Copyblogging 101

Taking an exam

Do you remember back in school when you were taking a big test – also the most quiet time of any school day – and you could almost “feel” the eyes of the person next to you stealing looks over at your work to see how you had answered a particular question? The natural reaction was to take your non-writing hand and casually put it over your work in a way that made it impossible to see your answers. This was of course unless it was this really cute red-headed girl named Tricia who I had a huge crush on and for whom I would have crossed a bed of burning embers. She could have any answer she wanted!!

Over the last few years, there has been a cataclysmic change going on concerning published content and material covered by copyright, especially on the Internet. The old saying, “What goes on the Internet, stays on the Internet” is definitely true, however with the propagation of content around the world, it becomes extremely difficult to monitor whether someone is “trying to copy your answers.”

I have blog readers from all over the world and for all I know, someone may very well have copied and pasted content from my posts into their website and claimed it as their own. I certainly don’t have the means to investigate the millions of blog posts that are put onto the Internet every day to see if someone stole my content so how am I supposed to protect what is rightfully mine? Guess what, you can’t.

This may be quite discouraging to you aspiring authors who envision one day publishing a book but the fact is, there are millions of bits of information put out into the world every day, of which 1% could easily be saying the same thing in a slightly different way and therefore construed as copying. But who is really capable of a completely, totally, original thought?  Aren’t we all influenced in subtle ways by every experience we have, and therefore when a thought does come, are we absolutely positive we came up with it? Or, as is more likely the case, the idea was planted in our brain by some experience and our thought is really just our spin on it.

Seth Godin, in his blog “Originality” says that those who truly are the idea creators, the ones who come up with that completely original thought, are generally shunned by society as being weird, crazy, out-of-touch, eccentric or just plain off their rocker.

This article isn’t about condoning outright plagiarism, and for those that do steal, there is a special and very warm condo reserved just for you in the after-life, right next to the lava river and scenic volcano, where you’ll become very familiar with a pitchfork.

No this is about being sure to give credit where credit is due. If you want to put your spin on an idea that you got from someone else, be sure and give them credit. Anyone’s idea can be improved upon in a thought provoking and interesting way, one that has your special experience and flavor.

I’d love to know your thoughts and if you need help with a strategy for blogging, please get in touch with us, we would love to help.


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