Get Inspired By Others, But Don’t Plagiarize

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Blog Series: Seeking Content Inspiration

July 12, 2011 
– A great way to jog your writing mojo is to scroll through content similar to yours to see topic ideas that work for others. This can also be a dangerous practice if you’re not careful about plagiarism.

We can’t emphasize enough that plagiarism is a very, very bad thing no matter where your content is being published. A misconception about the Internet is that there’s no protection for your work once it’s out on the World Wide Web. Totally not true!

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We’re no legal experts on copyrighting, but we are pretty well versed in understanding how the Internet responds to copied content! You must be careful when using someone else’s source material as inspiration for your own content – too close to their original article could cause you issues in 2 ways.

The first problem is that you’re going to risk penalties for duplicate content when ranking on the search engines.
 Remember that Google’s Panda update deals a serious blow to unoriginal content, and if you’re writing too close to another article’s content, you’re going to feel the same pain.

The second problem is one of the ethical and legal implications, not the least of which is that the original content author may come after you! Some bloggers are very protective of their articles-and rightfully so!-and if you fail to cite them as a reference or at least provide some credit and a proper link-back you may find yourself in a sticky situation.

The solution? Police yourself. Run your articles through a plagiarism detection site like CopyScape, have a friend read both the article you’re drawing inspiration from and your article to make sure they don’t sound too much alike, and above all: use common sense!

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