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November 18, 2014

Should You Go After Scrapers or Just Don’t Bother?

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Content scrapers refer to marketers who try to pass off existing content as their own on their site. If you have a blog where you publish high-quality posts at a consistent basis for years, there’s a great chance that somebody is scraping your content.

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February 10, 2014

Fighting Plagiarism – The Real Challenge

Generally, it seems pretty clear what plagiarism is: when a writer uses work created by someone else without acknowledgment or attribution. In other words, plagiarism is when an author claims someone else’s work as his or her own. Although these guidelines seem quite clear, the problem of plagiarism runs rampant. Important to note, here, is that the problem can occur in two different ways. First, an author can knowingly plagiarize a work for their own gain. In another way, though, plagiarism can be accidental, where an author simply doesn’t know how to properly cite source material or attach attribution.
plagiarismDespite the potential for an honest mistake, however, all plagiarism can lead to serious consequences. According to a study referenced in the New York Times, “40 percent of 14,000 undergraduates admitted to copying a few sentences in written assignments.” The numbers don’t change much for graduate school students—30 to 33%—or writers outside of academia. Although plagiarism occurs most often in writing, it can occur in photography, filmmaking, advertising, or any other creative media. To hone the focus, however, and group many of these plagiarism cases under the same banner, the biggest challenge in fighting plagiarism is handling it in the digital age. read more

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December 30, 2013

Blogging Battles: How to Handle Virtual Malice and Content Theft

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Blogging is hard as it is. You read everyday, write like your life depends on it, put your experience, thoughts, insights, and opinions into each blog post, not to mention back them up by research.

You’ve been marketing your blog and getting traffic in spades. Ever so slowly, your blog seems to be growing in popularity and reach. Your readers begin to engage with you, comments seem to be flowing in, and a community begins to develop.

All of that is good until you hit the point most bloggers dread: you also begin to receive malicious comments or hate mail. read more

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November 26, 2013

How to Protect Your Content From Plagiarism

how to prevent content theft

For bloggers and writers that put their heart and soul into the content they create, it can be soul crushing to find out that your content has been stolen and published somewhere else. However, there are steps you can take to prevent and monitor content theft online. read more

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September 30, 2011

5 Legal Problems Raised By Mobile Blogging

Cell Phone in CrowdBlogging, as well as almost all media, is become much more mobile. Not only are people reading and consuming news on the go, but they are also recording, writing and photographing it as well.

This move stems directly from the rise in both smartphones, which often include high-definition video/still cameras, as well as other portable recording and Internet-connected devices. From Flip cameras to laptops, you can run an entire multimedia empire without ever sitting in an office.

However, all of this mobility comes with it a series of new legal questions and issues that desktop-only bloggers don’t have to face. When you’re recording audio and video on the street, you have some additional concerns to worry about.

Fortunately, they are legal questions that you can easily address and deal with, so long as you’re aware of them and take steps to avoid them before you step out the door. read more

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September 16, 2011

How Video is Changing Copyright for Bloggers

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Video Camera ImageWith more and more bloggers dipping their toes into creating video content for their sites, the climate they’re working in is changing when it comes to copyright.

Though copyright, by design, protects all forms of content equally, how it is enforced and who is doing the enforcing changes drastically with the medium. This means that bloggers who might take some of their habits, both good and bad, from text into video, might be in for a bit of culture shock.

So what are some of the copyright changes a blogger should expect when going from text to video? Here’s just a small sample of some of the ways the two media are very different from both a practical and a legal perspective. read more

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August 19, 2011

What To Do If You Get a Legal Threat Online

Threat PosterThe Internet, for better or worse, is the largest meeting place to have ever existed in history. It’s a place where millions of people, from all backgrounds, can get together and exchange ideas, news, artwork and pictures of cats.

However, it’s inevitable that, with so many people in one “place” that there are going to be disagreements and some of them are going to get quite heated. Just as you don’t always get along with your “real world” neighbors you probably won’t get along with some of your virtual ones either and, also like physical world problems, virtual world ones also, at times, disintegrate into legal disputes.

So, if you blog long enough, especially if you routinely discuss or use work from other people on your site, there’s a chance that you’re going to be the subject of a legal threat.

For the unprepared, this can be one of the most terrifying experiences one can have online. Such threats often come with fears big legal bills, huge settlements and more. It’s pretty easy to paint a worst-case scenario that is either unrealistic or completely impossible.

Still, these are matters that should be taken seriously and knowing what to do is important. Though I’m not a lawyer and certainly can’t provide legal advice, there are steps that most attorneys advise you to take and I’ve outlined them below. read more

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July 22, 2011

The Difference Between Law & Ethics in Blogging

Dogs on Leash LawSocieties generally have two ways that they try to encourage “positive” or “good” behavior on its members, laws and ethics.

But while both are similar in that they are ways to punish or discourage unwanted behavior, they are radically different in both what they are and how they operate.

As a blogger, you find yourself operating in a variety of societies. This includes traditional ones such as your local community, your country and the world as a whole as well as digital ones such as the blogging community and the Internet community.

This has some fairly profound implications for the laws and ethics you have to wrangle with as you’re not only caught between the duality of the two elements themselves, but in the layers of often conflicting standards of all the societies you reach and are a part of.

To unravel this mess, we have to first take a look at the differences between law and ethics and understand how they each impact bloggers in slightly different, but very powerful, ways. read more

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April 8, 2011

5 Copyright Facts Every Blogger Should Know

Copyright SymbolWhen it comes to blogging and the law, there is one area of the law that you pretty much can not avoid: Copyright.

Though you can avoid libel by never talking about anyone else, the same goes for privacy, and you can largely avoid trademark by being careful with your domain and not creating a business, it is impossible to blog and avoid copyright.

The reason is simple, every time you hit “Safe Draft” in WordPress, post a comment on another blog or take a photo for your site, you’ve created a copyrighted work and with that comes a set of rights and responsibilities you need to be aware of.

However, the issue of copyright is far too broad and far too complex to cover in any kind of depth in one column. So, in order to help bloggers who might not understand the law get some basic information, here are five copyright facts that you need to be aware of, all of which we will likely go into in future columns.

Bear in mind that these facts are based on U.S. law and, in some cases, may vary in your country. You can also read more about these facts, and other basic copyright information, on the U.S. Copyright Office website. read more

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November 16, 2009

5 Copyright Hazards to Avoid

Most bloggers understand the importance and the value in creating original content. Most would be at least somewhat upset to their own writing used on other sites without permission or attribution and many actively track their work for misuse.

However, there is more to being a good copyright citizen than just writing your own content, quoting only what you need to in your entries and attributing your sources. Your blog is much more than just text and there are many copyright “hazards” that even well-intended bloggers can step in.

That’s why last year, almost to the day, I wrote an article about holiday copyright hazards for bloggers to avoid, But while the holidays are an especially dangerous time for copyright issues, they are a potential thorn in the side year around.

So with that in mind, here are five copyright hazards to avoid, regardless of the time of year. read more

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