Content Curation & Fair Use: 5 Rules to being an Ethical Content Curator

* Update: I have a much lengthier updated post that incorporates the material below: Content Curation: Copyright, Ethics, & Fair Use

Recently, Kimberley Isbell of the Nieman Journalism Lab cited a Harvard Law report and published an extensive post on news aggregation and legal considerations.  From a curation perspective, the whole article is interesting, but what was the most surprising was that her recommendations for being an ethical content aggregator, were the same as being an effective content curator.

The five recommendations are below.  You can read the full article for the legal justifications for abiding by these practices.  However, I have provided some reason on why you would want to follow these guidelines from a content marketing perspective:

1.    Reproduce only those portions of the headline or article that are necessary to make your point or to identify the story. Do not reproduce the story in its entirety.

Marketing reason: The more you link to third parties, the more likely they are to link back to you – which ultimately improves your SEO.

2.    Try not to use all, or even the majority, of articles available from a single source. Limit yourself to those articles that are directly relevant to your audience.

Marketing reason: A good content curator is selective an only links to the most relevant content on a specific topic or issue.  They do not simply reproduce every article under the sun.

3.    Prominently identify the source of the article.

Marketing reason: Demonstrating that you have curated content from a wide variety of sources, and content from some very reputable sources, makes you more credible as well.

4.    Whenever possible, link to the original source of the article.

Marketing reason: Again, linking to the original source may drive traffic away from you momentarily, but makes you more credible for identifying relevant content in other well-known publications.

5.    When possible, provide context or commentary for the material you use.

Marketing reason: The more original context you provide, the more of your marketing message you can place on third party content.  Furthermore, if your audience values your commentary, they are far more likely to return to you rather than go to the original sources in the future.

If this topic interests you, I earlier wrote about content curation ethics with two tactical pointer to follow.  For more in depth content on content curation, check out our ebook The Open and Shut Case for Content Curation subscribe to our RSS feed, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

*Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.  This blog post should not be construed as legal advice by any means.  You should consult with a legal professional rather than reading a blog post if you are looking for legal advice.