I was reading a blog today and got a huge “de ja vu” feeling. Â Suddenly I realized that’s because I had read the entry before – on someone else’s blog. Â Sure enough, at the very end, the person had “thanked” the original writer for the post. Â The way it read it was like this world-famous blogger had written a post for this small, off-the-beat-and-path blog.
I totally get that the blogger was giving credit and therefore felt he had done the right thing. Â But he’s wrong. Â I’m not claiming to be a lawyer or anything, but here’s an easy one: Â if a blogger has a common use statement on their blog, you have to follow that. Â They generally lay out exactly how Â you can use the content and give credit. Â “thanks to so and so for this post” is NOT acceptable. Â If the person does not have the common use statement out somewhere, you shouldn’t take that to mean it is a free for all and start grabbing their content. Â In fact, it is more likely that person has someone scanning the internet for these scenarios.
So what should you do if you like a blog post? Â First, always give credit up front. Â It should be incredibly clear to the reader who wrote the post. Â Link to it even. Â Don’t lift the content and copy and paste. Â Instead, discuss the article. Â Add thoughts or comments, site specific quotes and react, or expand on an idea. Â Write it as if you got a chance to talk to the author and got to tell them about your feelings to their face. Â It is entirely possible they will see the link back and see your article. Â Much better attention than a note from their lawyer!
Copyright seems tricky but the reality is, what someone else writes belongs to them. Â If they are willing to share they will tell you. Â And if not, don’t use it.