The law is clear, but there are some bloggers who believe that ignorance is bliss when it comes to copyright law. I have seen bloggers take full content from an article published on the Web and think that by noting the web location and author that they have not infringed on a copyright. I have seen others take the full content and then claim “fair use” – that they are educating the public and do not need to adhere to the law, and then their are others who simply do not care about the law.
For our professional blogging team, here are my personal guidelines:
- Never steal content! You may quote a paragraph, but then link back to the full article.
- Do not just thinly reword content. If you want to create a blog post based on an article, read the article, put it aside and then write your own in your own words. Put your “fresh spin” on the topic.
- Never use images from Google images. You can use Microsoft Office clip art freely without a royalty charge and from the client’s own website, but do not copy and paste in images you find on the Web.
- Don’t think if you steal you won’t be caught! Google and site spiders now are just to smart to be scammed. Consider using the gist of the topic only for your content.
I review each and every post that our bloggers do for clients. I am making sure that we are not stepping on any toes and keeping the client’s content unique and interesting. Are you doing the same on your own blog? There are serious ramifications from stealing content. Don’t become a legal target out of ignorance.