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Top Ten Reasons Why it is Wrong to Copy or Rewrite Someone Else's Article

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Would You Steal an Old Lady’s Purse? Then Why Would it Be OK to Steal Someone’s Articles?

The internet has made it so easy for people with no moral compass to steal the work of others. Frequently, i find my articles and photos copied or slightly rewritten and posted on someone else’s site or blog in blatant cases of copyright infringement and plagiarism.

I have often wondered about the mental state of copyright infringers. Do they assume other authors don’t need the money or do they simply not care that they are stealing someone else’s work? Did they miss class the day their teachers told them not to copy the work of others?

Top Ten Reasons Why it is Wrong to Copy or Rewrite Someone Else's Article

Good Writers Invest in Their Careers & Articles

Many writers have invested heavily in their careers. Often they are paying off student loans to get a degree in journalism or English, or perhaps they have invested in night school or other adult training classes to become better writers. Then they have gone through the process of trying to find a job, perhaps event landing in the unemployment line more than once as newspapers and magazines have closed and writing jobs have become harder to find.

Writing Is Not Free

Often writing for the web is the only alternative for a writer in the 21st century, but even then there are dues to pay. Writers invest in travel expenses, tickets to attend events, often in cameras for accompanying photos. Good writers spend time crafting their articles and rewriting them, as well as formatting them for the web. Writing an article is never completely ‘free’ as event the investment of time is worth something.

Writing for Income

If they are writing for the web, chances are the writers are not making much money to begin with. Writing for the web usually involves earning less then a penny per page view or a small percent of income from Google ads. It is not big money, and writers cannot afford to split their page views and ad revenue income with someone who is stealing their work.

Top Ten Reasons Why it is Wrong to Copy or Rewrite Someone Else's Article

Top 10 Reasons It is Wrong to Copy or Rewrite Someone Else’s Article

Here are the top ten reasons not to copy or rewrite someone else’s article.

10. The original author might have paid to get a degree in college in English or journalism.

9. The original author might have paid for night courses or other training in writing.

8. The original author might have stood in unemployment lines trying to find a writing job after college or layoff.

7. The original author might have found the only job opening and source of income to be writing for the web.

6. The original author might have invested heavily in the article, having to pay to attend the event they covered; or mileage to travel to a location they wrote about; or parking at the location; or spending hours writing and rewriting the article on a computer using a word processing program which the writer paid for.

5. The author might be depending on their page views and ad sales as their only source of income.

4. When you copy someone else’s work, you are not paying for the education, training, equipment and other expenses the original writer paid for.

3. When you copy someone else’s work, you are not paying them for the article or their work.

2. When you copy someone else’s work, you are taking their source of income for yourself.

1. When you copy someone else’s work, you are STEALING it through COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT, and if you put your name or blog’s name on it as the author or source, you are also PLAGIARIZING.

And keep in mind, a writer OWNS his or her work from the moment it is written, whether or not the article has a copyright notice posted or not. If you copied an article from a website which also copied the article — you are still guilty of copyright infringement unless you obtained permission from the copyright holder. Before you copy any article or photo from any site, you have a legal and moral obligation to find out where the article originated and contact the owner for permission to copy or PURCHASE the work.

Stealing & The Bible

What would the Bible have to say about it? In several gospel accounts, Jesus comments that a laborer is worthy of his wages which indicates that a worker should get paid for his efforts. This would apply to writers as much as any other business. This idea is important enough in scripture for Timothy to quote it in 1 Timothy 5:18. The Old Testament and Torah make it even more simple. God gave the commandment directly to Moses: Thou shalt not steal.

Top Ten Reasons Why it is Wrong to Copy or Rewrite Someone Else's Article

Theft

Would you just take food from a restaurant or grocery store without paying? Take clothes from a store without purchasing them? Steal an old lady’s purse? Why would you ever think it is right to take someone else’s article? That is like reaching into their mailbox and removing their paycheck to cash it for yourself.

Copyright Infringement & The Law

But if the Bible, Torah and morals don’t cut it for you, how about this? Copyright infringement is not only morally wrong, it is illegal. Whether it is copying a Hollywood movie or copying an article, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the US and the Copyright Directive or EUCD of the European Union have defined laws governing copyright infringement.

Writers Fighting Back

So next time you are thinking about copying or rewriting someone else’s article, keep in mind that websites are required to remove copyright infringing material to avoid liability, and writers have become more and more savvy about how to get infringing material pulled as well as how to take other legal actions against copyright infringers. In some cases, writers will network with each other to take down a blog that is copying articles from more than one writer.

STOP COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

If you can’t write your own original content, or hire someone to write for you, you have no business setting up a website or blog. If writing isn’t your talent, find another job, but STOP COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. If you are still confused, books like The Copyright Handbook below may come in handy.

Also see:

Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement: Thou Shalt Not Steal
Beauty & Copyright Infringement
Pet peeve: Plagiarism & copyright Infringement of doll articles
More Writing Tips

Top Ten Reasons Why it is Wrong to Copy or Rewrite Someone Else's Article
General Contributor
Janice is a writer from Chicago, IL. She created the "simple living as told by me" newsletter with more than 12,000 subscribers about Living Better and is a founder of Seekyt.

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