How To Use Content From Other Blogs Without Violating Copyright

Posted on July 11, 2012

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Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. This post is not intended as legal advise. If you have real concerns that you MIGHT be violating someone’s copyright, do not use it. Or ask permission first.

Sharing or copying quotes, photos, blog post many of us bloggers instinctively, without thinking about whether  they are doing something wrong. The open social web encourage them to do it.

If you find yourself wanting to pull a quotation from another website or blog, use one of their photos, or re-publish an entire blog post, here are a few rules of the road to guide you down the path of content curation copyright.

The Common Sense Approach to Copyright

Always ask for permission – This days most website and blogs have a contact page, use them that’s why they put it in there. You also could Tweet them or msg them on Facebook for quick respond.

Creative Commons – Many content creators especially photographers uses creative commons. Creative Commons is a service that helps define and provide licenses for content creators to define how and if their original work can be shared.  Some of the sites that uses creative commons are Flickr, Google Image Search.

Link Back – After asking them and they gave you the go sign always link back to there blog and to the author.

Curation Has It’s Limits — A weekly wrap up blog post where you summarize and link to other strong articles around the web is great. Even a wrap up of quotes or excerpts from some of your favorite blogs can be pretty acceptable as long as you provide links. Once your excerpts get so long that your reader does not need to click through to the original work, you have crossed a line.

Here are the best options you have for using photos that will not get you into copyright trouble:

  • Use the creative commons search functions on Google Image Search and Flickr search
  • Use your own original images
  • Buy images through a service like Shutterstock.com or iStock.com
  • Ask for direct permission from the photographer
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