Don’t Be a Blog Thief
Based on research, it may be quite likely that your latest or previously written and distributed blog post contains the words and/or ideas that were invented or created by someone other than you. Perhaps your ideas or words were derived from a TV show, a radio program, a conference keynote speaker, someone else’s blog, article, or book. Even that photo that you lifted from another web location is subject to copyright infringement.
In any case, you need to “cite it!” If it’s not yours, never claim it to be – overtly or implied.
Plagiarism: Research Study
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, plagiarism is defined as follows: “To steal and pass off the ideas or words of another as one’s own.” Plagiarism can take place either on purpose or inadvertently. Recently, our firm (Trinity Web Works), conducted a random sample survey of 100 blogs authored by 100 individuals or organizations who refer to themselves as self-published and traditionally published authors. Of the 100 blogs sampled our study, 98% did not include any in-text citations or references used to write their blog postings. As such, we can conclude one of two outcomes: (1) the author’s blog contained copy that was exclusively comprised of personal opinion and that no other sources were drawn from to arrive at the author’s finished and globally distributed blog post; (2) the author’s blog included ideas, quotes, information, and/or data obtained from someone else other than the author, but was not appropriately (legally or ethically) credited within the title or the body of the blog post itself. Relative to (2), these authors have plagiarized someone else’s content and have potentially violated U.S. Copyright Law (intellectual property).
To ensure that our firm maintains the highest ethical standard, we give credit where credit is due. Whether a blog be written for entertainment (not-for-profit) or for business promotional purposes, the blog author must be sure to explicitly indicate (cite) sections of the work that were derived from another source (content creator). As a university scholar, I choose to adhere to the APA format. APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. APA provides public to its entire APA catalog illustrating how to apply APA structured in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page (section) to research papers, blogs, articles, books, and other content channels.
The APA resource I often refer to is that of the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL). OWL provides direct access to the latest APA format guidelines. OWL will literally walk you, the blogger or content creator, the complete APA styling process by way of sample papers, slide presentations, and the APA classroom poster.
You have worked hard to develop your business strategy and promotional plan, why derogate you or your unique brand by not playing by the rules, by not conducting business from a foundation of professional positive efficacy? You might say to yourself, although this should never be an excuse, reason, or option, “nobody else is properly citing their work, why must I?” By taking the high road and doing what is ethical and right, you will distinctly set you and your brand apart from your competition (brand differentiation), you are setting a higher bar, you are revealing to the world that your blog is more credible than just you. At the same time, you will be planting good seed, in good soil, toward a more productive season of abundant harvest.
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Be smart and be encouraged,
The Writing Lab, The OWL Writing Lab, and Purdue University. (2013). Purdue online writing lab (OWL). Retreived July 31, 2013 from website: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/
United States Copyright Office. (n.d.). Copyright. Retreived July 31, 2013 from website: http://www.copyright.gov/