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Content, Writing and Copyright Forum

    
Articles posted but backlink removed
Is it ethical to post someone's articles on your website without the links?
Rufus_dog




msg:3073345
 10:44 am on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have been submitting articles to article directories and recently I found that some sites would just post your articles but removing all hyperlinks. I think these article directories do have a rule that people can reprint the articles but the author resource box should be kept intact (this is the place where people add hyperlink to their site).

In addition, is it ethical to just copy an article from Google or Yahoo news and post it on your site but removing all hyperlinks as well?

What can be done to these sites? There must be many sites like this but I can't possibly check all of them.

 

zulu_dude




msg:3073404
 12:09 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

No, it's not ethical. If the author of the work grants permission to use the article provided the link is kept intact and the site in question refuses to acknowledge that request, then I can't see how this could be ethical.

Legally speaking, I'd imagine that you could pursue the sites (ab)using the articles for copyright infringement. Although I'm not a lawyer, so I may be wrong...

Syzygy




msg:3073550
 2:06 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

...is it ethical to just copy an article from Google or Yahoo news..?

By "ethical", I presume you mean "is it allowed"? The answer is a firm "no". It is an infringement of copyright. The exception to this is if you are taking stories from a site that exists solely for the purpose of distributing press releases/stories to the media - a newswire/news distribution service (PRNewswire, for example). Their whole purpose is to provide you with news and you can take stories from them freely.

Confusingly (relative to your question), Google News does list stories directly from some newswires, which, in my view, undermines many news sites' reason for being!

As for the second part of your question...

Is it ethical to post a story on your site and not include the links?

Forgetting the ethics part, can you post up news stories without including the links? Unless the terms and conditions of use dictate that links must be included, you can do as you wish. But, you'd have to ask who you'd be benefiting? It certainly won't benefit readers/visitors who may wish to find out more about the story.

Some say that outbound links are also useful for overall search engine optimisation (SEO), and perhaps that is so (SEO is not my area, so I don't want to be seen to make any sort of definitive comment when it appears that "SEO experts" can't agree!). I always include outbound links in stories because I think it's useful to all concerned.

Syzygy

VegasRook




msg:3074199
 11:46 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

All that matters are YOUR rules here. You own the article and no one else. The article site must follow your rules and so must anyone else using the article.

They are infringing on your copyright by not following your rules. Roll up your sleeves and take them out. This is a common problem.

BTW, the article site can tell a webmaster that they can use your stuff without links all they want, but it's not legal. They have no authority over your copyright. Even if you said it's ok at some point, you can retract the ability at any time.

I am NOT an IP lawyer and not giving you legal advice. This is entertainment. Seek proper legal advice from a licensed professional.

Rufus_dog




msg:3074352
 3:27 am on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Maybe I can write to them and ask them to remove my content. The problem is: there are many sites like this and I can't possibly locate all of them. The second thing is, these sites have hundreds of articles without any backlinks. Removing a few does not hurt them and I bet other authors don't even know that their content is abused.

VegasRook




msg:3074378
 4:00 am on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

That's correct.

As a general rule, I spent very little time worrying about theft. It happens all day long. If I worried about it, I would get nothing else done and eventually would be broke and working for someone else.

I recently found a site doing what happened to you with an article of mine on accident. I sent them a form letter and move on.

They actually contacted me and removed the item. Even if they didn't, I can't spend 24 hours a day monitoring the hundreds to thousands of improper usages of my content.

Syzygy




msg:3074574
 8:26 am on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hmm... If you give me an editorial article for inclusion in one of our sites, I will reserve the right to edit it and change it as I see fit to suit the style and format of our online publications.

This is the job of the editor - and every webmaster is an editor.

If the author were to insist that the article remain in its original form and could not be changed in any way - including links contained therein - I would not accept the work.

When press releases are distributed, it is with the implicit knowledge that those picking up the story and looking to publish it, whether in a magazine, newspaper or online form, may edit, adapt and use it - for the purpose of news/information/entertainment, etc - as they require.

If the purpose of distributing articles online is solely to distribute links, then I think the authors of those stories should think again.

Syzygy

[edited by: Syzygy at 8:26 am (utc) on Sep. 7, 2006]

Rufus_dog




msg:3074861
 1:29 pm on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

If you obtain an article from a directory and the terms of service include that you cannot edit the article and you have to keep the author resource box intact, you should respect the terms. Or, you can go somewhere else to find articles without any restriction.

If an author submits an article to your site, gives up the copyright and agrees that you can edit the articles or the backlinks, that is another story. Then, s/he cannot complain.

Having the links in the articles not only provides backlinks to the author's sites (which BTW is a popular SEO technique) but also gives the readers the convenience to follow the links should they wish to read more on the topic.

Syzygy




msg:3074949
 3:00 pm on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Agreed on all points, Rufus_dog. If it were me, I'd be complaining big time to the article farms.

Syzygy

VegasRook




msg:3075200
 6:27 pm on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

1. You can't give up the copyright by submitting an article to a submission website. If you think otherwise, I'd like to see that proven (preferably, in a court case).

2. An "editorial" is an opinionated article. It's not an article where you have editing ability.

3. There's a huge (legal and otherwise) difference between textual editing and format editing.

Furthermore, talking about press releases and article submission is apples and oranges. It's the context that matters.

But all of this is moot. You own your articles. If someone is using them and you don't want them to do so, tell them. You have the right to stop any from using your content (beyond fair use).

Syzygy




msg:3075358
 8:28 pm on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

1.You can't give up the copyright by submitting an article to a submission website. If you think otherwise, I'd like to see that proven (preferably, in a court case).

That depends on the terms and conditions (TOS) of the mass feed.

2. An "editorial" is an opinionated article. It's not an article where you have editing ability.

No. The "Editorial" is the bits that isn't adverts. If it's ads and edit combined then it's and 'advertorial', or - although I've never heard anyone refer to it as such - editavrial, edivorial, or an edvert... :-)

3. There's a huge (legal and otherwise) difference between textual editing and format editing.

The laying out of any text from a writer invariably requires textual and formatting changes...

Furthermore, talking about press releases and article submission is apples and oranges. It's the context that matters.

You submit your story to a farm - hoping that sources will pick it up and further distribute its content and wisdom. It's all fruit to the readers... such a glut of fruit...

But all of this is moot. You own your articles.

And if a major site decides to pick up your article and profile it heavily - on the agreement that they change the headline & standfirst - oh, and cut its length by half, whilst saying their policy is "no links"... What would you do?

:-)

Syzygy

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