Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What is and isn’t okay when someone posts your articles on their sites?

I realize that this is a little confusing for newbies to understand.  With all the talk of usage rights and plagiarism, it’s easy to be a bit bumfuzzled about what is and isn’t okay when you come across a completely different site with your article on it whether it is part of your article or your whole article.

Whole article

If you find your article in whole on another site, first check to make sure that it isn’t a partner distribution from Y!CN.  Look under your content tab on your account page.  You’ll see the word “Partner” on the right.  Click on it.  Check to see if the article is listed there and what site it went to.

If you don’t find it, look under payments for any payment that was a distribution payment.

If you’re still coming up empty handed, it is likely plagiarism.  Note that one key item that can tip you off if it’s plagiarism is if they don’t have your Y!CN byline on it.

This isn’t okay.  And it isn’t just NOT okay, it’s illegal.  But what you do next is determined by what rights to the article you’ve retained when you published it on Y!CN.  If it was Exclusive, then shoot an email to the legal team at Y!CN and let them take care of it.  If it was Non-Exclusive or Display Only, then you’ll have to deal with it yourself, however you want to deal with it.

Part of the article

If another site is going to link your article, they should only take a paragraph or two with a link back to your article.  I do this on my TV Slugs blog all the time.  This is completely okay.  More than okay, really, because it gives you a link back and more exposure.

But some sites do get greedy.  I found the whole first page of an article once on another site.  They linked back to my article but after reading the entire first page, only a small fraction of readers, if any, was going to click through to my article.  I politely thanked them for providing a link back to my article but taking a whole page wasn’t proper etiquette.  (Anyone who does niche blog content exposure knows this, so I’m sure it wasn’t news to them.)  I asked them to shorten it or remove it.

But that’s it.  If another site takes a paragraph or two and links back, great!  Anything more then that is cause for concern.

For more info on plagiarism topics within this site, click here.

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