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 DupeCop.com and CopyScape.com 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.

Defending Your Copyright

Have you ever had your writing stolen? With the internet copyright infringement and plagiarism have become easier and more prevalent. It is important to know what to do in case someone violates usage rights for you work, or simply steals your content. I read an extremely helpful article on WOW (Women on Writing) by Moira Allen titled “Someone Stole My Article! What To Do When ItĀ Happens To You

You can read all about copyright infringement and remedies on the US government website under Copyright Law Chapter 5. I encourage you to familiarize yourself with your rights and the proper actions to take if someone steals your work. Protect yourself!

Someone Stole My Article! What To Do When It
Happens To You

Copyright Law

One issue that freelance writers need to be clear on is copyright law. In the United States, there are pretty clear cut rules when it comes to using material that other people wrote. I found a good article that explains the do’s and don’t of copyright law, that any writer can use as a guide when debating about how they are using research and writing from websites and other written materials. Check it out here.

For the outline of the U.S. government copyright regulations, go here.

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