Myths And Truths About Using Online Content

Web site owners, whether their online real estate is of a business or personal nature, have varying ideas on what constitutes the proper use of online content. This could be because there is so much information surrounding online content, and not all of it is accurate.

The internet is a dynamic environment where the rules seem to be in a state of constant change, and so it makes sense that so many differing opinions about the proper use of online content would be in such abundant supply.

The Information Sharing Culture

In this day and age, everyone seems to have a camera in the palm of their hand. Sharing the photos we take is as easy as a couple of taps, swipes or presses of a button. With this kind of activity occurring on a regular basis, it can be easy to assume that the same can be done with online content. But this is simply not true.

Copyrighting Conundrums

Those who own a web site may think that any original content they use will be protected if they copyright it. While intellectual copyright does apply at the moment of a work’s creation, it’s in the proving of ownership where many web site owners run into trouble.

Some say it’s enough to mail yourself a copy of your content, and then not open the envelope. But others say that there are many variations surrounding what constitutes ownership for the mailing solution to be sufficient.

Myths And Truths About Using Online Content

Another popular rumor is that you can copy anything as long as you give credit to the source. This is another misconception. The answer here is to think about how much of the original work you plan to copy. If it is substantial, then you may need permission from the original creator to use it.

So what can a content creator do if they want to protect their creations?

Solution: Notify Your Internet Service Provider

Notifying your ISP that possible content infringement has taken place may help you in the long run. By raising the red flag first, you may be better able to defend the content as your own. In many cases, the content thief was able to claim ownership of the content, simply because the original creator wasn’t aware or didn’t notify the proper authorities fast enough.

The best time to notify any authority is as soon as you suspect your content has been copied. Internet providers can be instrumental to this process, as notifying the ISP of a suspected offender can see that content or web site taken down.

Solution: Use Infringement-Tracking Software Or Apps

There are also several solutions available that can assist with the detection of stolen content, and many of these are content-specific. For example, a program called CopyGator will track all of the blog content you post, and then generate reports which tell you how much of your content it appears has been copied. Other resources, like Plagium, require the user to paste their content into a field, which the resource will check for duplicates once the ‘Quick Search’ button is checked. The user can check by text, URL or several other criteria.

Copying Etiquette

There are several methods that you as a web site owner can use to ensure you are giving the proper credit when using the work of others.

If you are hosting someone else’s work on your blog in the form of a guest blog post, then the right way to give credit is to mention their name and company (if applicable), provide them with enough space for a short bio and a link to their site, and perhaps room in their blog post for a link or two. This will ensure guest bloggers receive not only the credit that is due them, but also exposure for their own web sites.

Guest author Jesse Schwarz writes on a variety of topics, particularly related to technology.  He recommends, a site dedicated to internet safety and locating reputable ISPs in your neighborhood.