What I’m reading: Mornings Like These by Annie Dillard (found poetry)
What’s on the iPod: Summer Nights by Rascal Flatts
Code in da node – I have one. You know that feeling you get the day after a bottle of wine? That would be me. Yesterday was brought to me by Advil and lots of water laced with vinegar (my mother’s cure-all for colds and flu). It’s a heinous combination, but it’s my version of chicken soup.
Still really excited about how much fun Devon and I had with those who participated in our Webinar. I myself sat in this chair from 7 am to 5:30 pm answering questions and interacting. I didn’t plan to, but I was caught up in the great interactions we were having. A HUGE thank you to Devon for being such a super co-host, and to Colin Galbraith for offering his time on a UK Saturday night to babysit our tech issues.
I was thinking back to my post yesterday, and maybe it was the post-codeine stupor, but I realized that the blog content I was referring to was nothing more than the blog version of content farm drivel. Here was someone taking other people’s original work, rewording it, and calling it theirs. There was no legwork beyond going out and lifting it. And in this person’s mind, that may actually seem legitimate. I don’t know if the accused has worked for a content farm, but the method has all the earmarkings of it.
So if the precedent set by content farms – that writers think it’s okay to just reword someone else’s article and put their names at the top as author – is not challenged, does that mean it sets a precedent for all Web content? Egad.
So, content farm lackeys – if you want to know just how close to plagiarism and copyright infringement you are, here’s a little guide:
Rewriting an existing piece does not make it original. It makes it a bastardized, sub-standard copy. And it could land you in hot water (notice I didn’t say your content farm, for they’re going to shift the blame entirely to you).
One source is not research. I write blog posts for companies, and I use online sources sometimes. I do not, however, use one source exclusively. That’s the same as just rewriting something that isn’t yours.
Ideas are not copyrightable, unless the idea is patented or the basis of someone’s entire business model. How about just coming up with your own great idea? Here’s the thing – you may think calling it “Guerilla Freelancing” or “Freelancing for Dummies” is so brilliant, but I think the companies/authors who came up with those ideas will beat you in court.
If your “research consists of rewriting each sentence, you’re stealing. Seriously. Do I have to tell you that?
That said, Cathy sent me a link to what she thought was the offending website. It wasn’t, but I was interested in what I saw. All my posts were there. They were attributed to me, but they were republished. Not sure how I feel about it. And a lot of you are showing up there, too. That the guy’s name is Pariah is disconcerting enough.
What have you seen that skirts the lines – or even crosses the lines – of plagiarism and copyright infringement?