Over the past week, I’ve discovered content from Site Sketch 101 being published elsewhere around the internet. I first discovered this while doing some research to see how well I was ranking for some keywords I was targeting on Google. When I typed the phrase into Google, I discovered that someone else with an article of the same title was ranking for that phrase.
I decided to click through to see what they had that I didn’t only to be shocked by the results. They didn’t have anything that mine didn’t have because it was mine…it was a 100% duplicate of my article on their website.
I was upset to say the least because their copying of my content had cost me a key position for a keyword rank on Google, it cost me the resulting visitors to my site and the revenue that may have resulted from it.
It’s always in poor taste to steal the work of another artist and duplicate or redistribute it without permission. Very poor taste.
Of course, there are some times when you find a resource so valuable that you feel compelled to share it with your friends at your blog or website, but as you share content from another author with your readers, there are some courtesies you should follow to both protect yourself and to show genuine respect to the content creator.
- Clearly Credit The Author: It’s not enough that you hide a link somewhere in the text back to the author’s work. When citing someone, the credit needs to be clear and obvious.
- Link To The Original Content: The best way to implement our first courtesy of crediting the author is to link back to the original work. Again, make the link clear and obvious. Don’t make your reader guess where the link leads.
- Make The Quote Stand Out: Don’t try to sneak material into your writing hoping that people will just assume it’s yours. Place quotation marks around your quote, use the blockquote function in WordPress or set it off with italics.
- Never Copy Full Articles: Unless you have specific permission from an author to republish their work, it’s never a good idea to copy an entire article onto your website. Most serious authors will likely not grant permission to copy their entire work.
- Use A Paragraph or Two At Most: If you’re using more than a paragraph or two of text, you need to contact the author for permission. Explain to them what portion you want to use and where it will be posted. Then yield to the author’s decision.
Below is an example of a quotation taken from another site being used in a way that would be considered in good taste:
Here’s where it gets interesting: how much extra would you pay for a plane that was guaranteed to be always on time, or a surgery that was always guaranteed to work? Suddenly, the same math… doesn’t work so well.
Next week, I’ll be sharing with you some information about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, how it applies to bloggers, how it protects copyright infringements and how to take action against content thieves in a way that the law will support.
I literally downloaded Title 17 of the United States Code and did my research the old fashioned way so stay tuned and I’ll break it down for you kindergarten style.
Disclaimer: Of course, I’m not a lawyer so I’m not offering any legal advice and I certainly make no warranties on my information, but I’ll share with you what’s worked for me.