Stealing content is a serious offense and is considered fraud. Essentially, it is stealing of intellectual property. It occurs when people copy written work without using the original source of the work. It is also seen as plagiarism when quotes are improperly used, either by failing to use quotation marks, changing the wording of an exact quote or lacking the expert's name and the original source of the material. What most people don't realize is that it doesn't have to be an entire work copied in order to be labeled as stealing. Sometimes, portions of the text are illegally copied, concepts are the same as another work with only a few new phrases created or the writer simply remixes the content without adding anything unique. The practice of plagiarizing is dishonest. It is considered steeling and is not allowed in academic settings. It also goes against the journalistic code of ethics. It puts the credibility of the writer and newspaper or website at risk. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a U.S. law that attempts to preserve copyrights. If you inadvertently copy content, you might get a DMCA and cease and desist letter from the original author before they take further legal action. Typically, once the article is taken down, there is no further action needed. Similarly, if you find that someone has copied your work, you have every right to do the same thing. Simply checking the publishing date of the content can prove who published the work first. The best way to protect yourself from stealing content is to cite references, including online sources. Use the name of the person you are quoting within the body of the work. Even paraphrasing, rewriting the content in your own words, can be interpreted as plagiarism when not accompanied by the source link. While specific rules need to be followed when writing academic papers, when writing online content, often the only thing you need to do is add a section titled references and place the website links you used for to gather information. It is better to use more resources than not enough, even if you did not directly quote from each source. The bottom line is that while it may be easy to boost your content by borrowing the work of others, it is easier to do things right the first time to risking your expert status as a writer or expert in your field by doing things by the book. Use quotations correctly, avoid using longer sections from other works and don't forget to include a list of your sources.

January 8, 2015