Sharing the fun and creativity in my world and encouraging the same in yours.

“Hey! That’s my blog post on your site!” 😦

A lot of people do not realize that once you’ve written something online and posted it, it is considered published material, and is, thereby, subject to the U.S. Copyright Laws which state you cannot copy, reproduce, distribute, etc. without prior written consent of the original author. Unfortunately, I see copyright infringement happening far too often in the blogging world.

What exactly is copyright infringement? It is when someone copies then publishes your content on their site, thereby infringing on the original author’s copyright. (It’s kind of like copying your classmate’s essay answer verbatim on an exam.) Some do it intentionally (making it their own without any accreditation to you), and others do it blindly oblivious to copyright laws.


Important stuff to know

Look for and read the Terms of Service under Copyright on the original author’s site. If the original author doesn’t have a TOS, they usually have this statement at the bottom of each post and/or page:

Copyright 2012 {Name of site/blog] All rights reserved.”

What does “All Rights reserved.” mean? It means don’t copy, publish and thereby distribute my stuff. Period.


One exception is a recipe

With a recipe, a list of ingredients is not protected under copyright law. However, if that list of ingredients you copied and pasted to your site or blog also includes cooking instructions, it is considered copyright protected, and you must get written permission from the author before doing so.

If you can’t get permission, just list the ingredients and link to the author’s site so your audience can acquire the full recipe lawfully.


Side note: According to the U.S. Copyright Laws, whether or not a piece of work is published or unpublished, it is still covered under copyright laws once it is written.

Side note to wanna-be authors: When you write something and post it online, it is considered published material. That’s why it’s usually not good for a writer to publish a book on their site/blog that they want published by an actual publishing house. Most publishers don’t want to publish and distribute a book that readers can access for free. There’s no money in it for anyone. (There are exceptions to this rule.)


What’s the proper way to reference and/or encorporate someone’s writing into your blog?

You can copy and publish two or three sentences of the original post (make sure to quote it), credit the original author then make sure to link to the original author’s site so people can click through and finish reading the post where it is originally published and copyrighted.

You cannot copy the entire post, article, story, or recipe and publish it on your site in its entirety. That infringes on the original author’s copyright laws. The exception? If you are granted permission to do so by the original author and then state so in your post.

If you copy and paste the original piece of work, you are reproducing and distributing someone else’s writing/material/content without prior written consent of the original author and that is unlawful. Don’t do it.

Copyright 2012 – All rights reserved.


Comments on: "Basic Copyright Infringement Explained" (3)

  1. Unfortunately the ones who need to understand this probably won’t bother to read it. Good post

    • Yes, I realize that conundrum but even if one blogger reads this who doesn’t know any better and learns something from it; I will be happy. 🙂 Here’s hoping! Btw, I visited your blog, especially love your cat narratives, (as a former cat owner, I can attest to the attitude). lol Thanks for your comments!

      • Appreciate your purpose. If only everyone would play nice….Ah, the animal antics – sprinkle those in periodically to keep it from getting too serious. I know a “good” blog has one focus, but I just get sidetracked…..plan to visit here again soon. Thanks

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