There is a myriad of blog posts that cover a broad range of topics available online. Most of these articles are just different versions of a single content. Even with countless topics to talk about, there seems to be a lack of creativity and originality in these posts. So, let’s talk about original content, how to make it great, and why protecting it from being used over again without your consent is important.

Great content vs. original content

The possibilities of producing great content are endless. But writing great content can be challenging. The writer will have to put in time and effort to come up with a piece that is informative, appealing, and coherent. Otherwise, the writer will risk writing an article that is poor in quality. Not giving the write-up enough thought will ultimately defeat its purpose of delivering a message to an audience.

Since the term content marketing was first used back in 2001, and with over a billion websites online now, the chances that these sites will feature articles with very similar content are highly likely. Written content may appear countless times on websites that cater to competitive vertical markets. Even the most accomplished writers in content marketing are not able to provide various materials on how to package the best promotional item, how to do off-page optimization, or why turmerics are beneficial to your health.

Instead, what many content writers do is write about a certain topic through various perspectives to give thoughts on a particular theme from different angles. From a regular reader’s point of view, and from Google’s perspective, these specific articles all have original content even if there are previously written essays on the subject.

Are repurposed content original?

When you already have an article that covers a topic you need to write about again, you can repurpose it in a way that will give you an original content. Your previous content can be the jumping-off point for another article or a series of blog entries. And if you add more information that will put your topic in a different context, then your old article can also serve as a new feature article, reaching a wider audience. There can also be a positive effect on what you are representing with the article if you repurpose it well enough. Being able to carry the same message through different manners and across various channels will help strengthen your brand or organization’s identity.

What content writers and publishers just have to worry about is making sure they put up a text online that Google and other readers can consider as a uniquely written article. Again, unique does not necessarily mean discussing a one-of-a-kind topic since that is just impossible. But unique in the way that topic was discussed. No one should republish an article as-is in another website or publishing outlet unless there is consent from the publisher or blog owner. Google sees duplicate text and has certain measures ready to penalize blog sites that publish the same content. For writers who provide materials that do not have an online publication, hence beyond Google’s reach, you may republish the same article if you have the rights to it. But then, it doesn’t hurt to think of your avid readers and how it’s great to offer them a novel material to read.

Article spinning vs. repurposed content

Some people sometimes confuse repurposing of content with article spinning. And understandably so, since spinning and repurposing content both provide an article that tackles the same topic as the original write-up.

The difference, however, lies in the way the topic is discussed. Content spinning is merely writing a “new” article by using words synonymous to the ones found in the original text. Often, when blog owners or publishers spin, they use automation to produce articles with numerous variations of sentences that deliver the same message. But if you look closely, you’d see that only the words changed; grammatically, content, and structure-wise the articles remain the same.

Due to how spinning works, it poses ethical and legal issues when bloggers publish content they do not own. And when people source the information they write from other articles or paraphrase content and present them as their own, then they commit plagiarism.

Repurposing materials, on the other hand, is about repacking the content by adding or taking away elements depending on the text’s new purpose and possibly new audience. There are, however, cases when either spinning or repurposing content that isn’t originally yours is still an infraction. The violation happens when you go beyond the agreement for content with which you only have limited usage rights.

Does copyright law protect online content?

Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, every online content is protected by the copyright law. The thinking that anyone can use any content found online just because it’s on the internet is a common misconception. In fact, all literary, musical, dramatic, and artistic works of all forms are covered by copyright given that they are original content.

Are there online trademarks and patents?

Differentiating between copyright, trademark, and patent can be a bit confusing. Some might think that online content can be trademarked or patented. However, the three protect different types of intellectual property. Unlike copyright, which basically protects content, trademarks protect goods and services of a particular business, individual, or organization. They also protect terms, slogans, or names of products and brands. Patents protect inventions of equipment, manufacturing techniques, or processes that provide a different way of doing things or a new solution to problems. The protection one can enjoy from both trademarks and patents can only acquire through application and registration. Doing so will then require the assistance of an intellectual property lawyer or a patent attorney.

Why protecting online content is important

The recognition of and credit due to the producers of original content easily gets lost on the internet as many users online use and reuse articles they do not own without consent. Copyright is thus necessary as it provides legal ownership over and protection to the work a person or group produces. The ownership of a particular material provides the author the right to decide how other people can access and use their work. Without such legal protection, content could be stolen by anyone anytime; and this is the reality that bloggers have been dealing with for some time now.

There is a myriad of blog posts that cover a broad range of topics available online. Most of these articles are just different versions of a single content. Even with countless topics to talk about, there seems to be a lack of creativity and originality in these posts. So, let’s talk about original content, how to make it great, and why protecting it from being used over again without your consent is important.

Great content vs. original content

The possibilities of producing great content are endless. But writing great content can be challenging. The writer will have to put in time and effort to come up with a piece that is informative, appealing, and coherent. Otherwise, the writer will risk writing an article that is poor in quality. Not giving the write-up enough thought will ultimately defeat its purpose of delivering a message to an audience.

Since the term content marketing was first used back in 2001, and with over a billion websites online now, the chances that these sites will feature articles with very similar content are highly likely. Written content may appear countless times on websites that cater to competitive vertical markets. Even the most accomplished writers in content marketing are not able to provide various materials on how to package the best promotional item, how to do off-page optimization, or why turmerics are beneficial to your health.

Instead, what many content writers do is write about a certain topic through various perspectives to give thoughts on a particular theme from different angles. From a regular reader’s point of view, and from Google’s perspective, these specific articles all have original content even if there are previously written essays on the subject.

Are repurposed content original?

When you already have an article that covers a topic you need to write about again, you can repurpose it in a way that will give you an original content. Your previous content can be the jumping-off point for another article or a series of blog entries. And if you add more information that will put your topic in a different context, then your old article can also serve as a new feature article, reaching a wider audience. There can also be a positive effect on what you are representing with the article if you repurpose it well enough. Being able to carry the same message through different manners and across various channels will help strengthen your brand or organization’s identity.

What content writers and publishers just have to worry about is making sure they put up a text online that Google and other readers can consider as a uniquely written article. Again, unique does not necessarily mean discussing a one-of-a-kind topic since that is just impossible. But unique in the way that topic was discussed. No one should republish an article as-is in another website or publishing outlet unless there is consent from the publisher or blog owner. Google sees duplicate text and has certain measures ready to penalize blog sites that publish the same content. For writers who provide materials that do not have an online publication, hence beyond Google’s reach, you may republish the same article if you have the rights to it. But then, it doesn’t hurt to think of your avid readers and how it’s great to offer them a novel material to read.

Article spinning vs. repurposed content

Some people sometimes confuse repurposing of content with article spinning. And understandably so, since spinning and repurposing content both provide an article that tackles the same topic as the original write-up.

The difference, however, lies in the way the topic is discussed. Content spinning is merely writing a “new” article by using words synonymous to the ones found in the original text. Often, when blog owners or publishers spin, they use automation to produce articles with numerous variations of sentences that deliver the same message. But if you look closely, you’d see that only the words changed; grammatically, content, and structure-wise the articles remain the same.

Due to how spinning works, it poses ethical and legal issues when bloggers publish content they do not own. And when people source the information they write from other articles or paraphrase content and present them as their own, then they commit plagiarism.

Repurposing materials, on the other hand, is about repacking the content by adding or taking away elements depending on the text’s new purpose and possibly new audience. There are, however, cases when either spinning or repurposing content that isn’t originally yours is still an infraction. The violation happens when you go beyond the agreement for content with which you only have limited usage rights.

Does copyright law protect online content?

Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, every online content is protected by the copyright law. The thinking that anyone can use any content found online just because it’s on the internet is a common misconception. In fact, all literary, musical, dramatic, and artistic works of all forms are covered by copyright given that they are original content.

Are there online trademarks and patents?

Differentiating between copyright, trademark, and patent can be a bit confusing. Some might think that online content can be trademarked or patented. However, the three protect different types of intellectual property. Unlike copyright, which basically protects content, trademarks protect goods and services of a particular business, individual, or organization. They also protect terms, slogans, or names of products and brands. Patents protect inventions of equipment, manufacturing techniques, or processes that provide a different way of doing things or a new solution to problems. The protection one can enjoy from both trademarks and patents can only acquire through application and registration. Doing so will then require the assistance of an intellectual property lawyer or a patent attorney.

Why protecting online content is important

The recognition of and credit due to the producers of original content easily gets lost on the internet as many users online use and reuse articles they do not own without consent. Copyright is thus necessary as it provides legal ownership over and protection to the work a person or group produces. The ownership of a particular material provides the author the right to decide how other people can access and use their work. Without such legal protection, content could be stolen by anyone anytime; and this is the reality that bloggers have been dealing with for some time now.

Guest Post By: Vincent G. Spivey works as a legal researcher at the Livingston Loeffler Law Firm. His field of interest is intellectual property law, and he has spent years providing clients with materials they can use to understand their legal rights over their creative works. Vincent spends most of his time discussing current issues to help educate people and organizations about their intellectual property rights.