Proper Way to Site Content from Other Websites?

by npaige
4 replies
hi folks,

in building an authority site, if i attain info from other sites, what is the appropriate way to site or give credit to that website? or is that not necessary?

i don't really see many sites referencing other sites.

#content #proper #site #websites
  • Profile picture of the author Darren Hodgson
    Unless you have permission to use other peoples content you MUST reference where the content came from. If you don't see sites referencing other sites you need to look harder.

    It's called content curation amongst other things, there's lots of info about it in this forum, use the search feature to find out more, there are also a few good WSO's on the topic.

    A small note at the buttom of the content saying where it came from should be good enough in most cases

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  • Profile picture of the author intergen
    You can use excerpts or posts from other sites but you should attribute the post to the site (just say that it came from site and add a link back to the post or content on their site (be sure it is do follow). If they still don't want you to use it they will let you know and ask you to take it down but that rarely happens.
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  • Profile picture of the author eibhlin
    Yes to everything already said here.

    There's an appalling lack of journalistic integrity, online. People do quote (sometimes whole articles) without attributing the source. That's as illegal as using graphics from Getty Images, without paying for them. The difference is, most people stealing articles (or portions of them) haven't been caught... yet.

    If you want to quote someone, or use a passage from someone's article, book, or recording, the bare minimum (in politeness terms, at least) is acknowledging the source and providing a link back.

    I'm not a lawyer, so I can't give you legal advice, only my opinion. Here are some of my opinions, in a section from my book, The Content Curation Handbook:

    Plagiarism and fair use

    The laws to read and understand are in Section 107 of the U.S. Code, and Title 17. Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. (Ref: U.S. Copyright Office - Fair Use, and Title 17, U.S. Code. - U.S. Copyright Office - Fair Use )

    When I use excerpts of others' work, it's usually as a reference for my own comments or criticism, or for teaching purposes. However, it's smart to keep this additional guideline in mind, from that same Fair Use page:
    "The distinction between fair use and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission.

    "Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission." [Emphasis added.]
    How much you quote can be a factor. Here's more from that same article, describing one of the four factors used by the courts to determine whether something is "fair use."
    "The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole."
    If all of that leaves you terrified of lawsuits, you may not have the temperament for content curation.

    When I'm citing sources, I usually rely on free, online tools like (They're one of several sites with free tools for building bibliographies and citations.) They not only provide easy-to-use forms that prompt you to enter essential reference information, they also format it for use in online and printed works.

    When I'm curating, I follow the standards set in software that I use most of the time,

    Generally, I limit my curation to three or four sentences (under 50 words) and include the name of the resource and a link back.

    When I've used resources as references, whether I quote them directly or not, I use to build a good bibliography or list of citations.

    And, here's an interesting copyright issue, only slightly related to this thread, but the widespread implications are mind-boggling: Post a Copyrighted Picture, Face a $150,000 Lawsuit - Technology Review
    Artist, blogger, and author of a bazillion books, more or less. Find me at
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