Copy and Paste “Freelance Writing”

To kick off the new year, I wanted to address an important issue regarding copying and pasting information from the internet and turning it in as “freelance writing work.” I am absolutely appalled by the fact that this is even a matter that is necessary to mention, but alas, there are some so called “writers” who believe that it is perfectly fine to copy and paste and get paid for it.

Freelance writing consists of research AND writing. This means that when you find the information you are looking for, you write about it. You don’t just steal what someone else wrote and try to write a few of your own words around it. You need to write it all by yourself. This is simply the ethical thing to do, and it would be even better if writers cited their references more often. In school, we all learn that plagiarism is wrong, but I guess that message just doesn’t seem to stick with some people.

The least freelance writers should do is use some talent and creativity and put their own phrasing to the information that they find. Add your own angle or twist…use a thesaurus for crying out loud! If you like they way someone else stated something, put it in quotes and cite the source. It’s that simple.

Copying and pasting is not freelance writing, and I consider it a supreme insult to the honest, hard-working freelance writers who make an effort to write original work and adhere to the copyright laws of the United States (you know who you are and I applaud you).

I hire help from time to time, and I will fire anyone who sends me something that they found over the internet rather than writing it themselves. I greatly appreciate websites like and because they make it easy to spot copying. Clients often use these services to check the writing work done for hire, and they should. You always risk losing a client and gaining a poor reputation when presenting someone else’s work as your own.

If you truly want to be a freelance writer, do the writing. End of story.

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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Amen! This has gone from a pet peeve to an all-out red-button for me – how *dare* they? Thanks for making the point!

  2. I totally agree with your post. As a writing prof, I found that students copied word for word when they hadn’t taken time to really absorb the material they were researching, so they couldn’t express that information in their own words. As a freelance writer myself, I bend over backwards not to steal someone’s ideas or words — they deserve the credit, not me.

  3. Hey, great post. Great blog. It is fresh and to the point. I just read literally dozens of blogs, because I can’t sleep, and yours is by far the best quality. You know it is rare to find decent content on these things… Most of them are cheap and spammy.

  4. I am sad that you even needed to write a post like this, but very glad that you did. Most people just don’t think of copyright and “web” in the same sentence. I had one client tell me, for instance, “It’s okay if you don’t have time to write it. Just find an article on another site that looks good and use that.” When I explained to her I couldn’t because it would be stealing, she gave me the most amazed look and said, “Isn’t everything on the Web in public domain anyway?” I could have slapped her.

  5. I have been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this blog. Thank you, I’ll try and check back more often

  6. I am a beginner freelance writer. And i do self-study to improve my writing. I do some research and look for places where i could seek help. I’m glad i was brought here. I liked this site coz it looks creative and cool to me plus it has i guess everything that i need to learn in freelance writing.

  7. Such an important issue to bring up, especially now that the blogging world has exploded the way that it has. It’s to easy to have your work copied and pasted, and when credit isn’t given where credit is due, it’s such an infuriating thing to go through. It’s true: do the writing, or don’t become a writer.

  8. I was researching an article a few days ago when I came across three articles that were nearly identical. I assumed the one written in 2006 was the original. It was on a commercial site and posted “by admin” but the other two had separate bylines on web content sites. Those two writers actually got credit and probably pay. It made me so mad, especially as I was taking hours to research and find legitimate resources. ugh! I want to contact the first site, let them know, but I would lose all faith in humanity if I found out they stole it too.

  9. […] Daily Freelance Writing Tips – “Copy and Paste” Freelance Writing – For someone who struggles for hours to write a post and who sees the anticipated prices for […]

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