How Do You Feel When Someone Copies and Pastes Your Post?

This is probably one of those posts where not everyone is going to agree with what I say or why I say it 😎

But it’s one of the most common traps for new people — so we do need to discuss our views!

Here’s what I say:

It’s really great to love someone else work!

But you can’t copy and paste large sections or complete articles from other bloggers posts directly into posts on your blog or website.

You don’t do it for a few reasons.

Firstly if a blogger doesn’t include a Creative Commons license it means every thing that is written on their blog or website is automatically copyright.  Direct copying  of large sections or their complete article is only allowed with permission from that blogger.

Secondly most people consider it breaking blogging etiquette and a form of plagiarism.

Yes, publishing content online is about sharing and collaborating but it’s important to remember it can take considerable time for the original person to create that content.  Copy and pasting their content takes you seconds.

It might be harsh words but think of it as no different than copy and pasting a school assignment.

The whole idea of sharing is you build on their original work and input your own ideas/thoughts.

Attributing Another Person’s Content

Appropriate blogging etiquette is you can use a few paragraphs of their work and attribute them as the original source by including a link to their post.

Ideally you would also write a few of your own paragraphs expand on the topic.

For example, I’ve taken a paragraph from Larry Ferlazzo’s post and used it in my own post.

Here’s how I’ve attributed his words:

Example of attributing another bloggers content

Please note:

  • It’s common practice to indent if you are quoting other people’s content.

Posting Content With Permission

It’s not fine to copy an entire post written by another person, even if they use a Creative commons license, and even if you have attributed them as the original source, unless they have given you permission.

Key aspects when someone gives you permission is to acknowledge the original author, the website, their permission and link to the location where the content is from.

For example, Kathleen McGeady gave me permission to republish her post on Teaching Commenting Skills on this blog.

Here’s how I acknowledged her work:

How you show someone has given your permission to publish their posts

What To Do If Someone Copy/Paste Your Content

It’s generally a new person that gets caught out copy/pasting content because they aren’t aware that it isn’t appropriate.

Your best approach is to contact them privately, by email if possible,  to request them to remove your content and explain the reasons why.  Remember they are new and they didn’t realise.

Final Thoughts

So there’s my thoughts!

Feel free to leave a comment to share your thoughts:

  • Do you agree?
  • Disagree?
  • What other important advice would you give new people?

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70 thoughts on “How Do You Feel When Someone Copies and Pastes Your Post?

  1. I agree. Plagiarizing can be really annoying especially when you have put so much hard work in to it. Theft of website content is a rapidly growing problem and owners should check their content frequently to find out whether it is being used somewhere else. I use PlagTracker.com – http://www.plagtracker.com/ You may also try!

  2. You may also try a service like Tynt on your website. Anytime a visitor copies x amount of words from your site it includes a link back. It’s been useful for some of my other blogs!

  3. Jack, as a blogger, the issue for me is no one should repost an entire post of mine without permission. I posted it on my blog because it represents my thoughts. If readers comment on my thoughts on my blog I can interact with them. If they do that on another person’s blog, I have lost an opportunity to connect with my readers and they with me, the original writer.

    If someone values my words so much that they want to post the entire contents on their blog, it can be a high compliment, but they should seek my permission so I can be aware of, participate in, and grow from any conversation which surrounds my thoughts.

    Also if someone likes my thoughts, they may be interested in other things I have to say. If they are on my blog when they read my post, it is easier for them to connect with other topics I have written about.

    When posted to someone else’s blog, my words may take on a different meaning depending on the context in which they post them. Even if the meaning is not impacted, they are driving traffic to another blog, not mine.

    If a blogger really values something I have said, they should be able to quote the small bit that really “stood out” to them, share their thoughts on it, then link back to the entire original post on my blog with a recommendation for their readers to follow the link and read my entire post.

    To me, it all boils down to professional, intellectual, and scholarly courtesy and ethics.

  4. I agree to an extent. I dont think it needs to be over the top a link to the post or their website should be sufficient as long as its not being passed off as their own work I dont see the issue.

  5. (continuation of previous discussion …)+(oh, my English is lacking! Sorry!)
    I wanted to explain that in the future I would like to write (especially for my pupils but also for others who will read my blog) a series of posts in which to present / explain the rules of etiquette on the net. When I will do this, I would like to exemplify my posting, with articles from various blogs of others – among which I would put the spotlight on this post and others on the same theme. The idea is that I do not have to translate all/everything in Romanian because my students understand English well enough, just to indicate they read here and in other blogs where it deals with this issue. However, you have done important things in edublogs so we thank you and try to take the example (even if things do not work in my country so well and even though it will take time before we can say that we really started in blogging). I will translate what is necessary, I will show my students to read here and I hope things go well – just need time.

  6. I have found that students’ understanding of “ownership” changes as they age – but not as we would expect.

    Elementary school students seem to understand intellectual property and can clearly explain the kinds of plagiarism that would get them “in trouble.” However, as they get older and consider Fair Use, the line starts to blur. They start to find ways to justify using someone else’s work as “just sharing.”

    In adults, I have seen more extreme justifications for using someone’s work without permission. Several adults tried to explain their re-use of news articles by saying that the newspapers already have lots of money, so it is okay for the “little guy” to take posts from a news outlet and put them on their own blogs to generate ad revenue. They don’t see it as stealing, though they are clearly taking another person’s work and trying to use it for personal gain.

    Yes, mistakes are often made by those who are new to anything. I think those who make genuine mistakes are eager to correct them. Those who are less eager to correct their mistakes, or who continue their careless thievery, will eventually melt away as others realize they don’t really contribute.

  7. Totally agree with the idea of this post. I’ve never copied someone’s items and I’ll never do that. If I ever find something useful and I need to re-blog/mention, it seems natural to specify the source and of course if I got permission. It’s true that I took many links that are useful – only now I better set up the blog and add links to blogroll.

    Anyway, I’d like to know if I am allowed to present these considerations in my language / rules of blogging? (I did not claim the certified translator but netiquette rules must apply everywhere, I think)

    1. Hi B, the key as you highlight is to ask permission and then if granted than make sure you acknowledge who originally wrote the content and if you have translated it to then add your details to it to say that you did the translation.

      For example if someone asks to translate my work they get me to quickly check how it has been acknowledged to make sure I am comfortable with it.

      So if you would like to translate this post or any of my other posts into your language — please let me know and I would be honored.

    1. It is very disappointing when some one copy my or somebody else’s post. I don’t get angry because by getting angry I loose my own blood or feel bad myself.

  8. @Kristina Hi Kristina, my apologies for taking so long to respond. Definitely not normal for me but I’ve been very sick with the flu now for 11 days so everything is taking longer than I would like.

    I had seen your post when you originally posted it and watched with interest 🙂

    To be honest this topic is a really hard one because there are so many differing views on it.

    I’m stuck in a really hard place because I support all the bloggers on Edublogs.org so I do need to explain what is consider appropriate because often it is the new blogger that is caught out by this.

    In terms of your post when I saw it originally I honestly felt it was in the grey area. Certainly I would have argued that it was more in line with following the guidelines of appropriate since you had acknowledged the original post.

    The only area that any one could have said the opposite was the use of the image — since I don’t have a Creative Commons license on my blog. And I’ve often debated (with myself) about the pros and cons of adding a Creative Commons license.

  9. Mea culpa.

    Sue — I recently quoted one of your posts in one of my posts. It was a post that appeared on my blog via a clipping I made using Amplify.com. As you may or may not know, Amplify is a service that allows users to do Web clippings and then comment on them and there is an option to have that sent to one’s WordPress blog. Here is the clip in question: http://bit.ly/bAxkrN

    Now normally, when I write a blog post from scratch in WordPress quoting someone’s post and adding a remark or reflection to it, I only quote a small, necessary portion. And I *always* reference the author with a link and the proper quote indication. I had a bad experience a few years back of someone reposting my blog posts on my other blog and *not* quoting me (http://technogenii.net/?p=179) so believe me, I would never put someone through that.

    With Amplify, it’s a whole other ball game. One highlights a section of a Webpage or blog post or any other Web document to *Amplify* and share with others. But your post made me think twice about the whole issue. I realised that by *Amplifying your post*, the end result was that a large portion or your post was *quoted*. In addition, Amplify recently made available a plug-in that allows us to repost our Amplified Clips to WordPress or Blogger blogs, which I realise now, decontextualises the information even further.

    When reflecting on your above post, the thing that struck me was that had this been a regular blog post, I would have never taken so much of your post as a quote as it would not have been considered fair use. I’ve been blogging for a while now and even wrote a book about Edublogging where I discuss these very issues. But using a clipping tool had me looking at things from a very different perspective.

    Since I read this post, I went back on my blog where the Amplify post was reposted and scaled back considerably the amount that was quoted (http://edublogging.com/?p=319). The Amplify clip will remain the same as it really is like clipping a newspaper and adding a comment. But I’m seriously considering turning off my feed from Amplify to my blogs because I’ve just had a huge realization about this whole process.

    I really want to thank you for posting the above and have me reflect further on my own social media practices. That said, I also want to offer an apology because even though my intentions were honourable, I realise the result might have been less than pleasant for you. But from this error has come some really profound reflection which I hope will only contribute to this discussion.

    Sincerely,
    Kristina

  10. Thank you for the guidelines of copy and paste in blogging. I am just getting started and I appreciate the good advice.

  11. This was a great post. It is very informative. Prior to reading this, I would have never consider sharing information from one blog to another a copyright infringement. Technology is so vast and makes information so accessible that it is hard to have clarity on which items are open for sharing and which would be consider a violation. Your blog has provided plain and simple information to help avoid such infringements and has defintely given me the thought to be careful in the future. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Hi Sue!
    You go girl!

    Fantastic article – I am sending a link to a colleague doing an info science diploma to highlight the need for ettiquette, professionalism online and general good manners in using and correctly attributing others’ works.
    As Tomas Lasic put it – excellent and clear – a good gripe!

    Ciao for niao!
    PeterSW

    1. @Dean Thanks Dean. This is one of those posts that I sat on for about 2 years because I knew that not everyone would totally agree with my views on it.

      However, I really do believe the skills that we need educators to be modeling and teaching their students is that freely sharing content is about attributing others work and building on each others ideas/thoughts.

      @Peter Thanks for sharing with your colleague. Hopefully it helps them and they’ll share it with others.

  13. I agree Sue, and these are wise examples. It goes to the fact that if you are writing academically, then this is a tremendous way to set students on the correct path. Being able to conduct even a small literature review of what others are saying – be than in your own class – blogs, news or journal papers is sound practice. Being able to look at those who oppose or agree encourages critical thinking – a bibliography is okay to show the scope of research – however being able to reference work – critically – to demonstrate understanding – applied to your own work and argument is something that becomes a capstone skill as students move to senior and college environments.

    Many will encounter solutions such as Turn It In down the line. Being able to have workable standards, methods and norm behaviours is something that every teacher has an ethical and professional duty to teach. It is unacceptable for teachers to continue to use plain text in their own work, and worse that they cannot create a hyperlink to summise or support their content. I think it shows a massive difference between the ‘content bombers’ and those teachers who engage in deeper thought. If I was hiring a teacher – I would as to see this skill being demonstrated with students. It is a foundation skill.

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