* Update: I have a much lengthier update post that incorporates the material below: Content Curation: Copyright, Ethics, & Fair Use
One of the most common questions that I get about content curation is about the ethics of content curation, and what guidelines and best practices should be followed when using content curation as a part of a larger content marketing strategy. There are three main guidelines that I keep in mind as part of curation.
1. Create, curate, but don’t pirate: Write original content: Have you had any of your blog posts scraped in entirety and replicated on another site without your permission? If so, you know what it feels like to be the victim of a pirate. At the same time, have you felt the thrill of seeing your blog post retweeted over and over by complete strangers without your permission? If so, you know what it feels to beneficiary of a curator. In both these cases, a stranger is replicating a portion of your original content, but the reaction is causes is strikingly different. Across the two, the amount of content is the key factor. Be cognizant of the amount of content and fair use laws as a part of your curation process.
2. Don’t use nofollow’s: nofollow attributes on link tags in HTML indicate to search engines that they should not influence the ranking of a link if this attribute is present. It was initially developed to not allow links in comment spam to be given the same weightage as a link in the actual blog post. With regards to curation, it is possible to apply a nofollow tag on every link to curated content. I have not seen any one do this myself, but I would consider this highly unethical by benefiting from links to an author’s content, but deny authors the right to benefit from that linkage with regards to search engine optimization.
Do you have other guidelines for ethical content curation?
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.