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  1. Following are four excerpts of technical and professional writing, taken from various fields. In small groups, read and consider at least two of the excerpts, and then answer the following questions:

    1. What purpose does the writer have for writing? You may see both primary and secondary purposes.

    2. Who is the audience for the piece? What are their levels of education and technical expertise likely to be? What positions, attitudes, and biases are they likely to have on the subject in question? How does the writer appeal to them (through emotion, authority, ethics)?

    3. What purpose does the reader have for reading?

    4. Do you pick up any clues about context—considerations of place and time?

    5. Does the excerpt suggest any ethical dilemma for the writer?

    1. From a Review of the Year's Activities of a Regional Planned Parenthood Agency[*]

      [*] Source: Excerpt from a review of the year's activities of a regional planned parenthood agency. Reprinted with permission of Planned Parenthood of the Inland Northwest.

      A Message from the President and Executive Director

      What a year we have had! Momentous and courageous decisions were made towards accomplishing the mission of Planned Parenthood. Resounding support was received from the community for Planned Parenthood's work.

      • Acting on the news of the impending retirement of a local abortion provider, and on the final report of a study commissioned by our board, the Board of Directors (after 3 board meetings in the month of August) unanimously voted to begin offering first trimester abortion services in the summer of 1990.

      • In the face of ultimatums by the local Catholic Diocese, the United Way Board of Directors voted to retain Planned Parenthood as a member. The 1989 United Way campaign met its adjusted goal for funding all the remaining agencies at the prior year's level.

      • During 1989, direct contributions to Planned Parenthood increased by 30% and our donor base increased by 24%. United Way contributors specifically designating Planned Parenthood increased tenfold, to over $115,000.

      • Notwithstanding the withdrawal of support by key sponsors, the Smith Commission brought Dr. James Ploski to Pleasantville to speak to over 1500 appreciative teens, parents. and professionals. A private reception was held for Dr. Ploski which included Planned Parenthood staff, President Circle donors, and board members.

      We . . . you . . . are part of an organization considered to be one of the most credible non-profit agencies in America. We are doing more than just talking about the need for family planning: quality, objective sexuality education; preventing unwanted pregnancies; and treatment and education for sexually transmitted diseases. Planned Parenthood is providing those needed medical services, that needed education, that needed advocacy of people's right to make their own choices. The more polls and studies we see, the more we come to realize that we do, in fact, speak for the majority of the people in this country.

      . . .

      We need to continue to provide medical services, to educate and to advocate. We will need your help, your contributions of time, talent, and treasure. This coming year will require at least as much work as last year for us to accomplish our mission: making every child a wanted child.

    2. From a Research Memo Written by a Paralegal Working for a Large Eastern Public Power Supplier on the Subject of Unauthorized Use of Computer Programs

      DATE:June 20, 1999
      TO:James P. St. Pierre, Chief Counsel
      FROM:Alison L. McKee, Paralegal I
      SUBJECT:Copyright and Literary Property
      REFERENCE:Unauthorized Use of Computer Programs


      Assume that the Supply System is held liable for the unauthorized use of unlicensed software in Supply System P.C.s—explain the nature and extent of liability for punitive or exemplary damages or other damage measures beyond just payment of royalties.

      Short Response:

      According to 17 USCS #504, an infringer of copyright is liable for either (1) the copyright owner's actual damages and any additional profits of the infringer, or (2) statutory damages. “Punitive damages” per se are not available under the federal Copyright Act.


      I. Background

      The Supply System wants to develop agency standards for use of licensed software. The prime area of inquiry is what stance the agency should adopt when faced with situations where multiple copies are made of purchased software.

      II. Copyright Protection

      The Copyright Act of 1976 (17 USCS #101 et. seq.) protects the exclusive right or privilege of authors or proprietors of literary property to print or otherwise multiply, publish, and vend copies of literary, artistic or intellectual productions, when secured by compliance with the copyright statute, 17 USCS #101. The definitional provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976 encompass computer programs and data bases in the definition of “literary works.”

      The Act was amended by the adoption in 1980 of the Computer Software Copyright Act. This amendment replaced former section 117, added a specific definition of “computer program,” and provided for the lawful copying of a program in two instances: (1) by its rightful owner for use “in conjunction with a machine”; or (2) for “archival purposes.”

      The discussion proceeds for three single-spaced pages, defining and talking about a variety of topics: the components of computer programs that are protected, successful court precedents, civil liability, and criminal liability. The author then concludes with the following:

      V. Conclusion

      The magnitude of the problem of trying to provide legal protection for computer programs is staggering: it has been estimated that some 15,000 computer programs are written each day in the United States and that the total value of this software is in the tens of billions of dollars. (See “Schmidt, Legal Proprietary Interest in Computer Programs: The American Experience'' 21 Jurimetrics 345 (1981) as cited in Jostens, Inc. v. National Computers Systems, Inc., 318 NW2d 691, 214 U.S.P.O. 918, 33 UCCRS 1642, 30 ALR4th 1229.) The Copyright Act provides the owner of a copyright with a variety of remedies, including injunction, the impoundment and destruction of all reproductions, recovery of actual damages and any additional profits realized by the infringer, or a recovery of statutory damages, and attorneys fees. But despite the fact that the Supreme Court speaks of a copyright owner's “potent arsenal of remedies against an infringer,'' (see Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios. Inc., 104 S Ct 774, 464 U.S. 417. 78 L.Ed.2d 574. 220 U.S.P.Q. 665 (1984)) a software firm which discovers that an individual has surreptitiously copied its computer program may have little to gain from filing a suit for copyright infringement since the recovery probably would not be enough to cover legal costs. This situation has been likened to piracy of phonorecords by individuals onto cassette tapes which has become so commonplace that the recording industry does not, as a practical matter, prosecute individuals. However, possible benefits from suing an individual for copyright infringement of a computer program would be publicity that might discourage potential customers from pirating programs instead of buying authorized copies.

      Let me know if you need further research into this issue.

    3. From a Report on the Installation of Transmission Lines in a Western Public Utility District





      1. General

        1. All work shall be completed under the direction of a professional land survey or licensed by the state of Washington.

        2. All horizontal control surveys shall be a minimum of third order, Class II accuracy. Vertical control surveys shall be a minimum of third order accuracy. Third order and third or Class II shall be defined in CLASSIFICATION, STANDARDS OF ACCURACY AND GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS OF GEODETIC CONTROL SURVEYS as reprinted in 1979 by N.O.A.A.

        3. All horizontal points shall be referenced to the Washington State Plane Coordinate System or as otherwise agreed to between the District and Contractor. When Washington State Plan Coordinates are used, provide Washington State grid factors on each drawing.

        4. All field and office work required for the project surveys shall be based on a closed traverse of triangulation network.

      2. Survey Requirements

        1. The survey shall locate all road, highway, railroad, pipeline, transmission line, canal and other utility right-of-ways which may affect the transmission line centerline. All right-of-ways shall be referenced to section corners and State Plane Coordinate System.

        2. The work shall include locating all property lines, section corners. and quarter section corners. Property lines shall be tied down to section corners and quarter section corners. Section and quarter sections shall be located in the field and referenced to the State Plane Coordinate System.

        3. The survey shall extend into private property to include the transmission line right-of-way as specified by the District engineer.

        4. The survey shall locate all proposed transmission line P.I.'s in relation to the section corners and State Plane Coordinate System. P.I.'s shall be staked with nominal 2. x 2. x 8. hubs and tacks and flagged with lath and surveyors flagging.

        5. Point-on-Tangents (P.O.T.) shall be staked on the transmission centerline with nominal 2. x 2. x 8. hubs and tacks placed at intervals not exceeding 2,000 feet and flagged with lath and surveyors flagging. Surveyors hubs and tacks used in the control survey and online of proposed centerline shall be left intact. If removal of the control survey hubs is desired or recommended, coordinate with Jim Smithson or the District engineer assigned to the project.

        6. The survey shall locate other survey monuments in the area of the transmission right-of-way such as USGS triangulation stations and benchmarks. These monuments shall be referenced to the State Plane Coordinate System.

        7. When specifically requested on the request for professional services for the specific project, the survey shall include a detailed plan and profile of the transmission line right-of-way. The plan and profile shall include the information listed below in addition to that information requested in paragraphs A to E above and in Section IV below.

    4. From Lewis Thomas's Article “Germs” in Lives of a Cell (New York: Viking Penguin, Inc., and London: Garnstone Press, 1974)[*]

      [*] Source: “Germs,” copyright © 1972 by The Massachusetts Medical Society, from The Lives of a Cell by Lewis Thomas. Used by permission of Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Putnam Inc.

      It is the information carried by the bacteria that we cannot abide.

      The gram-negative bacteria are the best examples of this. They display lipopolysaccharide endotoxin in their walls and these macromolecules are read by our tissues as the very worst of bad news. When we sense lipopolysaccharide, we are likely to turn on every defense at our disposal; we will bomb, defoliate, blockade, seal off, and destroy all the tissues in the area. Leukocytes become more actively phagocytic, release lysosomal enzymes, turn sticky, and aggregate together in dense masses, occluding capillaries and shutting off the blood supply. Complement is switched on at the right point in the sequence to release chemotactic signals, calling in leukocytes from everywhere. Vessels become hyperactive to epinephrine so that physiologic concentrations suddenly possess necrotizing properties. Pyrogen is released from leukocytes, adding fever to hemorrhage, necrosis, and shock. It is a shambles.

      All of this seems unnecessary, panic-driven. There is nothing intrinsically poisonous about endotoxin, but it must look awful, or feel awful when sensed by cells. Cells believe that it signifies the presence of gram-negative bacteria, and they will stop at nothing to avoid this threat.

      I used to think that only the most highly developed, civilized animals could be fooled in this way, but it is not so. The horse-shoe crab is a primitive fossil of a beast, ancient and uncitified, but he is just as vulnerable to disorganization by endotoxin as a rabbit or a man. Bang has shown that an injection of a very small dose into the body cavity will cause the aggregation of hemocytes in ponderous, immovable masses that block the vascular channels, and gelatinous clot brings the circulation to a standstill. It is now known that a limulus clotting system, perhaps ancestral to ours, is centrally involved in the reaction. Extracts of the hemocytes can be made to jell by adding extremely small amounts of endotoxin. The self-disintegration of the whole animal that follows a systemic injection can be interpreted as a well-intentioned but lethal error. The mechanism is itself quite a good one, when used with precision and restraint, admirably designed for coping with intrusion by a single bacterium: the hemocyte would be attracted to the site, extrude the coagulable protein, the micro-organism would be entrapped and immobilized, and the thing would be finished. It is when confronted by the overwhelming signal of free molecules of endotoxin, evoking memories of vibrios in great numbers, that the limulus flies into panic, launches all his defenses at once, and destroys himself.

      It is, basically, a response to propaganda, something like the panic producing pheromones that slave-taking ants release to disorganize the colonies of their prey.

      I think it likely that many of our diseases work in this way. Sometimes, the mechanisms used for overkill are immunologic, but often, as in the limulus models, they are more primitive kinds of memory. We tear ourselves to pieces because of symbols, and we are more vulnerable to this than to any host of predators. We are, in effect, at the mercy of our own Pentagons, most of the time.

  2. Using the questions asked earlier, analyze two of the documents obtained from your interviews of professionals in Chapter 1.


  1. Choose a fairly sophisticated technical article from a professional journal in your field of study or in a field that interests you. Using the substance of the article, write an article of your own for one of the audiences in the following list. To be sure that your article will be appropriate for the new audience, fill out the Document Analysis Worksheet (see Figure 3.6) before you start writing.

    1. You have been asked by a high school counselor to write an article on a subject related to your field of study. The purpose of the article is to acquaint high school seniors with the subject so that they might begin to think about possible majors in college.

    2. Science Digest, Time, or Newsweek (choose one) has asked for an article from you on a subject of interest and importance to the general readership.

    3. Your boss (middle management) has asked you for an article on a subject that is important to a current or future company project. Your boss has little technical background in the subject but needs to appear knowledgeable at the next meeting of the board of directors.

    Figure 3.6. Document analysis worksheet



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