The Marketing Word | Differentiation Marketing

TAG | know like and trust

Plagiarism

This is actually one of my tips of the week, but it bears repeating.  OK.  Really, it's just working my last nerve this week.  (If you're not getting my tip of the week, look to your right ---> and sign up there.)

It has come to my attention that people have no concept of plagiarism.  At first I thought they just had no conscience – stealing other people’s materials was just their way of doing business.  I realized that the average plagiarist is not malicious – they REALLY DON’T KNOW WHAT PLAGIARISM IS.

As a writer, this freaks me out a bit.  I spend a lot of time carefully choosing words (OK, most of the time I am choosy – sometimes I just rant), so my writing is concise, specific and clear.  To have someone just walk in and pass my words off as their own – well, it really cheeses me off.

So, let’s go over a few basics.

Anytime you use someone’s words verbatim, you should give credit.  Reference the person and the source.  For example, “All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like and trust.”  Bob Burg, Endless Referrals.   I use that quote a lot.  And every time I do, I go to Bob’s website (http://www.bobburg.com) to make sure I have it right.

Anytime you paraphrase, you should give the person credit and mention that you are paraphrasing.

If you use an article distribution service such as Ezine.com to find articles to use for your website, blog, newsletter, etc., you must give the author of the article credit by including the author’s resource box with their bio and their links.  That’s your part of the agreement under the Terms of Service.

If you hire a freelancer to write articles for you, you are buying the exclusive rights to those articles and you may put those under your own name.  You will want to have an agreement with the freelancer that those articles will not be re-sold to anyone else.

If you are using PLR articles, ebooks or courses, you don’t have to change a word.  Just put your name on them. The author sold his rights to you.  You bought the rights to pass this material off as your own.  That being said, most article submission sites will kick your PLR articles right back to you.  They know what’s on the market and put articles through filters to weed out duplicate PLR material.  If you have bought PLR articles that you want to submit to article distributors you will need to re-write substantially – at least 40% is the number I have heard and I would go with 50% - 60% to be safe.

If an article appears on someone’s website, in a newspaper or magazine, it does NOT mean anyone can grab it and use it.  I actually had a client say to me, “Well, it was on their website so we can use it.”  No, we can’t.  A WEBSITE IS COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL!!!!  Sorry.  Sometimes I have to scream.  Just because you find a book in a public library doesn’t mean you can copy the whole damn thing and put your name on it as the author.

Deep breath…  OK.  Here’s what it comes down to.  If you didn’t write it yourself, hire someone to write it for you, or buy the Private Label Rights, you must give credit to the proper person.  If you want to reprint someone’s work or reprint the majority of a work, whether it’s an article, term paper or book, you must seek permission from the person who holds the copyright, either the author or the publisher.

So, hope this clears up a few questions for you.  I just feel better getting it off my chest.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect.  But it should be your own work.

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June 2017
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