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Nicole Martin
New Jersey
Remixing my wardrobe to create buzz-worthy, office-approved outfits! Find out more at: Creating Panache.
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Friend Friday: Blogger Copying


Hello everyone, and welcome to Friday.  Specifically, Fashion Beauty Friend Friday!  I know you’ve been eagerly anticipating another video full of “umms” and obvious glances at my notes (ha!) but I just did not have time or energy last night to do this via vlog.  Please forgive me.  I am still participating in Friend Friday, but the good ol’ fashioned way – the written word!

This week, we’re discussing copying other bloggers.  Here are the questions, which I will then answer in a rambling essay format:

1. What are the 'unwritten rules' about copying content that we bloggers should 
all abide by? 
2. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. But when is a post 
imitation and when is it copying? 
3. Taking another blogger's idea (perhaps for an outfit, or DIY tutorial) is 
pretty common in the blogging world. Do you think it is necessary to credit the 
original source? 
4. How have you improved your blog by comparing it to other blogs? Have you made 
changes due to something you have seen others doing? 
5. Have you ever had one of your posts copied by another blogger or publication? 
How did you handle the situation?

Unfortunately, because our content is out there for the world to read, bloggers may discover their content on another person’s site.  I’ve read about this on several blogs recently, Dear Baby and Mashable being just two.  It is scary and leaves the victims feeling violated.  Yes, I said victims, because to me, this is straight out theft.  What’s worse is that the content of our blogs reflects hard work and dedication, as compared to an object that you can probably replace (family heirlooms, etc, aside).

This topic boils down to one word: INTEGRITY.  While it may not be a written rule, bloggers should never, ever take credit for another blogger’s content.  If you do want to use a picture or quote, then the blogger borrowing this content must, at the minimum, link directly back to the original source.  Even better is asking that blogger permission first… they’ll usually say yes if there’s a link back!

I completely understand that part of reading blogs is to get inspiration for any number of things.  And if you have your own blog, you may want to recreate what you’ve seen.  If this is the case, again, give that original blogger credit for inspiring you!  And, if you really want to gain credibility, take the inspiration one step further and put your own twist on it.  For example, you may recreate an outfit you saw, but make it your own by adding funky jewelry or changing up the shoes or adding a scarf.  Or if you want to post a DIY that another blogger also posted, then credit that blogger and change it up a bit.  I think this is the true definition of inspiration: motivating another individual to take something and making it better.

Question 4 is an interesting one for me… I read blogs for a long time before creating my own.  Once I decided to launch Employed Panache, I took note of format, styling, and content that I liked at a higher level.  And then I asked myself, “How can I make this new, different, interesting, and at the same time, make it my own?”  If you look through the first few months of Employed Panache, you can see that I experimented with a variety of ideas, and then figured out what worked and what didn’t.  It’s overwhelming, trust me, and it might be tempting to copy what works for others… but why wouldn’t you want to get credit for something that’s yours?

I have not discovered my content on another person’s blog yet… and I hope it never happens.  I like to see the best in people, but you never know!  If I did find any of my posts on another site, I would immediately contact that person and ask for a link back.  But, if that person was blatantly taking credit for my work, I would out them similar to how Melissa of Dear Baby handled her situation.

What do you think?  Where do you cross the line?  Have any of your posts turned up on another’s blog without your knowledge??

The Friend Friday project by Modly Chic is a way for fashion bloggers to share more about themselves and create a friendly connection with other bloggers. Join the conversation by joining the Fashion Beauty Friend Friday Google Group.

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