How to Copyright Your Blog
What kind of copyright rules for your blog should you be following to avoid blogger jail?
From needing to offer all the necessary blog legal pages to knowing the right way to going about curating content from across the Internet, there are a lot of things to be aware of when you are trying to protect yourself legally.
You have to be aware of both in order to ensure that a) you won’t get sued for blogger copyright infringement purposes and b) other people won’t infringe on your intellectual property.
So today, I will be going over the various blog legal rules, what kind of information you need to copyright your blog, how to go about handling a situation when someone has stolen your content and what you yourself must do to avoid blogger copyright infringement.
How to Avoid Blogger Copyright Infringement – Blog Copyright Rules
When you create a blog post using either an excerpt from another blogger’s content or even publishing the full content of their blog post on your blog, this is called ‘aggregating content’.
However, it is not enough just to put a link at the bottom of the snippet/blog post saying where the content originated from i.e. image courtesy of … or excerpt from … You need to have the original publisher’s permission to do this if you want to do it legally.
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Never undermine the importance of setting up a safety net for yourself as a blogger. If you do come across a potential copycat, if the occasion ever arises where you need to threaten to sue, you can get yourself up to $150,000 in damages payment. So, being well equipped with all the relevant blog legal pages and knowing what your rights are is essential to making sure that you aren’t being taken advantage of.
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Even though so many people would have you believe that repurposing or even just completely republishing other people’s content will cause a dip in your search engine rankings, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
After all, if this was the case, how would news sites such as Huffington Post still thrive when they often re-post news from other sites?
But, even so, you can’t just steal somebody else’s content and pass it off as your own because a) its just not nice and b) you can find yourself in some very deep waters with serious lawsuits.
So to really help you figure out how to copyright your blog and also to know how to avoid going to blogger jail, here are the must-know blog copyright rules to follow…
Blog Copyright Rules + How to Copyright Your Blog
Disclaimer: I am by no means a lawyer or any form of legal aid. The information in this article is purely based on general information and should not be used as the sole reasoning tool or piece of advice when making legal decisions relating to your blog/business. So before committing to any important legal decisions, be sure to consult your own lawyer or legal aid for more information.
Like we have touched on before, if you have a blog and you want to reuse other people’s content, then you MUST MAKE SURE that you have the permission of the original publisher. And once you have their permission, you need to post a link to their blog content so that search engines know that you are giving credit to the original.
While aggregating content will allow you to give your readers a wider range of topics and things to read (and can also help in increasing the number of potential links to your blog), it is important that you continue to publish original content of your own.
Without publishing your own original content, your website will become a collection of unoriginal pieces. You need to offer some diversity in order to set yourself apart from all the other blogs out there that are similar to your own.
So, asides from the above, what are the exact blog copyright rules that you should be following if you want to avoid blogger copyright infringement?
Basic Blog Copyright Rules
In today’s day and age, knowing how to protect yourself legally and setting yourself up with a safety net is so incredibly important.
So, if you want to avoid all the hassle of finding yourself wadding in a deep pool of lawsuits, then it is important that you keep reading to learn some of the most basic but important blog copyright rules to a) avoid blogger copyright infringement of other people’s content and b) copyright your blog and protect it from copycats.
Images and Videos
People often overlook this key area when they think of republishing ‘content’.
Content isn’t just limited to words, it is also inclusive of media and just anything that you can find across your screen.
So, the next time you find yourself looking for some great graphics or images to use on your blog, make sure that you a) use royalty free images or b) buy the rights to use an image.
For more information on where you can go to find royalty free images, there will be more on it later!
It is said that you are allowed to post a single paragraph of an article where you haven’t asked for permission as long as you give a link to the original article and give the author full credit i.e. excerpt courtesy of Albert Applebee.
However, that being said, it is important that you don’t go crazy doing this and you still take the time to carefully research the site in question and see whether or not they have placed any disclaimers on their site saying that absolutely NO republishing of content is allowed.
In addition, when you are republishing someone else’s content, you need to republish it in all it’s entirety. This means that if they place internal links within the blog post, then unless you have obtained their permission to publish without it, you need to replicate it 100% and post with the internal links within it!
It can be really tempting to just flick past this kind of thing, but the number of bloggers who get sued for reusing content (albeit even just a paragraph) is staggeringly overwhelming.
Sources of Copyright Free Content
In general, there are two sources of copyright free content which you are allowed to republish without having to gain permission from the original publisher. However, these two sources of copyright free content are vastly different from one another.
Public Domain content refers to anything that you may come across on a .gov website or any other kind of publicly funded government website. It can also refer to press releases.
Meanwhile, with a Creative Commons license, this means that you will be able to republish the content in all of its entirety so long as you include the author’s name, website/business name and a link to the original source. Examples of websites that offer a creative commons license include non-profit organizations.
Creative Commons Photos
The best way to avoid being sued for blogger copyright infringement of photos and images is to just simply use original photos and images of your own.
However not all of us are photographers and not all of us have the time to curate original images on such a regular basis, so what are the best ways to find copyright free images to use on your website/blog?
Well personally, my all time favourite place to get copyright free images (that are actually beautifully styled and still looks original!) is from Ivory Mix. They offer a FREE library of gorgeous photos geared towards female entrepreneurs. ANDDD this library is updated every month with fresh new images sent straight to your inbox every month when you sign up to their mailing list.
I personally use the paid membership version of Ivory Mix which came to $120 a year ($10 a month). This gives me FULL access to all the premium photos that Kayla from Ivory Mix has to offer and seriously, it is one of the best investments that I made for my blog.
There are definitely other sources of free stock images and sometimes the best way to find them is by simply typing in ‘royalty free images’ into Google. However, although I will personally always advocate for Ivory Mix as being one of the most affordable yet professional sources for gorgeous images, everybody needs are different.
So, in order to help you out a little more, here is a short list of other great places you can go to in order to find a source for your images…
How to Copyright a Blog – Blog Legal Pages
Now the absolute best way to copyright a blog is to set up blog legal pages. But not only that, it is actually absolutely essential by FTC law to display the right kinds of blog legal pages on your website. So, in order to comply with the law, it is important that you offer the following blog legal pages…
- Terms and Conditions
- Disclaimer (for your affiliate links and ads etc.)
Inside all of these pages you have to be able to clearly put into words your advertising and affiliate disclosures, copyright statements, GDPR policies, cookie, privacy and other legal information and rules that you need disclose in order to protect yourself from being liable to lawsuits.
However, being able to properly state information on your blog won’t just help to protect you when somebody tries to take you up to court, but it will also you when somebody tries to pull one from under you and steals your content.
It can be time consuming and utterly confusing to know exactly what you should be writing in order to protect yourself – especially if you have never had any form of legal training. So, this is why I always recommend using blog legal templates which you can easily customize to fit your specific blog business.
Blog Legal Pages Templates
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What to Do in the Case of a Copycat
It sucks when somebody steals your content and passes it off as their own.
That’s not okay.
But don’t worry, if you have set yourself up right with the necessary blog legal pages, you will be able to protect yourself and take back what’s yours.
You have rights!
So, if you discovered that someone has actually stolen your work, there are a few ways you can go about handling this…
Step One: Breathe. And stay calm.
Step Two: Reach out to the offender and kindly let them now that they have plagiarised your content. Sometimes even if it angers you, the nice thing to do is to just let them know that they have infringed on your copyright and ask them to a) give you credit and link back to your site or b) take it down completely. This is because it could simply be a mistake on their end i.e. they didn’t read this blog post and so they are completely unaware of the blog copyright rules, so having a warm but firm warning will stop them from doing this again.
Step Three: If there is no response from them and no action has been taken, then it is time for you to kick things up into high gear. You can either sue them, file to blacklist them on Google or contact their web host (which you can discover via WhoIs if they don’t have domain privacy) to have them shut down.
Blog Copyright Rules: How to Copyright a Blog and Protect Yourself from Blogger Copyright Infringement
All in all, there are a bunch of things that you need to know on how to copyright your blog and protect yourself from committing some serious blogger copyright infringement crimes.
Essentially, when in doubt, always just try and reach out and ask the other person whether or not it is okay to use their content. Don’t just wave it off and believe that there is nothing wrong with just simply re-posting an image or just a small snippet of text.
Not everyone out there is kind and will show you mercy for making an unintentional slip up. So, if you want to avoid being hit across the head with a killer lawsuit over something that would have only taken you a few minutes to figure out, then be sure to just ask!
And to protect yourself?
Make sure that you have all the necessary blog legal pages set up and ready to prevent others from infringing on your intellectual property!
For more information, be sure to contact a lawyer or a legal aid.
But before you go today, have you grabbed your FREE Start a Money Blog Starter Kit? It’s your last chance to get access to ALL of my workbooks, eBooks, guides and so much more on how to make money blogging the right way!