Someone on a forum I belonged to posted a really great article. The only problem was, it looked like the poster hadn’t gotten permission.
As entrepreneurs, we need to be careful to respect the intellectual property rights of other entrepreneurs, and that includes writers, musicians, photographers, etc. It is often not difficult to get reprint permission (I have over 1000 reprinted articles on <a href=”http://www.frugalmarketing.com”>http://www.frugalmarketing.com</a> and <a href=”http://www.frugalfun.com”>http://www.frugalfun.com</a>, and I have permission for every single one. To simply place a whole article and not get permission or give credit to the source, is an act of theft, called plagiarism. But even if you give credit, if you don’t have permission, it’s still theft. And yes, that includes throwing together a scraped-content computer-powered website to try to get ad revenue from someone else’s content without asking. If you published a book, you wouldn’t want someone taking your hard work and publishing their own edition.
Remember this: when you steal from those of us who create intellectual property for our livelihood, you not only take away our ability to make a living just as surely as you would if you shoplifted goods from our stores, but you also take away the incentive for us to keep creating the things that make the world beautiful, intersting, and well-informed.
I’m sure the person who posted was not acting out of malice but of ignorance. Many people don’t think of reprinting an article as stealing, just like they don’t think throwing a toxic cigarette butt on the ground is littering. It’s totally appropriate to quote the first paragraph or two, mention some key points in the article (in your own words), and post a link–or to go get permission from the author, who’s usually pretty easy to find online.
Let’s not do things that come back to haunt us.
Note: I have posted a whole bunch of articles about business ethics on my ethics site, <a href=”http://www.principledprofit.com/ethics-articles.html”>PrincipledProfit</a>–and yes, I have permission for all of those as well. I’ve also written an award-winning book on success through business ethics: <a href=”http://www.principledprofit.com”>Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First</a>.