"Plagiarism for Dummies" - The ActiveRain Community Guidelines Re-Visited

By
Real Estate Agent with Fathom Realty West Sound WA State 52404
https://activerain.com/droplet/588Z

Well, it's time once again for this weeks edition of "ActiveRain Community Guidelines Re-Visited" where we're going through each of the guidelines, one by one, and expanding on their meaning.

This weeks guideline is perhaps one of the most important, and often, the one most violated:

  • Respect copyrights. Only upload content/images that you have the right to use (what you have paid for or own), and whose copyright rules allow for commercial use.

And another one that is similar:

  • Do not plagiarize (copy and paste) content from another source, and publish it as your own. You must obtain expressed permission from the original source to republish, and give reference to such within the body of your post. Permission to re-print is NOT the same as permission to re-publish.
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Let me start off by confessing that I was guilty of violating this guideline very early on in my initial few weeks on ActiveRain. I was a newb. The only blogging I had done was on MySpace, and I don't think that really qualifies. I was totally ignorant about the whole 'copyright' 'plagiarism' thing.

Well, ignorance is bliss, but it doesn't keep you out of jail, or court, for that matter.

Let's start off first by defining what exactly constitutes copyright infringement:

"The original author of a particular article or blog post is the only person who has the right to derive any benefits from the publication and subsequent distribution of that article/post. You must purchase/pay for the right to publish or distribute someone else's intellectual property, otherwise you do not have permission to publish that material as content on your own blog."

I think a lot of well-intentioned, and seemingly innocent people are guilty, at one point or another, or copyright infringement or plagiarism. Many of us enter the ActiveRain blogging fray with little or no prior experience. We simply lurk and learn. We watch other members, and mimic what they appear to be doing. We assume that certain practices are accepted. But many times, they aren't.

It's usually not until someone makes a comment in your post, or sends you an e-mail, that you realize you've messed up. Or worse, one of the AR gods robs a few of your points, and you cry 'Foul!' Fortunately for me, I had some very kind mentors who helped point out the errors of my ways.

Just so we're all on the same page here, points are awarded for your own original content. Points are not bestowed when you simply reprint other people's intellectual property, whether you have permission to republish their content or not. But we'll deal with that issue at another time.

Perhaps one of the resident authorities on this subject is our own, Lenn Harley. If you peruse her blog archives, you'll find a wealth of very helpful and practical advice as it relates to copyright infringement. Lenn herself has pocketed a nice chunk of change from those who were foolish enough to mess with her content/images.

In one of her articles, "You cannot 're-print' on ActiveRain," Lenn states: 

"IF YOU DIDN'T WRITE THE ARTICLE, you do not own the content and cannot publish it - EVEN WITH ATTRIBUTION."

Hold the Bus, Gus! You mean, even if we give credit to the original author within the body of our article, we can't publish it?

Lenn goes on to say: 

"If you ask an author for permission to "REPRINT" and receive that permission, you may PRINT the article and distribute, perhaps in mailings or hand-outs in a relocation package.  The author's name will be on the article.  You are merely distributing the article and will benefit only by the limited number of copies distributed. The author still benefits by having their writing distributed."

Lenn Harley of Homefinders.comSo what you're saying is that obtaining the original writer's permission to re-print doesn't mean you have the right to re-publish their content to your own blog?

As Lenn affirms: 

"PERMISSION TO REPRINT IS NOT PERMISSION TO PUBLISH"

(Now might be a good time to go back through your archive of past blog posts, and delete/amend any suspect content, whether text or images)

So what if you only want to use a small portion of someone's content, perhaps a sentence or two, as quotes within your blog post?

Well, according to Lenn: 

"USE SNIPPETS AND LINK - THAT'S "FAIR USE"

"The proper or legal way to get the information to the reader would be to publish an "introduction" or "snippet" (three or four lines of the original material) and then LINK to the article on the author's web site. The "Fair Use" exclusion under copyright law was intended for reviewers of original material, critics of books, movies, etc. to use "SNIPPETS"or short excerpts of original material and then publish the review of the original, not the original.  When one publishes an entire article, they have violated the copyright of the author, even if you give attribution and include the author's name in the article."

~   o   ~   o   ~   o   ~   o   ~   o   ~   o   ~   o   ~   o   ~

So there ya go! A crash course on copyright infringement and plagiarism. I don't think we've quite covered all there is to say on this topic, so next week, I want to discuss further the issue of copyright infringement as it relates to the copying of images/pictures.

Until then, have a fun (and legal) rest of the week in the Rain! 

(Note:  All quoted source material is the intellectual property of Lenn Harley of Homefinders.com, and is used by both expressed permission and 'Fair Use' exclusion)

For further reading enjoyment:  How to Kreate Kwality Kontent   Is There Really Copyright Confusion? 

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UPDATE:  A suggestion was made to make this post available to our members when they encounter a blog post on our Network that clearly constitutes 'plariarized' (copied & pasted) content from another source, and to simply insert a link to this article into the comments section of that post. Others may feel more comfortable sending an e-mail to the fellow member, with the link embedded there. Either way, please feel free to use this post in whatever ways are most appropriate in assisting other members to better understand the importance of this issue. And always remember to demonstrate grace to those who are in error. Thanks!

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Rich Jacobson is a District Director for Fathom Realty and a licensed REALTOR®; an avid Crab Hunter, Clam Digger, and Oyster Shucker, He is the Social Media Evangelist for Life on the Kitsap Peninsula & The Western Puget Sound in scenic WA State.

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Anonymous
Elizabeth Birmingham

Is re-blogging plagiarism? If so why do we have the re-blog feature?

 

Oct 30, 2008 04:05 AM #99
Anonymous
Sandy Thompson

This is such an excellent and informative reminder to every blogger.  We have had problems in our local MLS when agents use the same photos and verbage from another agent's expired listing.  It's frustrating for those of us who take our own photos to see them showing up on someone else's listings!

Oct 31, 2008 06:07 AM #100
Rainmaker
106,955
Kelly Willey
Long and Foster BEL AIR MARYLAND - Bel Air, MD
Short Sale Agent - Harford County Maryland Real Estate

There is a guy in my market area that cuts and pastes articles everday from the local paper and posts them as his own material. What can we do to stop this misuse?

Nov 08, 2008 12:48 PM #102
Ambassador
576,691
Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Kelly:   Shoot me an email with the member's name, and I will look into it. Thanks!  rich at Activerain.com

Nov 08, 2008 05:08 PM #103
Rainmaker
60,990
Tami Vroma
West Michigan Real Estate Specialist-Five Star Real Estate - Grand Haven, MI
Realtor, Grand Rapids MI Real Estate

I just left you a message Rich.  I just got points taken away and I STILL don't understand what I did.  I wrote all the content myself. I paid for the pictures and I did my own video.  The only thing I do understand that I did wrong was that I should not have posted it to the Realtor group.  How can I get help?  As a newbie I am pretty overwhelmed trying to learn everything and thought I did everything correct.  I wish they would give us a personal note or something telling us what we did wrong in plain english.  They connect me to three links and I could only figure out how it related to me in one of them.

Isn't there a better way of doing this.  It seems someone could look at a blog and know they are new to this whole AR thing and give them a little help and tell them what they did wrong BEFORE they take away points.  If someone would have told me what Idid wrong, I would have fixed it immediately--I still will if I can figure out what I did wrong.

HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nov 11, 2008 01:52 AM #104
Ambassador
576,691
Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Tami:   It was really great talking to you by phone today. Hopefully we got everything worked out. Welcome to the Rain! I know you will come to enjoy and value your involvement here!

Nov 11, 2008 05:47 AM #105
Rainmaker
711,478
Cheryl Johnson
Highland Park, CA

Hi Rich,

As you may know, Bob and I are adding several agents to our office, and I am bumbling through the project of creating a new, current, relevant Policy and Procedure Manual.

May I please Copy and Paste some of your post here on copyright to use in the "Social Media" section of my Manual??    :-)

Thanks!!!!!!

Nov 13, 2008 12:07 AM #106
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Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Cheryl:   Absolutely! I would be honored to know it was being used for such a purpose!

Nov 13, 2008 12:12 AM #107
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Rich,

You may be surprised to get today a comment to a post written in 2008. I came from Tim Maitski comment on my blog about plagiarism. I never read your blog, I just followed the common sense, common decency rule.

I find the blog post very important to confused souls, and it has not lost a bit of importance, any bit of relevance today.

Thank you

Sep 06, 2009 06:28 PM #108
Ambassador
576,691
Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Jon:   A nice stroll down memory lane. Thanks for draggin' this one back up!...

Sep 06, 2009 08:13 PM #109
Ambassador
1,716,063
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Rich,

I have seen some forms like Seller's disclosures, prepared by attorney, with a line to initial at each paragraph. Making sure than not only you read (or looked through) the  whole document, but forcing to pay attention to each line.

In the latest discussion, I was thinking that something like that, meaning your blog, would spare some troubles later on. As many others, I do not start with reading the rules or quidelines, I usually get to them when I am trying to figure whether I am getting into a hot water. Sometimes general decency rules help, but not always. I thought that  I understand the way it works, but your blog has more than what I could derive from logic of everyday life only.

Thanks

Sep 07, 2009 05:47 PM #110
Ambassador
576,691
Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Jon:  If memory serves me, I think when people first sign-up to join AR, they are directed to the Community Guidelines, and are required to check a box that states that they've read them and agree to abide by them. The purpose of my series was to simply re-iterate what the Community Guidelines contained, and to expand upon their meaning....

Sep 07, 2009 06:18 PM #111
Ambassador
1,716,063
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Rich,

You might be right. It might be there. I might have forgotten, or when I signed up, maybe it was not yet there. Either way, very often I have to check that I have read and agree to the TOS, and i do it and I do not read it.

Just curious how many guys and gals actually read it.

Well, you gave me the idea for my next blog. Half of the points are yours, you are free to take them.

Sep 08, 2009 10:17 AM #112
Rainmaker
291,194
Robin Rogers
Robin Rogers, Silverbridge Realty, San Antonio, Texas - San Antonio, TX
CRS, TRC, MRP - Real Estate Investment Adviser

One of the agents in my market copies and pastes online news items on an almost daily basis. At least he (usually) includes a link to the article, which isn't necessary to follow, since he has posted the entire article on his blog!

When I think how hard I work to come up with original content, or at least paraphrase and consolidate market news for my blog, it really pisses me off.

 

Jan 02, 2010 03:07 AM #113
Anonymous
Bonnie Augostino

Thanks for all the info.  I am brand new to AR and keep hesitating to jump in as I am unsure of how to begin and do not understand all the rules of yet.  I am finding a lot of information and guidance from so many members, so thank you for your post.

Feb 18, 2010 03:16 AM #114
Rainmaker
3,043,359
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ

plagiarism is a growing issue, hence the product growth such as Copyscape

Jan 10, 2011 11:07 AM #116
Rainmaker
657,397
Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766 - Orlando, FL
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836

I am new to Active Rain and still unsure of all the rules. I appreciate all the information in your blog and also I have read the comments which are also very helpful. I will reread all this a few more times. :-)! Thank you so very much, Rich.

May 28, 2013 01:12 PM #117
Rainer
139,841
Ridhi Raheja
Movement Mortgage (Illinois) - Naperville, IL
FHA, 203k, VA, Jumbo, PreApproval, Jumbo Home Loan

hello , 

 

I dont know  if this the right place for this comment . I had just done a blog fo rmy activerain account and my personal blog and another activerain member used the blog and changed  some of the words  and the title and posted as their own blog . I happen to know the person , what is the right way to deal with this . 

 

 thank for your help 

Nov 21, 2013 12:30 PM #118
Rainer
4,297
Jeannie Whitworth

Thank you for this information. I am also new to Active Rain and I want to make sure that when I blog that I am doing it right. I have read over several of the blogs and I have really enjoyed them and can relate. If a blog has a facebook feed on it, can I send it to my facebook page or do I need permission first?

Jan 13, 2014 03:20 AM #119
Rainmaker
143,656
Julie Larson Realtor® Sarasota FL 941-882-0322
PalmerHouse Properties Florida - 941-882-0322 | Serving Sarasota, Manatee & Charlotte Counties - Sarasota, FL
When you're thinking of moving...ThinkSuncoast.com

Happy New Year! 2016 is my year to start blogging regularly on AR. If I post my own original content on my AR blog first and then later on my own WordPress website, is that okay or is that against the AR rules?

Jan 06, 2016 09:45 AM #120
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