3 Reasons You Should Not Plagiarize Your B2B Copy

Plagiarizing B2B copy, whether for marketing your products and services or for your blog, is a dangerous idea.

Plagiarism3To be clear, plagiarism is not republishing someone else’s story with their permission and credit given to them – it is taking someone else’s work and representing it as your own original work.

Though the Internet has arguably made it easier for writers to gather information, it has also made it easier to steal someone else’s work. And yes, it is stealing.

Business Content Plagiarism on the Rise

In most cases where business copy is misappropriated, the culprit is another business, says Jonathan Bailey, editor of Plagiarism Today and a copyright and plagiarism consultant.

“The business side of plagiarism is growing more rapidly as the rise of freelancing and small Web-based business are putting more people with limited experience (or scruples) in the position to be a business plagiarist,” Bailey explained in an email interview.

So before you copy and paste, consider these 3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Plagiarize B2B Copy:

1. You’ll Hurt Your SEO

As noted in Website Copy – What Is it Saying About Your Business, recycling copy is frowned upon by search engines and penalized accordingly. Search engines filter out duplicate content based on a number of factors, including date published, effectively neutering your ability to rank with them. Makes reusing that copy pretty pointless, doesn’t it?

This is the biggest issue Partners who reuse Microsoft copy face. Microsoft obviously isn’t going to sue you for reusing their promo copy. However, if you think you’re going to rank above Microsoft using their copy, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

2. You Lose Credibility

Blogs seem to be increasingly targeted by the copy-paste bunch. I was recently researching a story and found a great blog post with tons of valuable information. I later found the same story, word for word, posted on a different, unassociated blog with a different writer’s byline.

Now, if I was a customer I would certainly not be inclined to do business with someone who had stolen content from another website. A blog is really supposed to be your stories told in your voice. So to me, reusing someone else’s content is an indication of a lack of honesty.

3. You Are Breaking the Law

You read that correctly. Though the act of copying and pasting may seem innocuous, it is indeed illegal.

The content’s creator has copyright on their work right from the moment it’s created. In other words, it doesn’t need to be registered for that copyright to exist (though it does provide a handy paper trail if the creator takes a plagiarist to court). Visit the US Copyright Office or the Canadian Intellectual Property Office for more information.

Though you may be concerned about the resources it will require to put together unique, compelling copy for your website, in the end, it pays off. Stay tuned for tips on what to do if your company falls victim to a plagiarist.

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