Can You Use Copyrighted Material In Your Blogs And Forums?


Using copyrighted information on the Internet has become the norm. Many website and blog owners routinely copy other peoples work, maybe even word for word. Copyright laws on the Internet are often misunderstood though, because most bloggers simply do not know the laws. In fact, everything created on the web is copyrighted automatically, for 70 years. So in reality, any work done in a blog or website would need to be cited, though in practice, this is almost never done. Without further ado, here are some tips for every blogger to know!!

Know The Laws
Not knowing copyright laws can leave you vulnerable. As is often said, ignorance of the law is no excuse. It is your responsibility as a blogger or forum poster to learn the laws. When in doubt, assume anything is copyrighted. You should learn how to cite properly, quote properly, and what copyrighted information you can share. Always give credit where credit is due. Remember, copyright laws are violated even if you just use the information. It does not make a difference if you are profiting off of the information or not.

Anyone who is using copyrighted information in a blog or forum is not using unique content. Search engine algorithms take this into account when determining how relevant and interesting a site is. A site with 100 percent unique content will rank much higher than one with duplicate content. The sites that are ranked highly in the search engines generally have 100 percent unique content. Remember, ideas are not copyrighted, so writing a unique blog post on an idea is acceptable.

What If?
When blogging or posting on forums, you should be writing unique content. If someone happens to steal your work without properly citing or asking you, a few things can be done. If you are not bothered by it, you can of course simply do nothing. This may be the case for people who have non revenue producing blogs. As mentioned earlier, duplicate content hurts websites rankings, so it is vital to take action. The first and most diplomatic step would be to email them to ask them to take it down. This is effective the majority of the time. A cease and desist order can be sent if they do not respond to your first correspondence. Finally, contact the search engines and request their site be banned.

When posting on blogs or websites, you can run your content through certain programs. These programs will check the whole Internet for duplicate content, this can verify that nobody has written this content. Though in reality, if you are writing your own well researched articles by hand, there should be no issue.

The usage of copyrighted material on the Internet will probably continue unchecked for years. Very few people are prosecuted or caught stealing content. The best way to avoid using anyone else’s content is to write your own unique articles. As mentioned before, this will help with SEO efforts and ensure that you will not get snared in legal problems. When confronting a content thief, be diplomatic at first, most people will want to avoid a legal battle and will simple remove the article.

Rob Moynihan writes about technology, online education and more. His proudest work is on the Top 20 Value Online MBA Programs.

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