Is rewriting articles unethical or illegal?

Posted on September 11, 2009


Some people believe that when you rewrite articles yourself, in your own words, you’re infringing on someone else’s copyright. The work was originally done by another person, so you writing it yourself is illegal, in breach of copyright, immoral and also bad for search engines.

However, who owns the news? When something happens in the world, who owns the rights to report it? If a major newsworthy occurrence happens and the Daily Mail is first to write about it, should every other newspaper quote them and pay them royalties in order to report it?

Of course not, and the same applies for writing news online. When something happens of note and you want to write about it you’re perfectly within your rights to seek out relevant sources for information and craft your own news piece based on the information you find. That’s what journalism is all about, there’s nothing wrong with it and it’s better for the end user because you’re relaying the news in your own words.

Of course you can’t simply take the news straight off the BBC website, change a few adjectives and pass it off as your own. This is wrong, it wouldn’t pass Copyscape and you’d be penalised in the SERPs for it.

Write news in your words, using your own angle and opinion. This is what great content is all about.

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