PLR copyright infringement concerns...

by balsimon 48 replies
A question for those much more experienced with PLR than me...

When you buy a PLR package, how do you know that the
seller truly has original work and that s/he is entitled to sell
it as hir own? How do you know that there's not some
copyright owner who's not party to the sale between you
and the seller?

My lay understanding of copyright law is that each instance
of proved copyright infringement is actionable, each with
its own penalty. My understanding is that the fact that
you bought the PLR package in good faith is no shield
against a copyright infringement suit.

I know about copyscape, but that's only partially useful. With
all the "minor works" that might not even make it to Amazon.com,
for example, plays put on in a small community, or a lecture by
some unknown professor to a local classroom - these might never
make it online. Yet both would be copyright protected.

So how do you know that you're safe? Is there any kind of
liability insurance that covers this kind of potential problem?

- Bal
#main internet marketing discussion forum #concerns #copyright #infringement #plr
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  • Profile picture of the author tecHead
    Bal, that's a damned good question.

    I guess; to that extent thorough thought; it kinna falls along the lines of "trust" in the entity you're purchasing from.

    Yet, the proper use of PLR written materials (IMHO) is to simply use the material as "boiler plates"; meaning, to use the PLR material as a 'template' for your actual written materials that you publish. This way, you're pretty much totally protected.

    Too many make the mistake of taking the PLR material and using it as is... or running it through a article spinner.. or just changing a couple adjectives and verbs here and there. When in actuality, what you're "supposed" to be doing is providing 'value' to the customer.

    My suggestion to you would be that IF you're gonna use PLR written content, then don't get hung up in trying to just spit out as much content as quickly as possible and throw up some stuff that your heart isn't really in. If you do; (from a karmic standpoint); you'll wind up getting back exactly the level of commitment you put in from the Universe.

    HTH
    PLP,
    tecHead
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    • Profile picture of the author balsimon
      Hey William,

      So if I'm understanding you rightly, then if I'm using the
      PLR materials simply as a basis for giving me a starting
      point in my creation process, why not just go to someplace
      like goarticles.com and use the articles there, or go to a
      university site and pick up whatever technical info they have
      published and do your own rewrites? What is the value-added
      in the PLR materials.

      I'm not saying that there isn't value-added. I'm simply
      asking because I'm kind of unclear on the concept.

      Thanks.

      Regards,
      Bal
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      • Profile picture of the author Rachel Goodchild
        Originally Posted by balsimon View Post

        Hey William,

        So if I'm understanding you rightly, then if I'm using the
        PLR materials simply as a basis for giving me a starting
        point in my creation process, why not just go to someplace
        like goarticles.com and use the articles there, or go to a
        university site and pick up whatever technical info they have
        published and do your own rewrites? What is the value-added
        in the PLR materials.

        I'm not saying that there isn't value-added. I'm simply
        asking because I'm kind of unclear on the concept.

        Thanks.

        Regards,
        Bal
        becasue using only one source can be seen as plagarism. plr is meant to cut down research and thinking time.
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        • Profile picture of the author George Wright
          Hi,

          Your concerns in your OP is one reason I've removed almost all PLR from my membership sites. It's just too iffy. I only put PLR if I know the author and trust them 100% that they have rights to sell the PLR with RR and/or MRR.

          It's safer to use PLR as a research tool just as you use Google and the public library.

          READ, Read, Read and then create out of your own mind. Now that's the "safe" way. However, it's not the fastest way so there is always a danger of using PLR that shouldn't be PLR at all. Maybe a slight danger but a danger never-the-less.

          George Wright
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        • Profile picture of the author Daisuke
          as long as you know you arent purposely copying others copyrighted content then i suggest not worrying too much about it
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  • Profile picture of the author tecHead
    Hey Bal,

    Rachel, (kinna), hits it right on the nose. PLR is meant to give individuals; (who choose to use it); a means of bypassing much of the research procedure... well, and the writing procedure.

    Don't get me wrong, I take nothing away from those that provide PLR content; (as long as its good and well targeted and not infringing anyone's copyrights).

    Yet, I say "kinna" in regards to Rachel's comment because pulling from one main source wouldn't necessarily be considered plagiarism; maybe "thin", but definitely not plagiarism.

    The answer to your question, however, is (IMHO) that there's no reason why you can't. I know I've used many of my old college textbooks to draw information from for the sole purpose that those textbooks (to me) had the most credibility.

    Not to mention the fact that written knowledge; (unless talking about some absolutely new technology); is pretty much compounded upon prior written material and/or expounded upon prior written material. One of the reasons I love the Public Domain.

    HTH
    PLP,
    tecHead
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    • Profile picture of the author balsimon
      OK - so really - if used safely and properly, *GOOD* PLR
      materials simply form another information resource.

      You still need to do your own due-diligence, provide your
      own value-added and originality to the works, etc.

      This is the main reason that PLR materials haven't wowwed
      me. I wish it wasn't so because the concept is very good.
      But with the laws the way they are and my inability to
      really make sure - and with the law saying it doesn't matter
      if you tried to make sure - if you're wrong your hosed, then
      I need to treat everything other than public domain and
      copyleft materials (though even there...) as suspect.

      Practical question: with ALL of the PLR products out there
      and ALL of the sellers who base their products on the PLR
      products, has there been even one instance of this kind
      of problem that anyone knows about?

      Have a good night - it's almost 3am - time to get some
      shut-eye.

      Regards,
      Bal
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      • Profile picture of the author tecHead
        Originally Posted by balsimon View Post

        Practical question: with ALL of the PLR products out there
        and ALL of the sellers who base their products on the PLR
        products, has there been even one instance of this kind
        of problem that anyone knows about?

        Have a good night - it's almost 3am - time to get some
        shut-eye.

        Regards,
        Bal
        Not to my knowledge; yet.

        The small business arena of the Internet doesn't seem to be that closely monitored, however. If you pay attention, you can see a LOT of things that go on which are pretty "suspect"; for all intents and purposes. Yet, mostly out of ignorance of the law more so than out of malicious intent.

        - Membership sites without a TOS
        - Earnings claims without a disclaimer
        - Products without a refund policy
        - and others

        HTH
        PLP,
        tecHead
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      • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
        Originally Posted by balsimon View Post

        OK - so really - if used safely and properly, *GOOD* PLR
        materials simply form another information resource.
        If that's the case, why aren't they called RA (Research Articles) or something similar?

        They're called PLR, Private Label Rights, articles. I believe it was another Warrior who described it as something like a store brand--someone else makes the product, but the store puts their own label on it. Same contents, the only difference is the brand name.

        But, if PLR is just another resource, that's just like taking a bunch of cans of vegetables you bought for your store brand, but then opening them up, mixing them together, re-canning and selling them as mixed vegetables under your store brand. In which case, what was the point of buying those re-brandable cans of vegetables? You could have just bought the vegetables fresh or grown them yourself and then canned them. After all, you're still doing the canning anyway.

        If you just want ideas, why pay for PLR just for ideas when you can browse the Internet and get tons of ideas for free? And, as others have mentioned, depending on PLR for research is a bit spotty anyway.

        As for the original question, I don't have an answer for that. I would think it would be a wise idea to keep track of where you purchased each PLR article or eBook you use. I would think that the fact that you paid for PLR rather than simply scraping content from other websites would be a point in your favor, and perhaps show that copyright infringement was not your intent. By purchasing Private Label Rights that would seem to be indicative of a desire to use content with permission. You'd be a victim as well as the person whose work was infringed upon. At the very least, maybe it would help in negotiating a friendly settlement, especially if you can help them track down the original infringer.
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        • Profile picture of the author balsimon
          It's not that I was proposing to use PLR materials as
          a source for researching various subjects. My point was that
          if - if - the copyright infringement problem existed in the way
          I was concerned about, then it made PLR materials much
          less useful to me.

          But from the responses I seem to be getting, I'm taking it that:

          Even if there is a potential problem, it is one that has
          never actually happened or at least that no one has ever
          seen, meaning there's probably less to worry about than
          getting struck by lightning on a clear sunny day.

          Is that the consensus?

          Regards,
          Bal
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          • Profile picture of the author Josh Anderson
            The truth is that you do not know.

            Recently I contacted one of the biggest names in IM regarding a PLR website template package I purchased from him.

            I asked for the licenses to verify that he truly had the rights to sell PLR rights to the stock images used in the PLR templates.

            In his TOS on the site he claimed he did his due dilligence and that people could resell his templates with no legal issues.

            However, when I did my due dilligence and requested him to provide me the actual licenses for the images he and his partner sold with the templates he balked.

            It turned out he had not done "due dilligence" at all as he had stated but instead just relied on the word of his designer.

            My pressing him and informing him that both his resellers and himself could be sued by the copyright holders of the stock images if they were not properly licensed caused him to dig deeper.

            He came back to me and informed me that some of the images he could not verify the licensing and others the license was in question (a soft way of saying he found out he did not have the right to sell resale rights).

            So the $$$ I paid to him for the PLR products were a total waste because I do not trust anything he says because he did not take enough care to ensure he was not opening up his clients to legal liabilities for copyright infringement.

            The only way to protect your self is to get affidavidt from the person providing the PLR material to you that it is 100% original and created by them and that they own the copyright or to get something similar or a license that you could later use in court direct from the copyright owner or legal licensing agency for the content or works.

            If you cannot trust the biggest names in IM to do the due dilligence you can not trust anyone.

            So just be aware that with PLR you are always taking a risk. Always. And do your due dilligence and keep in file all records of such communication as well as any licenses you have been provided. This will not 100% protect you from liability but it will go a long ways to limit damages and awards.

            The same goes for resale rights products... many of use might remember the web law document debaucle where someone swiped Bob Silbers legal documents and put them in a generator and then sold them with master resale rights.

            When Bob caught wind of it he began serving those he found using the documents with legal letters (Bob is an attorney) forcing them to pay thousands of dollars to avoid costly litigation.

            Also there was another package of "1600 graphics" being sold with master resale rights by many top marketers and members of this forum...

            One quick glance and it was obvious to me that they had been illegally swiped and distributed and that no one reselling them had the legal right to do so for a lot of the images in the package... yet so many people just rubber stamp without doing any due dilligence... but in this case common sense and a quick glance at the content of the package immediately would show an informed individual that by distributing such a package and using the images illegally you would be committing copyright infringement...

            These issues go on and on and on. The are among the most common mistakes and most important things that even top marketers ingore or do not take the time to research and fully understand.

            Trust no one. Do due dilligence every time. And even then act with caution.
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            • Profile picture of the author Kay King
              It's why you don't just buy the cheapest PLR you can find - and why you want to know who wrote it.

              why not just go to someplace
              like goarticles.com and use the articles there, or go to a
              university site and pick up whatever technical info they have
              published and do your own rewrites?
              Why not just write your OWN articles? If you rewrite an article someone else has published, that violates their copyright. True, you can take various facts from various articles and compose an article using them - and that's why so much of what is being published online is pure crap of people copying other people articles.

              PLR is great if you know how to use it - and you know where it came from.
              That means you know who wrote it - not just that "my writer wrote these". PLR has gotten a reputation for poor quality because so many people try to be writers and so many others try to buy cheap articles.

              Well written PLR is great for content sites, email campaign info, etc.

              kay
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              • Profile picture of the author balsimon
                Hi Josh and Kay,

                So Josh - given the effort that you suggest, is there
                any time/effort savings at in working with PLR
                materials versus just doing it yourself? Seems like
                the due diligence you suggest is at least as time
                consuming, and also fraught with greater risk, than
                just doing it yourself. Thoughts?

                And Kay - I obviously wrote what you quoted poorly.
                Apologies. Let me try again. What I meant was that one
                of the ways that I use articles and other people's
                content is as a springboard for my own thinking. I'll
                take ideas from, say, several articles and think about
                how to put them together in my own words, as a new
                critter altogether.

                Given what Josh said about doing due-diligence and the
                relatively poor quality of lots of the PLR materials
                I've seen, I just don't see the value - and I guess
                that's what I was asking about: Given the risks is
                there still value?

                One more note... I got a PLR package as a bonus once
                upon a time and I did a copyscape search on some of the
                text in the content. Turned out that the entire work
                was just lifted straight from a public domain work on
                Gutenberg. A PD work repackaged as PLR. That's
                chutzpah.

                Regards,
                Bal
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                • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
                  Originally Posted by balsimon View Post

                  One more note... I got a PLR package as a bonus once
                  upon a time and I did a copyscape search on some of the
                  text in the content. Turned out that the entire work
                  was just lifted straight from a public domain work on
                  Gutenberg. A PD work repackaged as PLR. That's
                  chutzpah.
                  But, at least you wouldn't have to worry about any copyright issues if you use it.

                  Another issue that kevinw1 kind of brought up is PLR eBooks. You might have your own eBook written, but want some bonus materials to go along with it. PLR eBooks have, in this forum, been recommended for exactly that.

                  I kind of wish you had joined two months ago and posted this question, or that I would have thought of it myself. I never really considered PLR until it was recommended in this forum and, now with the issue you've raised, I am probably going to end up tossing 90% of the PLR I do have.

                  I hope your post will be helpful for others, especially any other newbies that join and start looking into PLR. The risks may far outweigh any benefits.

                  Originally Posted by Josh Anderson View Post

                  The only way to protect your self is to get affidavidt from the person providing the PLR material to you that it is 100% original and created by them and that they own the copyright or to get something similar or a license that you could later use in court direct from the copyright owner or legal licensing agency for the content or works.
                  Seriously, though, what are the odds of getting that from any PLR vendor?

                  I'm having serious second thoughts about even touching PLR now. Maybe I'll end up not using that other 10% either.
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                  • Profile picture of the author Josh Anderson
                    Seriously, though, what are the odds of getting that from any PLR vendor?
                    It's only about odds if you gamble.

                    If you are not sure you might as well avoid using it unless you are willing to take the risk of up to $150k per violation.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike McBride
    kinna
    Kinna? What does a town in Sweden have to do with this?
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  • Profile picture of the author kevinw1
    When you read the "how to use PLR" books and reports, however, the advice in this thread is not what you hear. Most of it is about how to take PLR books and reports (ie longer pieces, not articles), add to and re-purpose them, and re-sell them as new stuff. NOT just to use the PLR as a research source (which to me would be a pretty iffy source anyway).

    Are the posters here referring mainly to PLR articles, or to PLR ebooks too?
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
    Why is this discussion specifically about PLR? The same concerns exist with any type of resale rights - if the person who sold it to you copied it illegally, you could be in trouble.
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    • Profile picture of the author balsimon
      Good point, Chris...

      The reason I brought it up with PLR is because at least
      with resale rights products, I'm claiming only a license to
      sell the product. I'm not claiming any kind of ownership
      or authorship of the product.

      But now that you mention it, maybe the law doesn't
      distinguish between wrongly selling and wrongly
      infringing on copyright.

      I don't know. I'm just asking.

      Regards,
      Bal
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      • Profile picture of the author Josh Anderson
        But now that you mention it, maybe the law doesn't
        distinguish between wrongly selling and wrongly
        infringing on copyright.
        It does not.

        If you make a copy and distribute it you are infringing.

        And ignorance is also not a defensible position in copyright cases.

        Selling copyrighted work is infringing. Giving away copyrighted work is infringing. Publishing copyrighted work on the web is infringing.

        The penalties can be huge, hundreds of thousands of dollars and defense of a copyright suit is very expensive as well even if you are innocent.

        As I pointed out earlier in this thread this goes for resale rights and master resale rights products too and you cannot trust anyone even the biggest names in IM to properly perform due diligence...

        You must ask you must demand verification in writing. If you do not get it and you are unsure do not use the material.
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        • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
          Originally Posted by Josh Anderson View Post

          Selling copyrighted work is infringing. Giving away copyrighted work is infringing. Publishing copyrighted work on the web is infringing.
          And, that of course means you're at risk for things beyond PLR, RR and MRR materials.

          You're at risk if you post articles from article directories, and I'd presume that would be the case even if you include the author's resource box, like you're supposed to. If the author copied the work from somewhere else and put his/her name on it, and you publish it, then you're at risk.

          You're at risk if you use photos, clip art, stock video footage, stock audio clips, etc. that you get from other sites, perhaps more so if you're using sites with user-submitted media.

          If you don't have a license or signed document from the seller verifying that the seller owns the copyright or has a license to distribute the material to you AND that the seller will indemnify, defend and hold you harmless against all claims against the copyright, then you are at risk.

          Maybe 99% of the PLR and other materials offered out there are okay to use. Maybe 99.9% is okay to use. But, all it takes is one. All it takes is one for a DMCA notice to get your website or blog shut down. All it takes is one to potentially cost you $150,000.00 or more in penalties and fees, and don't forget attorney's fees.

          I took down 5 websites last night, and tossed an eBook I was 25,000 words into. So, all the work and money I put into those was completely wasted. It's just not worth the risk. Maybe others around here have hundreds of thousands of dollars they're willing to gamble, but I don't.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
    Dan, you forgot to mention we're all going to die, too.
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    • Profile picture of the author JHamilton
      Three ways to protect yourself when selling PLR:

      -Make all PLR products you sell as such accessible within a membership site (where you are technically only selling access to the membership site, not the actual product(s) themselves.)

      -Include a personally protective legal disclaimer and terms of use on your sales page and within your membership area.

      -If necessary, incorporate your business to protect your personal assets in the unfortunate event of a lawsuit.

      Hope these ideas help some people!
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      • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
        Originally Posted by JHamilton View Post

        -Make all PLR products you sell as such accessible within a membership site (where you are technically only selling access to the membership site, not the actual product(s) themselves.)
        You'd still be distributing the products. If any of the PLR is actually copyrighted material, you're still infringing upon copyright by distributing it. Locking it behind a membership site and saying you're just selling a membership doesn't change the fact that you are still distributing the material.

        -Include a personally protective legal disclaimer and terms of use on your sales page and within your membership area.
        That may protect your buyers from suing you in the event that you distribute copyrighted material to them, but that's not going to prevent the copyright holder from suing you.
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        • Profile picture of the author balsimon
          So - let me sum up what my current understanding is
          based on the discussion so far.

          #1 - The problems with distributing PLR and RR materials
          can be profound with respect to the laws about copyright
          infringement. The penalties can be severe.

          #2 - You can't disclaim your way out of these problems.

          #3 - Ignorance of someone's copyright - even if you did
          perform due-diligence and tried to find the owner is not
          enough to save you in a court of law.

          #4 - On the other hand, there are very few instances that anyone
          can point to (Bob Silber's legal notices being plagiarized
          being the only one mentioned so far) in the entire history of
          ebooks, articles, reports, and the like. In other words, the odds
          of getting nailed for this make it seem likelier that I'll end up
          on Giligan's Island and have tea with the Howells.

          #5 - The best advice seems to be to talk with your attorney
          if you have concerns.

          Am I mis-stating or omitting anything?

          Regards,
          Bal
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          • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
            Originally Posted by balsimon View Post

            So - let me sum up what my current understanding is
            based on the discussion so far.

            #1 - The problems with distributing PLR and RR materials
            can be profound with respect to the laws about copyright
            infringement. The penalties can be severe.
            Correct.

            #2 - You can't disclaim your way out of these problems.
            Correct, depending. If you sell PLR, you can use a disclaimer to stop your buyers from suing you, but a disclaimer will not protect a copyright holder from suing you. If you're using PLR, a disclaimer will not protect a copyright holder from suing you.

            #3 - Ignorance of someone's copyright - even if you did
            perform due-diligence and tried to find the owner is not
            enough to save you in a court of law.
            Correct. You might be able to get a lesser fine, or no fine at all, if you can convince the court that your infringement was not willful, but you cannot necessarily depend upon that defense. I don't know that there is a standard definition for "due diligence," so what you consider due-diligence and what the judge considers it may not be the same. Plus, since many PLR sources have disclaimers where you agree not to hold them responsible for any infringing material, you're not going to be able to turn around and sue them.

            #4 - On the other hand, there are very few instances that anyone
            can point to (Bob Silber's legal notices being plagiarized
            being the only one mentioned so far) in the entire history of
            ebooks, articles, reports, and the like. In other words, the odds
            of getting nailed for this make it seem likelier that I'll end up
            on Giligan's Island and have tea with the Howells.
            Well, Gilligan's Island was a fictional TV show, so you do have a better chance of getting caught for copyright infringement than having tea with the Howells. Penalties could be as little as a couple hundred dollars to $150,000. Plus attorneys' fees. And, if found guilty of criminal copyright infringement, you could go to jail too, where you might end up being someone's Ginger or Mary Ann.

            #5 - The best advice seems to be to talk with your attorney
            if you have concerns.
            Or don't touch PLR with a ten-foot pole. I took down another 10 websites today that I had used PLR on. Unless someone can tell me differently, PLR just seems to have risks that outweigh any potential rewards, not to mention that those potential rewards can increase the risks if any of the PLR you're using was stolen content.
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            • Profile picture of the author balsimon
              Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

              Well, Gilligan's Island was a fictional TV show, so you do have a better chance of getting caught for copyright infringement than having tea with the Howells. Penalties could be as little as a couple hundred dollars to $150,000. Plus attorneys' fees. And, if found guilty of criminal copyright infringement, you could go to jail too, where you might end up being someone's Ginger or Mary Ann.
              I guess my attempt at a little humor misfired... The
              point was, and is, that the level of enforcement seems
              to be incredibly small given the number of transactions
              in PLR, resell rights, and the like that are going on
              every day.

              Of course, that could change in the blink of an eye.
              But looking backwards, the number of times anyone's
              been held accountable seems remarkably small.

              That said - I'm more or less with you on this. Unless I
              truly trust the source of the material, I am going to
              proceed with caution...

              Regards,
              Bal
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  • Profile picture of the author SimonRiver
    PLR articles are so much in the gray zone. It's such a gamble because you don't really know where the material originated from. It's been resold over so many times, it probably won't even rank well in the search engines.
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  • Profile picture of the author balsimon
    Originally Posted by balsimon View Post

    Is there any kind of
    liability insurance that covers this kind of potential problem?
    Just realized that this part of my original question hasn't
    yet been addressed.

    Comments?

    Regards,
    Bal
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  • Profile picture of the author DerrickMarkotter
    Checking the TOS of a PLR membership site I belong to, it is clearly stated that I may not claim copyright to any of the PLR material unless I make "SUBSTANTIAL changes / improvements to the content of the product" - whether the changes are substantial enough is up to the site owner's discretion.

    However, I'm free to do pretty much anything else I want to with it - apart from sell resell rights to the unaltered product.

    Assuming that I don't claim copyright, and that the site owner is being honest when he claims that the PLR products are exclusively created for the site members, is there still a liability issue?

    Derrick Markotter
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    • Profile picture of the author balsimon
      Hi Derrick,

      I'm exploring this and am not any kind of authority.
      This is understood, yes?

      My understanding is that any copyright infringement
      problem in the situation you mention is *not* with the
      person who sold you the PLR materials. Your problem
      is with the person who holds the true copyright, if
      such a person exists and if the person who sold you
      the rights either didn't know or was unscrupulous.

      If you go beyond "fair use" of the copyright owner's
      materials, then you have a potential problem with
      that person.

      My understanding - my lay understanding - is that your
      reliance on the seller's word will shield you not a wit.

      The question is - as with much else in this society -
      what can you trust? I don't yet have a good answer
      for that. Thus this thread.

      If anyone can correct or clarify what I have written
      here so as to keep the legal facts as straight as possible,
      that would be very much appreciated.

      Personally, I wish I could just "conduct business" without
      these concerns. But I can't, and I can understand it
      from the copyright holder's point of view. S/he works
      at producing something and then someone willy-nilly uses
      it and s/he gets no piece of it; no control of it. In hir shoes
      I'd be very upset indeed.

      Regards,
      Bal
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      • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
        Originally Posted by balsimon View Post

        My understanding is that any copyright infringement
        problem in the situation you mention is *not* with the
        person who sold you the PLR materials. Your problem
        is with the person who holds the true copyright, if
        such a person exists and if the person who sold you
        the rights either didn't know or was unscrupulous.

        If you go beyond "fair use" of the copyright owner's
        materials, then you have a potential problem with
        that person.
        That is correct according to my understanding as well.

        My understanding - my lay understanding - is that your
        reliance on the seller's word will shield you not a wit.
        That's true. The copyright holder, if there is one, can sue you even if the seller told you that you have the right to use it, even if the seller included a license detailing what you can do with the material. So, you're still stuck.

        You can try to turn around and sue the seller, though that may be made difficult by their own terms of use. I checked one site, for example, and they assured their buyers that their work was original, but they wouldn't accept any responsibility for it if someone claimed infringement. You were on your own, and, by buying from them, you were agreeing to those terms. So, you can't rely on the idea that you can just turn around and sue the seller for selling you copyrighted material. Besides, the copyright holder will be probably suing them as well, and their claims may take precedence over yours.

        The question is - as with much else in this society -
        what can you trust? I don't yet have a good answer
        for that. Thus this thread.
        That's a good question. The reason people want PLR is partially to avoid any copyright problems. I mean, you want inexpensive articles that you can take and do pretty much whatever you want with them, without worrying about anyone's copyright.

        And, it's not like PLR buyers are doing the virtual equivalent of buying car parts off the back of a truck by a guy assuring them that, no, they're not stolen. Just because the PLR content may be a low price doesn't mean it's stolen content. PLR writers have good reason to write and sell PLR. If you write 10 articles, at today's rates that might get a writer $50-$100. If they're lucky, maybe they'll get as much as $250, or more. But, if they sell a 10-article pack as PLR for $10, if they get 100 buyers, that's $1,000. Even if they get 50 buyers, that's $500. So, there's a good chance (depending on the niche and so forth) that they could make more selling articles as PLR than simply doing articles just for one buyer.

        Of course, those prices and sales numbers and so on can all vary, but the point is that PLR isn't necessarily something shady and questionable. There are valid reasons for writers to write and sell PLR, so there's good reason for a buyer not to expect that PLR is all stolen content.

        So, there's a lot of PLR that's out there that is probably safe to use. But, that's not the PLR that's going to be a problem for you. Someone may sell you PLR content and say that they wrote it and it was all original content, and they may be telling you the truth. Someone else might grab some articles from an article directory, spin them and tell you the same thing. How do you know who is telling you the truth and who is not?

        A PLR vendor may tell you, yes, you can do whatever you want with their PLR articles. They may have been told the same thing by the person who sold them the content, who may have been told the same thing by the person who sold them the content, and so on all the way back to the original seller. And, who knows if that original seller created the content or stole it? And, by the time it reaches you, you don't even know the original source of the material, which makes it difficult to do any research on it.

        The bottom line is that you are responsible for what you publish and you are the one that will be held responsible for what you publish. Even if you're "just" running a website or selling an eBook, you're still a publisher. Do you think a big name publisher would publish content that they weren't sure of the source of that content or weren't absolutely certain of the rights they have to the content? They may have teams of lawyers working for them, but I doubt they'd take the chance on material they weren't sure of.

        And changing a few words here and there may not be sufficient, and probably won't be, to avoid a copyright infringement suit.

        Of course, you'll only have a problem if the material you're using was copyrighted material that wasn't authorized to be used as PLR by the copyright holder.

        Insurance may help, but that's generally designed to protect your own original work or works to which you have secured the rights. Using PLR, especially PLR that does not come directly from the author (where you might be able to have them sign documentation that may be suggested by the insurance company), might be considered as risky behavior and result in more expensive insurance expenses than what you might incur by just using your own original material and/or material to which you have clearly secured the rights.
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        • Profile picture of the author balsimon
          Originally Posted by Josh Anderson View Post

          Also some companies employ legal departments that do nothing more than search the web for infringers and make them pay.

          It is far more common than people think.

          The best policy is to avoid questionable practices.
          Hmm - of course that would be true. Narrow focus on my part. :rolleyes:

          Originally Posted by Jon Alexander View Post

          that's why I 'wrangle' absolutely EVERYTHING.

          Makes it unique. Belongs to me. Game over.
          See - this is what I don't get. If I'm going to make it truly
          unique, why would I bother with PLR in the first place. Why
          not just do research, see how others have structured
          similar information, take notes, and then write my own
          original work? It's about the same amount of work, isn't
          it? Or am I missing something?

          Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

          And, it's not like PLR buyers are doing the virtual equivalent of buying car parts off the back of a truck by a guy assuring them that, no, they're not stolen. Just because the PLR content may be a low price doesn't mean it's stolen content. PLR writers have good reason to write and sell PLR. If you write 10 articles, at today's rates that might get a writer $50-$100. If they're lucky, maybe they'll get as much as $250, or more. But, if they sell a 10-article pack as PLR for $10, if they get 100 buyers, that's $1,000. Even if they get 50 buyers, that's $500. So, there's a good chance (depending on the niche and so forth) that they could make more selling articles as PLR than simply doing articles just for one buyer.
          Ahh - so this brings up a related question - one that I've had
          buzzing around me like a little hornet. If I contract out for an
          someone to write me an article or a report (you can see where
          this is going, yes?), how do I verify that the work product is
          not copyright protected. This question of trust is much larger
          than just PLR. It's the very basis of working with anyone. At
          some point, we need to be able to trust people don't we?
          Can the law really be so abysmally clueless that it puts up
          insurmountable roadblocks to trusting people on matters of
          intellectual property? That makes no sense to me. But the
          world making sense to me has rarely been a factor in what's real.

          Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

          Insurance may help, but that's generally designed to protect your own original work or works to which you have secured the rights.
          Right - I guess I was hoping for some kind of liability insurance.

          Very interesting, if disheartening discussion.

          Kind Regards,
          Bal
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          • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
            Originally Posted by balsimon View Post

            See - this is what I don't get. If I'm going to make it truly
            unique, why would I bother with PLR in the first place. Why
            not just do research, see how others have structured
            similar information, take notes, and then write my own
            original work? It's about the same amount of work, isn't
            it? Or am I missing something?
            Rewriting an existing article is much faster than writing one from scratch.

            But, that being not an option (if you decide not to use PLR), there's not much sense that I can see in buying PLR only to end up writing your own original work. It's not a reliable source; I mean, you're not going to quote a PLR article in your own article, are you? Who would you be quoting?

            Maybe there's value in ideas. Maybe there's value in seeing the different types of articles you could write on a single topic. So, maybe there's value in using PLR as a learning tool, but not using the PLR content for anything else.

            Of course, you could just browse the Internet for free. ;-)

            Ahh - so this brings up a related question - one that I've had
            buzzing around me like a little hornet. If I contract out for an
            someone to write me an article or a report (you can see where
            this is going, yes?), how do I verify that the work product is
            not copyright protected. This question of trust is much larger
            than just PLR. It's the very basis of working with anyone. At
            some point, we need to be able to trust people don't we?
            Can the law really be so abysmally clueless that it puts up
            insurmountable roadblocks to trusting people on matters of
            intellectual property? That makes no sense to me. But the
            world making sense to me has rarely been a factor in what's real.
            Trust, but verify.

            Have a contract with the writer where they stipulate they are providing you with original work. Have this contract drawn up by an IP attorney--not just any attorney, you want someone familiar with intellectual property. Then, on top of having a signed contract, check the work when you get it. Search in Google for sentences and phrases used in the article. You can use Copyscape too. If you don't get any matches, you may be okay. Combine that with the signed contract, and you're good to go. Get insurance on top of that, and you're golden. There are no absolute guarantees, but you can take steps to minimize your risk.

            But, with PLR, maybe it's just too hot a potato. Consider that, if you sell a PLR pack for $10 and limit to 100 buyers, that's $1,000. Do that once a week, and you're (potentially) getting $52,000 per year. That's a good incentive for a legitimate writer to legitimately sell PLR.

            Of course, that's also an incentive for a less scrupulous person to copy 10 articles from someone, tweak them a bit and sell them, and repeat.

            How will you tell the difference between the two?

            It's unfortunate that there are bad people in the world that make things difficult for the rest of us. But, such is the world we live in. And, it's putting your trust in the wrong people that can ruin you, even though you were trying to do the right thing all along.
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  • Profile picture of the author Josh Anderson
    Include a personally protective legal disclaimer and terms of use on your sales page and within your membership area.
    No disclaimer will protect you from copyright infringement claims if you are the one publishing and distributing the infringing material.

    That's like putting a band aid on a staff infection.

    In other words, the odds
    of getting nailed for this make it seem likelier that I'll end up
    on Giligan's Island and have tea with the Howells.
    The odds are much better than people think.

    I have personally found and legally dealt with infringers many times over using nothing more than google and it is not uncommon for me to receive reports from concerned citizens regularly when they think a company may be infringing.

    Also some companies employ legal departments that do nothing more than search the web for infringers and make them pay.

    It is far more common than people think.

    The best policy is to avoid questionable practices.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dick Doe
    Originally Posted by balsimon View Post

    A question for those much more experienced with PLR than me...

    When you buy a PLR package, how do you know that the
    seller truly has original work and that s/he is entitled to sell
    it as hir own? How do you know that there's not some
    copyright owner who's not party to the sale between you
    and the seller?

    My lay understanding of copyright law is that each instance
    of proved copyright infringement is actionable, each with
    its own penalty. My understanding is that the fact that
    you bought the PLR package in good faith is no shield
    against a copyright infringement suit.

    I know about copyscape, but that's only partially useful. With
    all the "minor works" that might not even make it to Amazon.com,
    for example, plays put on in a small community, or a lecture by
    some unknown professor to a local classroom - these might never
    make it online. Yet both would be copyright protected.

    So how do you know that you're safe? Is there any kind of
    liability insurance that covers this kind of potential problem?

    - Bal
    I agree that it is a very difficult position to be in, esp. as a customer, because ignorance is never a bliss in case of copyright infringement. My advice is that: just rewrite all PLRs before you put them on your site. That would mean some hard work upfront, but you will be worry-free.

    IMO, ideally plr content should be used as research materials, rather than using them 'as is'.
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  • Profile picture of the author FranMurray
    Hmmm ... This thread has me thinking. About PLR and Ghostwriting services.

    Someone in this thread mentioned that PLR should be used a start in creation process. I 100% agree with that statement, although i have not thought about it until I saw it written down.

    Just some thoughts
    Fran
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  • Profile picture of the author Allegro
    The problem with PLR is, as many other have stated already, that you just can't be sure whether it's "legal" or not. Luckily, and many thanks to Kneb Knebaih's ebook, i found a way around that.

    Instead of using or purchasing PLR material from others, i take work from the public domain - these have no copyrights and you can do with it whatever you want!
    The quality of the authors who died so long ago is very good, if not to say OUTSTANDING. And so many principles and theories of the old time is still valid today.
    Best examples: i am currently selling "spiritual" PLR articles, taken from a book of James Allen. Or how about "Dog Training" or the stock market? Everything published back then is still valid today. And totaly free to use.
    Why i sell them then? Well, it is really really great material, has an outstanding quality and i still have to research it and split it up in single articles. But the good thing is that there are really no hidden trapdoors you can fall through.
    You should try public domain stuff.
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    Nothing to see here. Move along, citizen.

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  • Profile picture of the author dndoseller
    I used to mess with reselling PLR until I realized there really is no way to know if it is original unless you actually hire the writer freelance.
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    • Profile picture of the author TeamGlobal
      I was lucky to find this discussion.

      I am just recently starting to offer financial market PLR articles as well as ebooks with resale rights. All works are created in house and are 100% original.

      If you were someone in the market to buy these type of articles what could I do to make you feel confident that you are getting 100% original work? Is there some wording in the license agreement you would like to see?

      Thanks in advance for any input you can give me.

      All The Best,


      Tony
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      • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
        Originally Posted by TeamGlobal View Post

        If you were someone in the market to buy these type of articles what could I do to make you feel confident that you are getting 100% original work? Is there some wording in the license agreement you would like to see?
        That you represent and warrant that you are the sole owner of all rights in and hold the undivided copyright interest in the articles you offer as private label rights articles. That the articles offered are original work and that you have the sole and exclusive right to grant the private label rights and related rights to the work. That you will solely be held responsible should the articles infringe upon any copyright or any other right that leads to any civil or legal cause of action of any nature regarding the articles and that you agree to indemnify the buyer regarding any civil claim or legal nature of any type regarding any infringement of rights originated by the articles.
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        • Profile picture of the author TeamGlobal
          Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

          That you represent and warrant that you are the sole owner of all rights in and hold the undivided copyright interest in the articles you offer as private label rights articles. That the articles offered are original work and that you have the sole and exclusive right to grant the private label rights and related rights to the work. That you will solely be held responsible should the articles infringe upon any copyright or any other right that leads to any civil or legal cause of action of any nature regarding the articles and that you agree to indemnify the buyer regarding any civil claim or legal nature of any type regarding any infringement of rights originated by the articles.
          Hi Dan,

          I really appreciate you taking the time to give me some feedback.

          I should probably also add that I, as the creator of the copyrighted works shall in no way be held responsible for the content or legality of any derivative works created by buyer.

          Thanks again for your response.

          All The Best,


          Tony
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      • Profile picture of the author jacktackett
        Originally Posted by TeamGlobal View Post

        I was lucky to find this discussion.

        I am just recently starting to offer financial market PLR articles as well as ebooks with resale rights. All works are created in house and are 100% original.

        If you were someone in the market to buy these type of articles what could I do to make you feel confident that you are getting 100% original work? Is there some wording in the license agreement you would like to see?

        Thanks in advance for any input you can give me.

        All The Best,


        Tony

        Tony,
        the way to legally show you're the owner is to display to folks who license your material the bar code you receive from the US copyright office. You can now electronically register your material for 35$ US. Amazes me folks will spend that or more on an ecover for their material, but wont spend the money to protect their material (or show others its legit).
        Check out:
        U.S. Copyright Office - Online Services (eCO: Electronic Copyright Office)

        good luck,
        --Jack
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        • Profile picture of the author TeamGlobal
          Hey Jack,

          You make a good point. Thanks very much for the link.

          All The Best,


          Tony
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  • Profile picture of the author Jon Alexander
    Originally Posted by balsimon View Post

    A question for those much more experienced with PLR than me...

    When you buy a PLR package, how do you know that the
    seller truly has original work and that s/he is entitled to sell
    it as hir own? How do you know that there's not some
    copyright owner who's not party to the sale between you
    and the seller?

    My lay understanding of copyright law is that each instance
    of proved copyright infringement is actionable, each with
    its own penalty. My understanding is that the fact that
    you bought the PLR package in good faith is no shield
    against a copyright infringement suit.

    I know about copyscape, but that's only partially useful. With
    all the "minor works" that might not even make it to Amazon.com,
    for example, plays put on in a small community, or a lecture by
    some unknown professor to a local classroom - these might never
    make it online. Yet both would be copyright protected.

    So how do you know that you're safe? Is there any kind of
    liability insurance that covers this kind of potential problem?

    - Bal
    wrangle it enough and it's to all intents and purposes new, so the problem goes away.

    Otherwise, as you say, even if the person you bought it from SWEARS its PLR, in any legal action, your only recourse would be to try and recover the damages levied against you from HIM. And good luck with that!
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  • The real issue here is the source of the PLR. If you know, for sure, that you are buying PLR content from the person who produced it, you're fine.

    However, that implies a relationship with the writer/artist/coder. If you're buying PLR from someone other than the creator, you have a responsibility to do the massive due diligence that is required.

    Hint: if it's cheap, if it's easy, if it's part of a bigger pile of PLR, be very careful!
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