Can someone sue me for copying content?

53 replies
Hi guys,

Just wondering if anyone can shed some light. I often spin articles and try to make them as unique as possible. I know technically I should be writing my own but the niche is more of an informative niche. Anyway the website I "copied" from not literally copied and pasted, is asking me to take it down or they will take legal proceedings.

I mean can they technically even do this? Sure my article looks similar but I have used my own images, own unique titles mix of my content and theirs.

Obviously it wasn't the best thing to do but I am just wondering if they can actually take legal action or not? :confused: or am I just better deleting the content
#content #copying #sue
  • Profile picture of the author mrgoe
    Be cautious when spinning, you need to have readable content, or else your website won`t be very popular. Also, if something is similar to the original content, even if it uses a bunch of different words can be seen as copyright infringement. Just read an article and try to state everything in your own way. It is much better than spinning.
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    • Profile picture of the author palmer9999
      Originally Posted by mrgoe View Post

      Be cautious when spinning, you need to have readable content, or else your website won`t be very popular. Also, if something is similar to the original content, even if it uses a bunch of different words can be seen as copyright infringement. Just read an article and try to state everything in your own way. It is much better than spinning.
      Thanks. Yes I would agree there. I don't spin anymore just from months ago when I wrote the article
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  • Profile picture of the author mrgoe
    Be unique. 5 unique pages make up for many more ones that are copied or similar. People stop and read content that is unique from anything else they read so far on the subject
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  • Profile picture of the author sikaz
    To start with, you can be sued.

    Could someone win a case against you for copyrights infringement? Yes,if he could proof the
    case in court.

    But why going this far?

    You said you have been politely told to bring the article down because of the similarity in content.If I were you I'll do so.More so since you've confessed to spinning their article.

    However, I'll read the two articles again and do a complete re-write using my own words and examples.And completely changing the title as well.

    It's always better to read an article you are interested in writing about;sit down with the points you have jotted from such article- totally discarding it after reading;leave your room to while away the time somewhere and later come back to write your own article.I can assure you your product will be different from the original one you've read before.

    Try the above and let me know how it works out for you.
    Best of luck.
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    • Profile picture of the author palmer9999
      Originally Posted by sikaz View Post

      To start with, you can be sued.

      Could someone win a case against you for copyrights infringement? Yes,if he could proof the
      case in court.

      But why going this far?

      You said you have been politely told to bring the article down because of the similarity in content.If I were you I'll do so.More so since you've confessed to spinning their article.

      However, I'll read the two articles again and do a complete re-write using my own words and examples.And completely changing the title as well.

      It's always better to read an article you are interested in writing about;sit down with the points you have jotted from such article- totally discarding it after reading;leave your room to while away the time somewhere and later come back to write your own article.I can assure you your product will be different from the original one you've read before.

      Try the above and let me know how it works out for you.
      Best of luck.
      Hi there, thanks for the advice. Yea took them down all good. Might look at writing the articles again as you recommended
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  • Profile picture of the author nicheblogger75
    Why don't people just do it right and write good, unique content? Take the time and do it and you will be rewarded. That's what Google wants anyway.

    About 6 months ago I started a review blog and I decided that I was going to do it right and by that I mean I would purchase every single product that I reviewed, and I would write super detailed reports of 1000-1500 words and include original images and videos in the articles.

    The blog reviews Internet Marketing products like eBooks, video courses, software, etc. If I like the product I write a good review, if the product stinks it gets a bad review. And one thing I absolutely REFUSE to do is offer all of these big "bonuses" to buy through my affiliate links.

    How in the world anyone can take a review seriously that tries to basically bribe you if you buy through the blogger's affiliate link is beyond me. That should be a huge warning sign right there that the review is less than accurate and loaded toward making the product look good only.

    I followed through with my idea and what happened was pretty awesome. After I got about 15 good posts on the blog I noticed that traffic was starting to trickle in from Google and that the posts were quickly outranking other posts that had been there a lot longer. I was also getting traffic from big keywords like "product name here review".

    I did absolutely NO backlink building, either. All I did was proper on page SEO and made sure the posts were well written and 1000-1500 words and loaded with good quality, 100% unique content.

    I recently wrote a post about a very popular Clickbank product that has been around for a while and there is a ton of competition already. The post shot up to the top of page 3 of Google for a top search term in about 5 days. It now rests in the middle of page 2 after about 3 weeks. This is with NO backlinks. I have some other older posts that made it to the 4th or 5th position on page 1 of Google after about a month or two.

    I have learned a VERY valuable lesson from this and that is that Google is way more focused on providing it's users with a quality experience than it is with backlinks. I know next to nothing about any of these Google updates but one thing I do know is if you put out great content that Google thinks it's users will love you will rank well without any backlinks.

    The moral of the story: Write AWESOME unique content and STOP spinning and re-writing or stealing other's articles and you will see success as a blogger.
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    • Profile picture of the author Oliver Hart
      Originally Posted by nicheblogger75 View Post

      Why don't people just do it right and write good, unique content? Take the time and do it and you will be rewarded. That's what Google wants anyway.

      About 6 months ago I started a review blog and I decided that I was going to do it right and by that I mean I would purchase every single product that I reviewed, and I would write super detailed reports of 1000-1500 words and include original images and videos in the articles.


      How in the world anyone can take a review seriously that tries to basically bribe you if you buy through the blogger's affiliate link is beyond me. That should be a huge warning sign right there that the review is less than accurate and loaded toward making the product look good only.

      ...............................

      I have learned a VERY valuable lesson from this and that is that Google is way more focused on providing it's users with a quality experience than it is with backlinks. I know next to nothing about any of these Google updates but one thing I do know is if you put out great content that Google thinks it's users will love you will rank well without any backlinks.

      The moral of the story: Write AWESOME unique content and STOP spinning and re-writing or stealing other's articles and you will see success as a blogger.
      I love you already.

      This is the way to do it.

      You talk about the Google love this method brings to the table. However, I am more trilled about the user love you will receive.

      Finally, a person to trust. Priceless.

      Please never stop thinking this way. and good luck to you on your journey.

      - Oddvar.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ricardo Furtado
    Yes have no doubt about it that you can be sued, that is why the term – plagiarism.
    Best wishes and regards.
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  • Profile picture of the author artflair
    One time I just copy-pasted an article from another site to one of my blogs and after about a week the site's representatives contacted me...
    They said I could either remove the post or they can send me an invoice for using the content from their site!
    I removed the post and never did it again
    Art
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  • Profile picture of the author Ghoster
    If they are threatening DMCA action, then they believe you have stolen outright from their site. If they haven't mentioned DMCA action, they're likely bluffing.

    If you've ripped content from their page, it isn't enough to spin it. The meaning—and more importantly the syntax— of the work remains the same. While there is a gray area and some leeway, a good copyright attorney can argue that modifying a work with a spinner constitutes copyright violation.

    Copyright laws don't just protect the original version of a work. Just because you reword existing work does not make the resultant work legal. If the plaintiff establishes that you had access to their work and can also establish that a substantial similarity exists between their version and yours, they can sue you and win. Proof of access is as simple as pointing out that their website is available to all. If they can prove substantial loss of revenue, they can try to subpena your ISP for your Internet records. (not likely to be an issue in this case)

    Your real issue is that anyone—including a judge—can read your spun article and the original and see that one is based on the other.

    With Google pressuring webmasters to create unique content or else, I wouldn't advise using spinners at all anymore. People are very defensive—and good content is expensive. Trust me, I create it.
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    • Profile picture of the author RSK3000
      I'm not a lawyer, but I also think you risk being sued.

      Even if you are sued and you win your case, the cost and inconvenience is probably not worth it. So, take the page down.

      Also, I would take on board what nicheblogger75 has said about quality content, above.
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    • Profile picture of the author LastWarrior
      palmer9999,

      Apparently your article spinner didn't spin enough as the author or place where most of the content came from found it on your site. Right there is a red flag. In that situation after getting contacted, had I done that, I'd take the info down immediately, then seek counsel and answers. Better to be safe that sewed.

      And I think you know about article spinners now. I think you'd have to be a person whose main language is not English, knowing in fact not enough to get by as a person who does, to read a spun article and not realize it's spun. I get a kick every now and then I read someone's post somewhere about how certain sentences or words were spun and made it look completely wrong!

      Originally Posted by palmer9999

      "I often spin articles and try to make them as unique as possible."
      Originally Posted by palmer999

      "I don't spin anymore just from months ago when I wrote the article"
      You contradicted yourself there.

      Good luck,

      LastWarrior
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    • Profile picture of the author CyberAlien
      Originally Posted by Ghoster View Post

      If they are threatening DMCA action, then they believe you have stolen outright from their site. If they haven't mentioned DMCA action, they're likely bluffing.
      But do keep in mind that a company isn't required to submit a DMCA notice before starting legal proceedings - a lot of them just do it because it's the easier way to get the content off your website.
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  • Profile picture of the author lastreporter
    Originally Posted by palmer9999 View Post

    Hi guys,

    Just wondering if anyone can shed some light. I often spin articles and try to make them as unique as possible. I know technically I should be writing my own but the niche is more of an informative niche. Anyway the website I "copied" from not literally copied and pasted, is asking me to take it down or they will take legal proceedings.

    I mean can they technically even do this? Sure my article looks similar but I have used my own images, own unique titles mix of my content and theirs.

    Obviously it wasn't the best thing to do but I am just wondering if they can actually take legal action or not? :confused: or am I just better deleting the content
    In my opinion and in the opinion of may copyright attorneys and owners, spinning is one of the many ways copyrighted material is infringed.

    Think about it: the author takes the time to research and write an article for this site and you come along and cash in on the author's hard work. How would you feel?

    If you don't mind defending yourself in court, you can keep the material on your site, otherwise, you might consider removing it.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Originally Posted by palmer9999 View Post

    Hi guys,

    Just wondering if anyone can shed some light. I often spin articles and try to make them as unique as possible. I know technically I should be writing my own but the niche is more of an informative niche. Anyway the website I "copied" from not literally copied and pasted, is asking me to take it down or they will take legal proceedings.

    I mean can they technically even do this? Sure my article looks similar but I have used my own images, own unique titles mix of my content and theirs.

    Obviously it wasn't the best thing to do but I am just wondering if they can actually take legal action or not? :confused: or am I just better deleting the content
    Yes, they can do that. It is a derivative of their work, whether you use different titles and images or not. You are better deleting the content and hiring people to create your own content.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Short answer? Yes, they can.

      Can they win? Their chances just got better with this public admission of guilt. :rolleyes:

      I've been away for awhile, but you could never tell from the content. People still asking if they can get away with stealing content - you said "copied and spun", but let's call a spade a spade. You were either too lazy or ignorant of your subject matter to create your own content, so you stole someone else's and gave it a new paint job. And you got caught.

      Take the stolen content down and move on. You can start by removing the stolen content you haven't gotten caught using, but I doubt that will happen...
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  • Profile picture of the author darlanne
    Filing a lawsuit is expensive and tedious over just one article. However, the original author / website can make your life difficult by reporting copyright infringement to your web host, whether they file under the DMCA or not. Some web hosts will have a knee-jerk reaction and take down your site until you remove the material. Some web hosts might even kick you off their hosting if they feel what you've done is very flagrant and that you violated your terms under the fine print agreement that you most likely didn't even read when you signed up for web hosting. And if this website found your article somehow, using Copyscape or Google, it means that you run the risk of having your site penalized by Google for having duplicate content. Saying they are going to sue you is basically a request for you to remove this content. And you should.
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    What amazes me is that someone would come here and publicly admit to taking someone else's material. :rolleyes:
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    • Profile picture of the author LastWarrior
      Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post

      What amazes me is that someone would come here and publicly admit to taking someone else's material. :rolleyes:
      Really? You serious? I wasn't. The whole concept of an article spinner is to have orig. content to be ripped from to begin with. There are many posts here talking about article spinners. Many of which are not so publicly inclined to admit such action, but that's a long time given.

      To me, if there is such a thing, the proper use of an article spinner is to have it work on purchased articles that the buyer knows there will be many duplicate copies out there.

      LastWarrior
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  • Profile picture of the author Karol Z
    You have to cite any content you got from another source. Otherwise your stealing their content which is illegal, and you will eventually get sued for it.
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    • Profile picture of the author lastreporter
      Originally Posted by Karol Z View Post

      You have to cite any content you got from another source. Otherwise your stealing their content which is illegal, and you will eventually get sued for it.
      Even if you cite the content, you can be forced to remove it or get sued if the copyright holder doesn't want to give you permission to use it.

      It always pays to write your own, or get permission. Unfortunately, a large number of IM denizens ignore this, or try to justify stealing other people's property.
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    • Profile picture of the author BradVert2013
      Originally Posted by Karol Z View Post

      You have to cite any content you got from another source. Otherwise your stealing their content which is illegal, and you will eventually get sued for it.
      A link or citation will not absolve someone from copyright infringement. Even a small quote can (and has) get one in trouble. There are a lot of factors that determine if copyright infringement has taken place.

      The only way to be 100% safe is to write ORIGINAL content.
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  • Profile picture of the author BradVert2013
    One question: If you took the time and energy into writing a great article, including all the research, would you like it if someone just copied it onto their own site without your knowledge or permission?
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    • Profile picture of the author ptcrefko
      Originally Posted by BradVert2013 View Post

      One question: If you took the time and energy into writing a great article, including all the research, would you like it if someone just copied it onto their own site without your knowledge or permission?
      As long as my link was there as an original author, it will never be a problem.
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      • Profile picture of the author BradVert2013
        Originally Posted by ptcrefko View Post

        As long as my link was there as an original author, it will never be a problem.
        A lot of writers don't share that view. Link or not, if someone used my content without permission, I'd go after them pretty aggressively.

        But here's the kicker: if someone sent me a polite message saying I like your article about X, is there any way I can use it (BEFORE publishing it on their site)? I'd probably work with them so they could use it - probably free of charge.
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        • Profile picture of the author ptcrefko
          Originally Posted by BradVert2013 View Post

          A lot of writers don't share that view. Link or not, if someone used my content without permission, I'd go after them pretty aggressively.

          But here's the kicker: if someone sent me a polite message saying I like your article about X, is there any way I can use it (BEFORE publishing it on their site)? I'd probably work with them so they could use it - probably free of charge.
          As a writer you'll probably right. But if you want traffic to your site, then it's not a problem. As long my article will link back to my site.
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  • Profile picture of the author ptcrefko
    Just get an idea of that content and write it in your own way.
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  • Profile picture of the author pewpewpewmonkeys
    I mean can they technically even do this?
    Can someone sue you for stealing their hard work?
    Yes. Of course.

    Sure my article looks similar but I have used my own images
    Wow!!! Your very own images?!

    ...own unique titles
    And your VERY OWN titles too?!?! Such uniqueness!!

    mix of my content and theirs
    So you stole someone's content, mixed in your own content (pictures and titles!) and now are wondering if they really can sue you...

    Yes. Of course.
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  • Profile picture of the author yasser
    nothing will happen, But what is the value of using copied content.
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  • Profile picture of the author mediamarket
    They can sue you. But nobody ever will. Content is a measly few dollars. No one is going to spend the money to take you to court there is no gain.
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    • Profile picture of the author BradVert2013
      Originally Posted by mediamarket View Post

      They can sue you. But nobody ever will. Content is a measly few dollars. No one is going to spend the money to take you to court there is no gain.

      Keep thinking that.

      Both people and companies will spend a lot of money protecting their intellectual property. And even if they lose the lawsuit, you still might be out legal fees.

      Even if they don't sue, someone can report you to your web hosting company and they could take your entire site down.
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    • Profile picture of the author Meharis
      Originally Posted by mediamarket View Post

      They can sue you. But nobody ever will. Content is a measly few dollars. No one is going to spend the money to take you to court there is no gain.

      Are you sure..? Wait until someone really gets upset and sues you losing everything, including your dog's leash.

      If you've a dog; of course

      Meharis.
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  • Profile picture of the author brutecky
    Its one article? Why even question it? Why even post a thread about it? Why give it any thought? You yourself just admitted that you spun someone elses article. The origional writers have asked you to remove it. So just remove it. Whats the big deal? Its not like you have some huge investment in this article. Just take it down and be done. Then you dont have to waste your time worrying about the legality of the issue.
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  • Profile picture of the author daxguy5
    It's really great to love someone else work!

    But you can't copy and paste large sections or complete articles from other bloggers posts directly into posts on your blog or website.

    You don't do it for a few reasons.

    Firstly if a blogger doesn't include a Creative Commons license it means every thing that is written on their blog or website is automatically copyright. Direct copying of large sections or their complete article is only allowed with permission from that blogger.

    Secondly most people consider it breaking blogging etiquette and a form of plagiarism.

    Yes, publishing content online is about sharing and collaborating but it's important to remember it can take considerable time for the original person to create that content. Copy and pasting their content takes you seconds.

    It might be harsh words but think of it as no different than copy and pasting a school assignment.

    The whole idea of sharing is you build on their original work and input your own ideas/thoughts.
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  • Profile picture of the author ptcrefko
    I've seen a lot of sites that are curated and and just put the resource link and still rank for Google. And worst of all they have many subscribers in their list. It's really sad for the original author to build their content and suddenly, someone will just curate your hard work.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Braybrooke
    Unless you can afford good legal representation, or know online plagiarism laws in great detail, why take the chance by leaving the content up? Wishing you well whatever you decide.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jrivera680
    They would have to prove that you spun it. Make sure you have no less than 80% uniqueness
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  • Profile picture of the author Sarah Operman
    I am not a lawyer, but I believe they can only sue you if they actually copyrighted the content. In most cases no one is going to copyright the content on an article, so I think you are safe.
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  • There are websites where you can paste your article. It analysis it to see if it is too similar to something else on the net.
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  • Profile picture of the author badonkadonkdonk
    and here you are, with your BIG FACE as an avatar, ADMITTING that you copied a site... Common sense might come in handy.
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  • Profile picture of the author chris07
    They can sue for just about anything in the USA... nonetheless, suing ain't cheap. Most people sue if they think that they can get some $$$ from you.
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  • Profile picture of the author amalgam
    I have had people like you steal my content off and on for years. There is a very easy and inexpensive solution to this problem without ever involving an attorney.

    Solve the problem of people stealing your content
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  • Profile picture of the author AlexRent
    Yes, you'll probably be sued.

    But it takes time and money to prove it's you to post the content.

    If you don't have time, why not outsource your content? It's a better option.
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  • Profile picture of the author Umehani Shah
    Originally Posted by palmer9999 View Post

    Hi guys,

    Just wondering if anyone can shed some light. I often spin articles and try to make them as unique as possible. I know technically I should be writing my own but the niche is more of an informative niche. Anyway the website I "copied" from not literally copied and pasted, is asking me to take it down or they will take legal proceedings.

    I mean can they technically even do this? Sure my article looks similar but I have used my own images, own unique titles mix of my content and theirs.

    Obviously it wasn't the best thing to do but I am just wondering if they can actually take legal action or not? :confused: or am I just better deleting the content

    Some businesses really have a lot of legal protection for themselves...I think you take off the content they are arguing about...

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  • Profile picture of the author dlucca
    "I know technically I should be writing my own"

    Then follow what you know to be right. Write your own. If you are taking from others and rearranging the words, you are stealing.
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  • Profile picture of the author lukeblower
    I think it is worth taking the original content and putting your own spin on it. It really doesnt take much time to make a pice your own. It makes it more attractive as well.
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  • Profile picture of the author suziewong
    If you're intent on using someone else's content (and I would advise you not to), the only way around it is to add a link back to their page as the source of your content.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnFinch
    Originally Posted by palmer9999 View Post

    Hi guys,

    Just wondering if anyone can shed some light. I often spin articles and try to make them as unique as possible. I know technically I should be writing my own but the niche is more of an informative niche. Anyway the website I "copied" from not literally copied and pasted, is asking me to take it down or they will take legal proceedings.

    I mean can they technically even do this? Sure my article looks similar but I have used my own images, own unique titles mix of my content and theirs.

    Obviously it wasn't the best thing to do but I am just wondering if they can actually take legal action or not? :confused: or am I just better deleting the content
    Depending on what laws you have in your country.
    The Legal system in the whole world states that you will be sued according to the laws in your own country and not the country where I`m suing you for example, not suing you for real .
    If I were you I wouldn`t care so much, but the downside is that you won`t make it in the online world since they can badmouth you or something and you`ll get banned from a lot of places.
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  • Profile picture of the author Samuel Adams
    When companies threaten legal action, it's just a fairly standard thing to say to compel action. They automatically assume you won't want to cooperate. Just take the article down, if you haven't already and be done with it.
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  • Profile picture of the author howarddavidson
    You would be better off in terms of both legality and quality of content by referencing multiple sources and writing your own content. It may take slightly longer, but your website will appear much less generic and more valuable if you are able to synthesize multiple articles into one. Simply adding your own images and headlines, perhaps a sentence here and there, as others have stated, barely constitutes spinning. Even if you were to rephrase every sentence of an article, by not adding anything new to the article aside from wording you are still effectively copying the article. In my opinion, if this is what you did to the article in question, the original creator is fully within rights to take legal action against you if you do not take the article down.
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  • Profile picture of the author tonnygarden
    Its really great to like someone else content. But you can't copy and paste large sections or complete articles from other bloggers posts directly into posts on your blog or website.
    Because Direct copying of large sections or their complete article is only allowed with permission from that blogger. So you can post copy content with permission.
    When someone gives you permission is to acknowledge the original author, the website, their permission and link to the location where the content is from. Then you can post it. Otherwise he/she can take legal action against you.
    For example, Kathleen McGeady gave me permission to republish her post on Teaching Commenting Skills on this blog.
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