Plagiarism - How Not to Steal People's Content

Assume it is Protected

A copyright notice (©) is not required for works published after March 1, 1989, so always assume that another person’s work is protected, this includes written word, photos, art and music. For example: all work published since 1977 is copyrighted for the life of the author plus 70 years!

Quote and Cite the Author

It is possible to quote limited portions of a work, (place any quoted words in quotation marks) – for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, and scholarly reports – under the Fair Use doctrine of the U.S. Copyright Statute.

What is OK to Use?

Is everything produced by a government employee in the public domain? No.

Some people believe that any work created by a U.S. government employee is in the public domain, but this is not true if the work was created outside the parameters of their job. Also, not all work created by state and local government employees is in the public domain, so it is always best to quote and cite.

What about work dedicated to the public domain?

If a phrase, such as “this work is dedicated to the public domain so may be reproduced without authorization,” then it is free to use, but it is best to cite that, just in case.

Proper Methods of Source Attribution

  1. First, take a look at the company’s guidelines, usually found at the very bottom of the homepage.
  2. If it is not clear, contact them to get permission in writing. If you are allowed to quote them, then use quotation marks around any original text that you use.
  3. Do not quote more than 75 words. More than 75 words will affect search engine ranking.
  4. Before or after the quote, state the author’s name (and book title) and give a textual link to the page on their website where you found the quote (and Twitter handle too if you have it.) This goes for images as well!
  5. Cite the source, as well as where you found the information. As explained well by, “If you’re reading a blog post and there’s a particularly compelling quote contained therein from an industry influencer, it’s nice to give credit to the blogger that called that out. These kinds of actions help build better relationships with people in your industry — not to mention make you look credible to your readers,” Hubspot


  1. How to Give Credit Rather Than Plagiarize
  2. How to Cite Sources (Wikihow)
  3. The ‘Fair Use’ Rule: When Use of Copyrighted Material is Acceptable (NOLO)
  4. Copyright Explained: I May Copy It, Right? (Smashing Magazine)
  5. How Not to Steal People’s Content on the Web (Hubspot)

IMPORTANT – please read these 3 articles:

  1. How to Get Published on Factory of the Future
  2. How to Write a Compelling Original Article
  3. Titles that Grab You