Cutting and Pasting into Blog Posts: Don't Be Lazy

I have a client that is great about keeping up with her weekly blogging schedule.  She posts twice a week, period.  You can depend on it. 

And that's great.  

What isn't so great, though perfectly understandable, is taking a section of writing from another source (another post, a magazine article, a book) and then cutting and pasting the guts of that writing into a blog post with a brief introduction, "I really liked this [insert name of source material] because it's so on point! It's so true!"

Or something like that.  Why is this bad?  

Well, as my client points out this might (or might not) be within the fair use doctrine and therefore not any kind of copyright infringement and it's clearly not plagiarism because she's giving credit where credit is due (she's not trying to claim the stuff as her own). 

However, substitute the cut and paste for a hyperlink and the post becomes a sentence or two.  Insufficient original word count.

True, it's great to find something that you want to share from a book (or magazine article or blog post) that someone else has written and use it as the basis for a blog post.  There's also the time-saving benefit (as my client pointed out, these types of posts are helpful on days where posts are scheduled and there's a time crunch). 

But what are you really sharing of yourself here?  And, without going into geek-talk (my client hates going down this road), Google will not appreciate these kinds of blog posts.  At all.  

Here's what I think needs to happen.  

I think that when you share something, you need to give your reader more than "lookie."  I think you need to comment and give your opinion on why you are sharing this writing with them.  

If you don't have time for that, then go for a link list ... something like a Top Ten list, ten great sources of inspiration when you're dieting; ten great recipe sites; ten great med mal blogs, whatever.  That's pretty fast blogging and it's giving your reader more of you than one of these "lookie" posts does. 


Pinterest and Copyright Infringement: Beware - By Their Terms of Use, Pinterest Tries to Pass Any Copyright Claims Over to You

Clients, colleagues, my assistant, even the clerk at World Market ... everyone is talking about Pinterest.  Yes, another media site...and you were still getting used to Twitter, right?

Well, don't jump on that Pinterest bandwagon too fast, folks.  I admit that I was invited to join Pinterest in some long-ago email and I accepted the invitation ... but I never used the site.  Just put it on the To Do List, to check out in the future.

Recently, I did check out Pinterest.  And I promptly cancelled my membership.  Why?  I read the March 2011 Terms of Use, which include the following lingo:

You acknowledge and agree that you are solely responsible for all Member Content that you make available through the Site, Application and Services. Accordingly, you represent and warrant that: (i) you either are the sole and exclusive owner of all Member Content that you make available through the Site, Application and Services or you have all rights, licenses, consents and releases that are necessary to grant to Cold Brew Labs the rights in such Member Content, as contemplated under these Terms; and (ii) neither the Member Content nor your posting, uploading, publication, submission or transmittal of the Member Content or Cold Brew Labs’ use of the Member Content (or any portion thereof) on, through or by means of the Site, Application and the Services will infringe, misappropriate or violate a third party’s patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, moral rights or other proprietary or intellectual property rights, or rights of publicity or privacy, or result in the violation of any applicable law or regulation. ...

You agree to defend, indemnify, and hold Cold Brew Labs, its officers, directors, employees and agents, harmless from and against any claims, liabilities, damages, losses, and expenses, including, without limitation, reasonable legal and accounting fees, arising out of or in any way connected with (i) your access to or use of the Site, Application, Services or Site Content, (ii) your Member Content, or (iii) your violation of these Terms.

Now, from what I understand, the reason to use Pinterest is to grab images from various websites and "pin" them on your Pinterest page to share with others.  Different from bookmarking them, or Stumbling them and not the same as OneNoting them.

There are copyrights floating around in there, and I'm not going to mess with it.

Plus, reading these terms of use, I think it sounds like Pinterest understands that there are infringement issues swimming through its service stream and I don't like the idea that instead of respecting rights they've opted for passing the buck on any claims (or at least trying to do so).

I'm not the only one concerned about what's going on here.  Check out here and here.  

Yuck.  Life's too short ... and I'm busy enough without making time for Pinterest.  You read the Terms of Use, you check out the service, and make your own decision.  


Tweets as Evidence: Here's my Twitter at Trial Article in Florida Defender

One of my more popular posts over time is one I wrote back in February 2011 entitled "Tweets as Evidence: Authenticating and Admitting Twitter Tweets and Facebook Pokes."  It's very short and sweet but lots of folk seem to be interested in the topic and I've received several emails on this issue.

So, thought I would share my article published in the Winter 2012 issue of the Florida Defender entitled, "Twitter at Trial: Tweets and Messages as Evidence in 2011." 

The Florida Defender is a quarterly publication provided to a readership of lawyers and judges by the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and as always, I am honored to be included in their magazine.

You can read it online here, or download the pdf.