Blogging or creating a business website on WordPress CMS is an affordable and easy way to create a digital presence. Unfortunately, the Wild West nature of these sites can get you into legal trouble. Here are some legal mistakes people make with their WordPress website that can doom it from the onset.
1. Great Image, Let’s Reuse It
When you use an image without attribution, this is a form of intellectual property theft. The owner of the image can sue you. Using public domain images is safer, but you still need to attribute it to the public domain using the right language so that someone else doesn’t claim you used their image. Another option is taking pictures yourself to use on your blog. When you take this route, use the right wording to attribute the image to yourself and describe the rights, if any, of others to use it.
2. Excerpts, Rewrites, and Plagiarism, Oh My
What is the difference between an excerpt and plagiarism? The first difference is attribution, citing the source you are quoting to give them credit. And no, you cannot copy someone else’s article verbatim and post it on your site unless you want to receive a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notice or get involved in a lawsuit.
If you do become involved in a lawsuit, an electronic discovery service will be an integral part of the discovery process.
You can write about someone else’s book, blog or article so long as you mention the source you are quoting. A safer bet is linking to that source, as well, so that others can read that source for themselves.
Do not copy someone else’s article verbatim and then write about it. Google will penalize the article as plagiarism. Instead, quote a sentence or paragraph and then write about it in your own words. You can do this for an entire article broken up by your analysis and criticism of it, and so long as your writing is more than fifty percent of the text, Google will treat it as unique.
Rewrites are a form of plagiarism often done to get around the duplicate content penalty. It is intellectual property theft to spin someone else’s article and then pass it off as your own.
3. Copyright, What Copyright?
Technically, you own a copyright to everything you create, including the text of your blog. You can easily put a copyright symbol on your blog, which is a good idea in general. Include a final slide with your company name and copyright at the start of any slideshow or video.
Filing for a federal copyright should be restricted to the content that is most valuable to you. For example, file a copyright for your books, your videos and other works that will hurt you financially if others rip it off. You can also file a copyright for the content you’ve created to date at once to save money on filing fees. Why file a copyright? The copyright makes it possible for you to sue them in the most straightforward (and affordable) way possible for intellectual property theft.
Oleksiy is the Founder of ArtDriver. He oftentimes takes the lead as the Agile Project Manager and SEO expert on selected projects, which allows him to be hands-on with the latest trends. In his spare time, Oleksiy enjoys playing the guitar and spending time with his family.