Ian Lurie // Oct 1 2007
I got really angry this weekend, when I discovered someone stole my content. It sounds like it was an accident: Someone gave the blogger in question my writing, said they had permission to use it, and she published it.
It’s still plagiarism, though. Few bloggers or internet marketers understand this. So, here’s a quick explanation of plagiarism, and how you can avoid it.
First, you have to understand what plagiarism is. I dusted off my handy copy of Black’s Law Dictionary:
Plagiarism: The act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.
In plain language, plagiarism occurs when you take someone else’s work and present it as your own. Note that intent is not part of the definition. You don’t have to intend to plagiarize, or be aware that you’re copying someone else’s work.
Oh, also: If you steal copyrighted work, it’s illegal, and you could be sued/fined/thrown into a pit of starving alligators. And, by definition, anything published online is copyrighted. Even if it doesn’t have a copyright!
It’s also a felony under some circumstances.
If you run a blog or another type of web site, and someone hands you an article to publish, you’d must verify it’s legitimate. If you don’t, you’re as liable as if you’d intentionally stolen it.
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Ian Lurie is founder and CEO of Portent Inc., an internet marketing agency that has provided internet marketing, including PPC, SEO, social and analytics services, since 1995. Read More