Every now and then I run into a new copywriter or a business owner/blogger who thinks it’s OK to copy/paste content from another website or blog. You’ll hear all kinds of excuses about why they thought it was OK to steal someone else’s work, but it’s not.
You might hear the question, “Is website content copyrighted?” Yes it is.
The website may or may not contain a copyright notice. If it does not, that doesn’t mean that the content isn’t copyrighted. It just means that the owner of the content chose not to put the copyright notice on the site. It isn’t legally required.
If you do see a copyright notice (it usually appears in the footer) along with a statement like “All Rights Reserved” or something similar, then it should tell you that the person who owns that website intends to enforce their rights. If you copy/paste their information, then you are likely in for a lawsuit. That includes photos and images.
It is best to never let yourself get into the habit copying and pasting information from other sources. If you do so, you should credit those sources. Always provide a link back. Even then, use discretion about what it is you are borrowing. You can’t just lift the content, link to the source, and be on your way. Fair use laws generally allow for additional commentary on your part, but the test is you have to provide some kind of added value.
This blog post is not intended to be legal advice. Consult an attorney before making legal decisions.