So you’ve just started your first craft blog and you’re eager to get content out on the internet and share all the cool things you’ve found yourself. Great! That’s the perfect way to start. Sharing the things that inspire you and your creativity is one thing that will keep readers coming back to your blog, but how do you share content that’s not your original work without upsetting any fellow bloggers?
The internet has very effectively blurred copyright laws and made them even more confusing than they were before. Especially since putting content on the internet for the public makes it “free” and easily accessible by everyone. What this does not mean is that you can pull or “republish” someone else’s work. Imagine how upset you would be if you found some other blogger had pulled your entire birthday card tutorial, photos and all, and put it into their blog post. It’s a little better if they mentioned you and included a link back to your blog, but not much. So let’s go over blog etiquette and why it matters.
The whole point of having a blog is to build your audience and readership. The way to do this is to drive traffic to your blog. When someone uses your photo or article or tutorial without crediting you, they are not only taking all your hard work, but also potential readers. Republishing your tutorial or article in full and linking back to your blog is not much better because if people have the whole article in front of them, why would they need to go to your blog?
To be fair to other bloggers and have other bloggers treat you fairly, the best way to share content you’ve found on the internet is to only use part of the content (a photo, the materials list of a tutorial, etc.) and always credit the original source. Tell your readers where they can find the full content. This helps build a good relationship with the blogger who’s content you enjoy. If they are a bigger blogger, it’s possible they’ll link back to you and send some new readers your way.
Even though much of the content you find on the internet will not be copyrighted, you do not want to create bad blood between yourself and other bloggers. In the fast-paced world of technology we live in, a few bad words about you from a big blogger can really damage your credibility.
You can read more about the Fair Use clause for bloggers in this helpful article from About.com.