Saturday, October 6, 2007

Why You Should Never Use Blog Content as Website Content

I have a pretty pointed take on this subject and so if you disagree, just post your comment below. I think that blog posts are just that blog posts. Blog posts should not be copied, compiled with other blog posts and migrated into website content or used to create a book or e-book.

I have personally had several situations recently where this has happened. Here's why I simply do not think that it makes sense to use blog content for anything other than what it was intended - blog content.

1. Blog posts by their very nature are derivative works. They are a discussion on an article that someone else has published and researched, a discussion from a widely published online news article, or may be in some rare case unique content. Although there may not be a real copyright infringement issue on blog post content, they are derivative works. Derivative works do not belong in your website. Unique content belongs in your website. For extremely high profile websites where there is a huge investment in technology and marketing and the fact that our society is so litigious blog posts may even make that site a target for copyright infringement actions.

2. From an employer point of view when a client takes blog posts and moves them into their website content, they are paying $15 a post and website content (uniquely created) starts at $80 a page and $169 if we do not design your website. This is grossly unfair to our writers to pay them for a blog and then have the end user change the use of their writing. We've even had one situation where a past-client cheerily told me, I'm going to write a book using your blog posts as the content isn't that great? These situations are grossly unfair to our writers. We have great writers and I value their expertise. Based on some of these recent situations, we now license our blog post content and copywriting content. We want to control what happens to what we create and want to make sure that our writers are fairly compensated for what they do.

3. Not all writing is "Work for Hire". In all of our contracts now, we stipulate that our writing is not to be considered "Work for Hire". In fact if it is not spelled out in the agreement and you do use the content for other than it was intended in the original agreement you may be setting yourself up for a law suit. Your situation may be different, but I am just pointing out a fact that this could be a possible sticking point when you decide to use a written piece in another fashion than it was intended.

4. Blog posts are written in a casual tone and style. Website content is written in a more informational style with a strong marketing focus. Blog posts are more point of view writing.

The bottom-line from my perspective is that blogs should stay as blogs. If you like a blog post and think that it would work great on your site. Ask your writer to do a feature article and let them know it is website content, pay more, get a longer piece, and clarify your rights to the content. Do the right thing when it comes to your writers.

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