Avoid online plagiarism

Avoid online plagiarism

The topic of plagiarism has crossed my path on a few different occasions recently, and it’s come to my attention that people just seem to think there are different rules when it comes to the Internet.

While we all learned how to appropriately source references in public school (in the days before the internet), some have thrown those guidelines out the window. That may be because there’s LOTS of plagiarism on the internet already that makes it appear that content theft is normal; it’s not at all uncommon to see the same content posted in 8 different places without a link or credit to the original writer.

I know we covered protecting yourself from how to Stick to the Facts to Avoid Content Plagiarism, but with so much discussion and confusion on the subject, let’s go back to the basics. You want to protect yourself from a lawsuit, and you don’t want to hurt your SEO rankings with too much duplication after all.

Guidelines to Avoid Online Plagiarism

1)    Credit your source – anytime you’re using an idea from someone else, it’s kosher to offer a credit with an in-text link in the very least. If you want to use something someone else has written verbatim, there are some simple rules: ensure the text is displayed as a quote, and that you give credit where credit is due. In this circumstance, an in-text link isn’t enough. Also include the name of the person or organization behind the information, and add your in-text link on that name next to the quotation.

2)    Rephrase – if you plan on using someone’s ideas specifically, not just the common knowledge facts, you still need to include a credit as outlined above.  If you didn’t think up the idea, quite simply, it’s not yours for the taking.

3)    Familiarize with intellectual property rights – remember, it doesn’t matter if there’s no copyright at the bottom of a webpage, and it doesn’t matter how many sites you’ve seen the content published on. You also can’t think that because it’s on the internet it’s free to take. Whatever your thoughts are, if they’re along these lines, you’re wrong.

With some of the myths of internet rights to content outlined above, hopefully you’ll be in a better position to soldier forward producing compelling content while remaining protected and unique!