If you blog or have a website, chances are you have looked at other people’s writing to get ideas or content. At what point do you cross the line from legitimate research to copyright infringement?

A few guidelines may help you stay on the right side of the line. First, don’t copy verbatim. If you are taking more than two or three words in sequence, you should attribute to the original author and ideally link back to that person’s website. Second, if you use an image or video, it should be your work or you should get permission from the person who created it. Links to Youtube are one exception to that rule and have been generally found to be okay. Third, think about the practicalities. Your risk is lower the less visibility your blog or site has. The more people that are seeing your work, the more potential exposure you are getting to copyright infringement claims. Finally, ideas are not copyrightable. If you are looking at other people’s work for inspiration from which you will create your own, unique work, you will probably be just fine.

- Claire Kalia

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