Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Blog Posts and "Fair Use" Guidelines

Click our post title to read the U.S. Copyright Office explanation of "Fair Use" for blog and website content.

The bottom-line is that all content on the web is copyrighted whether you know it or not and whether there is a notification on the page or not. For blogs and even website content you absolutely must be careful not to infringe on someone else's copyright.

These are my best practices:

Don't ever snatch someone's content. Link to the full article on their website just like I have on this post. Don't copy the article and then paste it into your post or website page even though you may reference the original page location.

If you are going to quote something from the article my rule is to copy only one or two paragraphs, blockquote it and then reference and link to the full article on the home location. Always make it clear that this is someone else's content.

You can use a topic or thought to get your own creative juices going and then put aside the original piece and write one that is uniquely your own, but you may even want to reference the original article if you are stating any of the number or research that may be in the original article. You did not do the actual research and should make sure to give credit where credit is due.

If you do get a "Take Down Notice" to remove content, act immediately to remove the offending or infringing article in full and don't replace it later on hoping that the original author won't be looking. There are services that trawl the Web looking for duplicate content, don't think that you can remove it and then put it back up in a month or two. If you did get caught, make changes in your procedures so you don't create future situations.

The bottom-line is keep and protect what is your and honor what is someone else's. A good writer's rule to live by.

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