1 Good Reason – Social Marketing

We don't make websites, we make websites better.

1 Good Reason – Social Marketing header image 2

When is Plagiarism not Plagiarism?

August 18th, 2010 · 3 Comments

After reading Ian Lurie’s excellent blog post “It’s plagiarism day!” I decided to look around for my own plagiarists and I didn’t have to look very far.  I discovered one site that had copied an entire blog post and simply added a single line “via 1GoodReason.com” at the end.

To fix the situation above I wrote a comment on the blog post something like this:

“You are reproducing copyrighted material without permission and I hereby demand that you remove it immediately.  Do not copy any of my material without prior written approval.”

To his credit @JDeragon did remove the post immediately.  However he argued with me via DM on Twitter stating: “sharing your content with links back to you is usually considered a compliment. I am happy when people "steal" mine” and “BS is thinking that any content on the web isn’t to be shared with others. I won’t share yours with others or reference it”  Contrary to what @JDeragon may think, I love it when people share my content in Fair Use.

There seems to be some confusion on the issue of Fair Use with many people.  Copying an entire blog post and reposting it on your blog is plagiarism, even when you post a link and provide attribution.

In a nutshell: “Fair Use” is the concept that you can refer to another article somewhere and quote from it to add context and information to your story.  Fair Use means that I can quote an article in the New York Times without being sued, as long as I don’t reprint too much of the story.  And as long as I add something to the discussion in my article.  (This is where @JDeragon fell down, his copy of my blog post added nothing.)

There are no hard line rules for Fair Use, but there some generally accepted guidelines:

1.       Excerpt must contain a link to the original.

2.       Excerpt must use less than 50% of the original content.

3.       Excerpt must also use less than 100 words.

Read this post on PlagiarismToday to learn more about the rules of Fair Use.  You can also read the Wikipedia article on it.

To answer the headline question for this post; quoting a brief excerpt of an article or blog post while giving a link is good therefore, not plagiarism, (and I’d love you to do that.)  Copying the whole thing is bad, link or no link, therefore it is plagiarism.

Give me 1 good reason why you think plagiarism is OK?

Posted via email from ckieff’s posterous

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Tags: Marketing Monday · Reasons For Net Marketing · Web Wednesday

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Daria Steigman // Aug 18, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Hi Chris,

    It’s disturbing to me when people don’t understand the distinction between sharing and plagiarism. It’s not a slippery slope. And, like you, I don’t think lifting a post wholesale and reprinting it is “sharing.”

    What’s perhaps sadder is that some of these folks don’t understand anything about providing value to their own readers, viewers, and prospects. Wouldn’t they be better off quoting from an article or post (and hopefully linking back as well) and then talking about why they’re doing that?

    Think of this way: their imitation just makes those of creating original content look all that much smarter.

  • 2 Nancy Passow // Aug 18, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Recent articles talk about how the Internet has blurred the whole concept of original thought for students today. Here’s a link to a recent NY Times article: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C07E7D6103CF931A3575BC0A9669D8B63&scp=7&sq=plagiarism&st=nyt

    I have an ongoing battle with my students every semester over plagiarism. They don’t realize how easy it is to find the source — I tell them that I learn their writing style and as soon as it changes, I’ll google a phrase and find where it came from.

  • 3 Chris Kieff // Aug 19, 2010 at 8:30 am

    According to the survey I’m running on twitter here: http://twtpoll.com/uxup4m
    most people see it somewhere in the middle. Thanks for your support Nancy and Daria.

Leave a Comment