Finding Original Content For Your Blog or Website


by Jayaram V

Most search engines nowadays discourage outright copying of other authors' original works and reposting them. The reasons are simple. People do not visit websites by book marking. Most visitors, nearly 90%, come to a website through searches. After the search is done, they do not even remember which websites they visited, unless they have visited the same website several times.

There are over five billion active websites on the internet, in addition to blogs and websites hosted on secondary domains. This number is bound to double or triple in the next few decades as the world increasingly adapts to internet as the main source of communication and entertainment. When you search for a particular keyword, the search engines show the most original works in the first few search pages. Even if the blog or website that has duplicate content appears in the search below the original website, people will not read the same information again.

Therefore the argument that "I am trying to help you by copying your information," does not make sense. It is just plain nonsense. If you want to help other people, please provide a link or write something good about them in a message forum, tweet or your own blog, but do not tell them that you want to help them by copying their own work. It is like saying, "Oh, please give me your necklace or ring. I will donate it to an orphanage and get you a good name!" If you are familiar with how the searches work and the sites are ranked, you would not even think of posting duplicate content on your website.

What the violators argue ?

If you confront those who steal your information by contacting them they will act in one or more of the following ways.

1. They will tell you rudely that they were doing you a great service (which, of course you never asked for) by spreading your name and giving you free publicity!

2. They will act like they are the victims and you have victimized them with your rude behavior. They do it to make you feel guilty as a defensive reaction and try to transfer their guilt to you.

3. They either threaten you verbally or threaten to withdraw their support and patronage (who needs?) to you and your work.

4. They may plan and start a vicious campaign against you or tarnish your image. (This is a risk you have to take.)

5. They will tell you that they will never visit your website again and you are finished. (Who wants a thief to loiter around your house?).

6. They refuse to recognize your right to your work and tell you that legal actions would not work (Remember if they were law abiding they would not have violated the copyright at all.)

7. They will also insult you and say that you are a selfish and self-centered person who does not want to share and want to eat the whole cake. (Would they be generous enough to share their credit card information with others please?)

Legal status

Copyright infringement in the USA is covered under both Civil and Criminal law. Under the criminal law, the offenders, if proven guilty, are liable to be punished up to five year imprisonment and $250000 fine per violation. You may find here more information about Copyright Law of the United States of America. When a copyrighted material is reproduced and used, or infringed without proper written authorization, the following misdemeanors arise.

1. Infringement on your intellectual property. You do not even need to post a copyright notice on the page to claim the right.

2. Altering or modifying content, changing titles, adding images presenting in a way that undermines its value.

3. Using it for commercial purposes by adding Google Ads or other commercial banners.

4. Disrupting your business by stealing your property whereby your website traffic has been compromised and you suffered a monetary loss.

Personally, I would say that this should be the last option. However, it depends upon how serious the problem is and how obstinate the offender is. You can claim damages for each asset that has been infringed upon. No doubt it takes time and costs, but you can always negotiate terms with a good lawyer to fight your case and offer to share with him any compensation you may get. If the case is weak your lawyer will tell you. If it is strong, he would see an opportunity and might feel motivated to take up your case. If the offenders website is located in the USA it would be easier to fight the case, because it is easier to send notices and summons. However you can also file legal cases against offenders who live abroad. Most importantly you have the option to file the case in the state where you live if your website is proprietary. If your website is registered under a Company, you can file from where your company is registered. Usually a Jury will be appointed to decide these cases.

What you can copy

If you are looking for content, you can use the following information without any legal hassles.

1. Public domain works, if the information is relevant to your work and it is clearly marked public domain. The rules vary from country to country. Hence you have to be careful.

2. References and quotations from other people's writings if they do not exceed two or three sentences in length.

3. Music, audio files, videos, and images that are available under various Creative Commons licenses with proper attribution.

4. You can interview other people, authors, writers, religious gurus, etc., and post their views. All that you need is a few contacts, a recorder and a pen or a piece of paper. You do not have to interview celebrities. You can interview a teacher, a priest, a vegetable vendor, your own kid, and let their voices be heard. You can do it even on phone.

You may still wonder why copying and posting other people's writing on the internet is not a good option. Internet freed the people from the clutches of public media. The media can no more indulge in propaganda in the name of news. The news channels that still do it pay a heavy price by driving away a number of potential viewers. Previously you had to rely solely upon a few newspapers, magazines and television channels for information. Now, the sources are endless. You do not require anyone's permission to host a website. The cost of registering domains and hosting websites has come down drastically. Now for less than a hundred dollars of annual expense, you can host a website and earn some revenue from it. The whole effort is worthwhile if that blog or website reflects your personality and becomes your voice rather than someone else's voice. If you are housewife, you can write about cooking. If you are a professional, you can write about your profession or provide technical advice. The best thing about it is that you can do it in your spare time.

How to be an original

The strength of the Internet is that it gives you an opportunity to compete for space. If you run a website or maintain a blog, here are a few suggestions you can follow to remain in circulation and find your own niche audience.

1. Be yourself: Do not live another person's life or imitate other people. Be yourself and express your opinions. People react to the same event in a thousand ways. Therefore, bring your unique perspective to the table and reflect it in your blog or writing. You may pay attention to what others think, but you must do it in the context of what you think. You can apply it to every aspect in your life. Your writing should reflect what you feel, what you think, what your response is, or what your experiences are. The USA leads the world because this is encouraged in the USA. Even little children learn to think for themselves and stand for their opinions.

2. Be an original: Your readers expect you to be an original. Otherwise, why should anyone read you or remember you? If you tell people that Hinduism is a way of life, you are just confirming an old truth. You are just reflecting the social conditioning to which you are subject and your respect or fear of authority, but where is your input in that? How does that way of life matters to you? Do you even care for that way of life? Does that restrict you or release you? You should think on your own and translate your thoughts in a language people understand. It is what creative writing is all about.

3. Be truthful and honest: If you want to speak about spirituality, self-development, or religious observances, you cannot do it by stealing other people's information and taking credit for it. Imagine that you send your children to a school where all the teachers are thieves and yet they try to teach virtue and morality to the children? The comparison may be far-fetched, but the truth is if you want to write about values and the highest ideals a religion or spiritual practice reflects, you must not send mixed signals.

4. Integrity matters: Many youngsters nowadays jump at any hint that Hinduism owes its origin to a foreign culture or that the Aryans brought Vedic culture to India. Yet, some of them have no problem copying other people's writings and posting it on their sites. In India, awards are given to artists who copy other's music, or who take credit for other people's ideas and writings. Films that are made with millions of dollars investment are uploaded on to YouTube within a few days after their release for a few clicks. Whole books are copied and sold without the rights. These activities reflect poorly upon the entire community and even the religions they practice.

5.Be creative: Do you want to write about Hinduism, or Buddhism or some other religion? Find information in your own environment. Why not visit a local temple, take a few photographs, gather information about its history and write about it? Why not interview the temple priest and find out how he practices his religion in daily life, what his beliefs are and how he uses them in solving his problems and bringing up his children? You can interview women about their problems and perceptions. You can do little surveys and post the results. You see, if you are smart you will have thousands of options to choose without having to copy anyone. However, when you post information about other people you have to be aware of the legal issues that may crop up and take care of them. You have to take their written permission or hide their personal information.

Whatever you may do, do it properly and enjoy your life. Remember, in the end nothing matters. All these words, the blogs, the websites do not matter, if you die unhappily with guilt and shame. Therefore, make sure that you give precedence to your own thoughts and ideas, and live an original life rather than a duplicate one, which your parents, elders, or someone else want you to live.

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