One of the great things about blogging is the freedom to express your opinion. And while the majority of opinions won't cause too much of a controversy, one of the few ways you can get yourself into trouble is by stealing other peoples work. It can be tempting to copy a great idea. Wasn't it Sir Isaac Newton who said "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." There are ways to go about repurposing other people's content so that you are not just copying them but adding to the conversation.
Your Point Of View
The great thing about you is that you are not me. I want your fresh perspective on the topic at hand. It's your unique voice that will keep me coming back.
Continue the conversation, don't repeat it.
If you think someone did a great job covering your topic it only seems logical that you would link back to the original post. Same goes for tweets, comments and other conversations already happening elsewhere on the web.
Aggregate the best of the best.
Rather than writing a whole blog post about an awesome tutorial you found, why not post a collection of your favorite tutorials. At least fall back to tip #2 if you need to re-share that one awesome tutorial.
How To Properly Cite Other People's Work
Always link back to other posts when you can. Most blogging platforms will actually detect the link and create an automatic link back from the original article.
Most social media sites provide you a way to link back to the original piece of content. For comments you can usually click on the date to get a direct link to that comment. Also keep an eye out for ways to embed your social content into your sites. Twitter, for example, recommends that you use their new Embedded Tweets functionality.
To summarize from "Copyright Fair Use and How it Works for Online Images"
... when in doubt, assume it's subject to copyright and don't use it without the appropriate permission ...
It's best to either use your own images or images that have a Creative Commons license. Learn more at "Using Creative Commons to Find Photos You Can Use".
Still Not Sure?
If you are unsure or worried about breaking copyright laws, just remember these simple rules:
- If you didn't create it you need to link back to the original source
- It's safer to link to content than to copy it
In the end there isn't too much to worry about. You will usually be contacted by the source if you end up stepping on any toes. A majority of people want you to remix and link back to their content. It's the heart and soul of what makes the web so powerful.