to set the price for so purely legal. It's no wonder you don't know
what price to set--I wouldn't either. It's like asking us to decide how
much the product itself should cost. I have no idea. $1000 per manual you
provide plus some kind of royalty system? How many copies is the other
company going to produce? How about...$10/copy per 500 words of text and
$10 for each illustration? It really depends on how much work your company
put into it and how large the other company is, and how many people are
going to see your work, and whether or not you are going to be credited for
the illustrations and text. The larger everything is, the more you should
I would try to get in writing that this other company is going to handle
technical support--not you. If it's in their manual, it's their

>Is this a rare thing--for clients to ask for the softcopy?

Not here. I've emailed copies of manuals all over the place. As far as I
know we've always done it for free because the person who needed the manual
was someone doing technical support on our behalf and didn't have the
manual with them for whatever reason, or the person wanted to see the
manual to decide whether to buy the product (something I disagree with but
that's another subject).
We were going to provide our manuals for free via our web site but the
idea was nixed because it was too difficult to pull off with the software
we had. Our view was service-oriented and if someone needs to use our
product, a lack of documentation should be the least of their worries (I'm
in the computer network industry--interfacing devices foreign to each other
specifically--which is rife with large headaches already).

Regards from beautiful Wisconsin! :)

Me --> mailto:moonlion -at- full-moon -dot- com
Work --> mailto:eric -at- engagenet -dot- com

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