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A Blogger’s Guide to Copyright & Attribution

When you choose to use someone’s music, images, video or other content in your own marketing materials, it’s critical that you properly attribute the content to its original owner. Violating copyright can at worst lead to legal trouble and at best lead to your website being slashed from search results — Google receives copyright removal requests regularly, and in July it pulled more than 47 million individual URLs from its search for copyright infringement. Respecting copyright and properly attributing your content’s sources is vital to your marketing efforts. Let’s look at how to handle it.

Ask for It!

The simplest way to stay out of trouble regarding the use of someone else’s material is to first ask. This isn’t always practical, but if you are going to quote a large portion of a personal blogger’s post, it never hurts to ask for permission first. Many websites have guidelines for properly using their content, and if a site offers such a reference document you must be sure to respect it. Never assume that just because something is on the Internet that it’s OK for you to use — even NASA has Media Usage Guidelines governing everything from images to 3D rendered models when they are used for commercial purposes. On the opposite side of the coin, other marketers can be especially fierce regarding protecting their content, as many blog aggregators and web scrapers will steal content and pass it off as original.

Attribution and Quotation

If you plan to quote someone actually quote them and don’t just use their words out of context. Proper quotation takes more than just putting quotation marks around a piece of content — credit the quote to its original author and link back to the original content as well. If the person you are quoting has a social media profile, it is good practice to link back to them. By creating an external link for the content you are quoting, you drive traffic to the original site while getting a chance to use their great ideas and commentary for your own posts. Furthermore, you never know who will send an inbound link your way when your content is the one being quoted and shared.

Media Content Usage

Visualizations, infographics, music, video and other media make your content attention grabbing, but proper attribution of that content is a must. Avoiding copyright infringement when using media elements in your site can be avoided all together when you use royalty-free stock material. At Media Bakery you will find Royalty Free images, music, and video footage for all your media needs. Having your own inventory of royalty-free content may help you avoid the risks of copyright infringement, but at some point you are going to really want to share that data-rich infographic with your readers.

Similar to quote attribution, media attribution requires that you credit the content’s owner and link back to their site, but it comes with an additional caveat of etiquette. When using an image, video, or piece of music, do your best to maintain the visual and audio quality of the original media. Many sites have an embed feature to make republishing materials easy, and you should use it whenever you can to preserve the resolution and quality of the material you are sharing.

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