How Much Legal Knowledge Do PR Practitioners Need
If you want to communicate well, you have to know when, how, and where you can communicate at all. Studies show that legal knowledge in PR is only moderately widespread.
Relationship Between PR Practitioners and Lawyers
Some want communication. You like transparency. You want to know as much as possible and be there everywhere.
You must be free as a bird. The others prefer to keep the ground under their feet. You'd rather not lose control. They only communicate the bare essentials, but if so, then only a little and quietly. You are aware of the risks and do not "gamble." You could roughly put lawyers and PR practitioners in two different drawers.
There are many contact points with US and EU laws in everyday communication, so a better exchange between the two groups would be beneficial. Because communication by no means takes place in a legally free area.
Just recently, an article appeared on Zeit Online about a warning based on a Facebook post: A company is supposed to pay 1,800 EUR because its Facebook post contains the thumbnail, i.e., a mini photo of a third-party article in a local newspaper that has posted. The problem with this: the mini photograph is also protected by copyright - and the company that was warned had no rights to it.
Copyrights are Sensitive
Copyright and many other regulations in dealing with the media can be found in the so-called "media law". In principle, media law does not simply consist of one legal area.
Rather, it is an assortment of paragraphs and various legal issues that are spread across the classic areas of law "civil law," "public law," and "criminal law." Media law in the broader sense includes copyright, the right to privacy, the trademark law, and competition law.
Some of these regulations involve risks that, if exceeded, can have personal or economic consequences. It is, therefore, no wonder that some PR professors have clearly stated that legal knowledge is part of the specialist knowledge of public relations workers.
One must surely also admit that breaking the law can be a suitable means of generating pure attention. The only question is, with what effect and whether one has considered the risks.
PR Occupational Research
If you look at occupational field research, you can see that law tends to take out a niche existence among communication experts.
The study by the Communication monitor brought interesting facts. Half of the 2200 communications experts surveyed worldwide believe that legal knowledge will play an essential role in five years' time.
According to the study, only around 17% of the organization provides training on legal topics. In the area of social media, in particular, the respondents rate their knowledge rather mediocre.
This is a sobering result. Especially against the background of the importance of media law framework conditions and their relevance for people who work every day in public communication.
Because breaking the law is faster than expected. Violations of the law are the order of the day, especially using "copy & paste". Because most copied texts, pictures, sticker printing, or videos are subject to copyright, if they are taken over without the author's consent, this represents an interference with his rights.