This just gripes me to no end! There is no way anyone can sit there and tell me that they honestly believe lifting paragraph after paragraph of content from someone's copyright protected article or web site page and using it as-is in another article is not a violation of fair use. Especially when the material, in almost every case, is for financial profit (an explicit exception to fair use as stated by the U. S. Library of Congress).
Free reprint articles, right? That means anyone can use them free for anything they want? Absolutely not! The author still holds the copyright and still has a set of reprint regulations that must be followed. The U.S. Copyright office also specifically states that. These people are not publishing the articles in full with proper credits and a link back to your site. They are cutting them into bits and pieces and making new "original" articles from them then barfing them out to the Internet all over again.
If you are some naive soul who is using these types of article and honestly hasn't thought about the seriousness of this type of thing, take a moment to consider it now. If you spent hours researching material to write a quality article for your newsletter or a page for your web site, how would you feel if someone swiped it and made it available for every spammer in the world to use and call their own? You wouldn't like it a bit.
If you are an SEO who has been using this type of unethical method of generating content for your clients, let it be known now that you are absolutely in violation of U. S. Copyright Law whether or not you choose to accept and acknowledge that fact.
I know I'm on a soapbox right now, but I've just had enough. This is wrong and everybody knows it. The people who run these sites just think they can get away with it. The owners of these sites know they are doing something wrong or they wouldn't all be trying to defend themselves in their FAQ pages and in their emails. When you aren't guilty of something, you have no reason to offer excuses for it. All of these sites do. They immediately address the issue of fair use and copyright violation because they know their attempt is to just barely skirt the law so they can make a profit. I'm not in business to work my butt off so they can turn a profit from my hard work!
Do you publish an ezine? You'd better check and double check the so-called "original articles" that are being sent to you. You may be found guilty of publishing plagerized material if you accept these regurgitated articles. At the very least, your ezine could lose a great deal of credibility.
Take a few moments to look over these sites and you'll see what U.S. Copyright Laws protect, what is allowable and what is not.
Enough is enough! If these people spent half as much time at a real job as they do trying to steal from others, they'd be rich already. Give me a freakin' break!
Edited by copywriter, 10 March 2006 - 09:44 AM.