Five Reasons it’s Wrong to Steal Other People’s Content

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There are really more than five reasons that it’s wrong to steal other’s people’s content but I wanted to touch on the topic of copyright infringement again. This week’s fab five Friday is more of a frustration five Friday since I had content stolen from my blog again this week. Are there people who really don’t know that it’s wrong to steal writing from others and use it as their own on their blog? Do people not know that you have to cite your sources when you use material from something that they used from someone else?

I contacted the person who took my content and asked them to remove it from their website. It took a bit of work to get him to do it but he did comply. His email to me said “My web site is something that I spend a few minutes a day stocking with relevant information.” I can’t even believe that someone though its OK to take hours of someone else’s work to spend minutes putting it on their blog to impress their clients. It’s wrong on so many levels.

Basic rules:

You can’t repost content from someone else’s blog without their permission. Period.

It’s unethical to take other’s people’s writing and pass it off as yours. Period.

If you read something and use the ideas for your content, cite your sources. Period.

Just this week, someone copied Paul Biedermann’s entire bio on Pinterest word for word using the same spacing with special characters. Clearly a cut and paste job from someone who is saying they work in design, marketing and social media. Stealing someone’s entire bio is not right. I know that Paul worked very hard to create the right message and word choice. I was going to share the images here but Paul has updated his information. When someone steals your content it diminishes your message and how will people know that yours was the original?

Another example from Pinterest. One of my very first boards I created was called Blogtastic and I use it to save blogs. I made the word up and apparently people liked it. One day someone was pinning ALL the items from my board and taking the my titles as well. She was systematically copying all the work I had done on Pinterest in about a year and a half. While Pinterest is about repinning and sharing, it’s supposed to be an inspiration for others not to copy all of it. Your boards and bio should reflect you and what you like, not what you stole from someone else. So, I searched for blogtastic boards in Pinterest and this is what I found:

Pinterest has copyright and trademark information on their website. “Pinterest respects the intellectual property rights of others and expects its users to do the same. It is Pinterest’s policy, in appropriate circumstances and at its discretion, to disable and/or terminate the accounts of users who repeatedly infringe or are repeatedly charged with infringing the copyrights or other intellectual property rights of others.”

Be original. Stealing other’s bios, content, words, ideas, photographs, or artwork is wrong. It’s not yours and as interesting as you think it is or as much as you may like it, it’s wrong. Period.

Here are a few sources with more information on writing, copyright laws and plagiarism.



“Many people think of plagiarism as copying another’s work or borrowing someone else’s original ideas. But terms like “copying” and “borrowing” can disguise the seriousness of the offense:


  • to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own
  • to use (another’s production) without crediting the source
  • to commit literary theft
  • to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source

In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else’s work and lying about it afterward.”


“Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture.”

3. Just Because it’s Not Illegal Doesn’t Mean it’s Right by Sara Hawkins

4. “I’m Mad as Hell and I’m not Gonna Take This Anymore!” A Tale of Copyright Infringement

5.  How to file a DMCA Takedown Notice by Sara Hawkins

Have you had your content taken from your blog or somewhere else? What did you do about it?

Featured image courtesy of  Crimson Devices via Creative Commons.

Article by Peg Fitzpatrick

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Writer & Social media strategist
Co-author of The Art and Science of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users with Guy Kawasaki. Social media is my passion. And my job. I'm here sharing my professional experience working day to day in the trenches of social media, marketing, and blogging. I work with global brands and leaders in the social media sphere every day. I've spearheaded successful social-media campaigns for Motorola, Audi, Google, and Virgin as well as having been a brand ambassador for Kimpton Hotels. I work with the best brands and make them even better! I'll share tips and tricks, provide positive inspiration and answer social media questions through the content that I create and curate. What sets me apart? I'm an innovative idea girl that follows through and gets the job done. Social media is my career, not just a hobby.