Hey y’all, today, I wanted to discuss the topic of unethical ways people get content and what I do instead. You can watch or read below…
This topic came up for me because I was helping someone a couple of days ago. She needed content for her site. I was editing the content in order to get it to follow her branding. But I couldn’t find the original file.
So I asked this lady where the originals were. She wanted to know what I meant.
I said, “The originals…you know, where you originally created the documents? Where can I find those?”
She said, “Oh, I just pulled this content from a Google search.”
Unethical Practice #1: Copying from Google
What this potential client did was unethical. I don’t believe she meant to be unethical in any shape, form or fashion.
But taking someone else’s words is considered illegal in some jurisdictions. This means you should never use an image or text from Google or any other search engine.
Remember the purpose of a search engine is to help you find content. It doesn’t necessarily give you the right to use that content.
We use Google and Alexa and Siri so much these days. It’s easy to think all of this information around us is something we can just take and use or recreate with. And you can’t do that because you need publishing rights in order to legally and ethically use someone else’s content.
What Should You Do If You Find Content You Want?
Let’s say you’re online and you discover some amazing content that you want to share with your audience. You have two options here.
First, you can contact the website owner or the writer behind the content. And you can say, “Hey, I really liked this. Can I reuse this on my website?”
Some writers and some website owners will say, “Oh, yeah, sure, go for it.”
Others will say: “Nope, you can’t do that.”
The second thing you can do is contact the writer behind the content. This time you might say, “Here’s a link to my blog, I think you’d be a great match for my audience. Do you want to exchange guest posts?”
Some writers will say, “Sure, of course!” But others may not be interested in guest posting opportunities. However, you won’t know unless you ask.
Unethical Practice #2: Compiling Content
Now, we’re going to talk a bit about compiling. Some people think that they can take a whole bunch of content from Wikipedia, or a Google search or Web MD or another site. They believe if they compile a lot of different articles and things into a report that they’ve changed and rewritten, this somehow makes it OK to use.
Again, unless you buy certain rights or get a contract with the writer, you do not have the right to just take people’s content.
You can get sued this way and I know a few people who have gotten into legal trouble. While it doesn’t tend to be a million dollar lawsuit, you can still lose a lot of money. Then, of course, you pay your court fees, your lawyer’s fees, their lawyer’s fees, and more when you lose.
So you don’t want to go down this road. If you really want to share someone else’s content, do it the legal way. And the best way that I found is through content curation, which is when you copy a paragraph or two at the most, and you paste it on your blog or your website.
However, you link back to the original post. You have to give credit where credit’s due and encourage your people to go and read the full post.
Now the reason it’s OK to take just a paragraph or two with links and attribution and all that intact is because that falls under fair use in most areas.
Obviously, I’m no lawyer, keep that in mind. When you’re done curating, you go and you leave a comment on the original post. You say something like, “Hey, I curated this over on my blog.”
Then they go over and see it. So usually it’s not a big deal if you do that. The one person who teaches an excellent way of doing content curation that’s also legal and ethical is Kelly McCausey.
She was one of the first people to recognize the magic of curating and she wrote the Smart Curation Skills Challenge.
Unethical Practice #3: Content Scraping Tools
And finally, another way that people sometimes use content illegally is they use a “content scraper”.
I see these a lot of these tools. Unethical marketers will create plugins, programs, software, whatever you want to call it, and they sell it to people.
They say, “Oh, yeah, you can use this to pull content from Amazon reviews and eBay reviews and product descriptions from sites like Amazon and Wal-Mart.”
This is very shaky ground for ethical use and I would never advise you to use scraped content whether you do it yourself by copying and pasting or you let a tool import content to your website.
Because guess what?
You’re still legally responsible for what goes on your website because it’s registered in your name, so you do not want to do this.
Now, what I would advise you to do instead is look for something called PLR, which stands for private label rights. And what private label rights means is that you are buying the right to use that content and even edit it as if it were your own.
Many sellers allow you to put your name on PLR content. So that is the way I would strongly recommend you go. I’m a partner with Samantha Angel and Kelly McCausey over at White Label Perks.
We do tons of PLR content and you can contact us on the site. Say there’s a topic you want to find PLR content for, but we don’t have it.
Send us an email. We know a lot of other PLR sellers. We can reach out to them and may find somebody who has what you’re looking for, and they have it legally.
The thing to keep in mind about PLR content is you always want to check the license before you buy it.
I know that there are a couple of sellers out there that will say, “Oh, you can use this on anything except membership sites. Or you can use this on anything except sites that you plan to flip a for profit.”
They just don’t want you reselling their content. And they don’t want to distribute it to a wide network. And that’s their right as the PLR creators so I would just advise you to go back through and check the license. As long as the license doesn’t say you can’t use it in a certain way, you’re free to do whatever you want with it.
So I hope this has been helpful. Maybe cleared up a few misconceptions for you. I can’t wait to see you guys again soon. Bye! 🙂