Are you wondering if it’s okay to use other people’s content on your website?

Maybe you found something so awesome and thought it was worth sharing. Or maybe you don’t consider yourself a writer or have time to content yourself. In either case, it may be tempting to take something already made, and use that on your website. So is it okay to use other people’s content? And if so, how can it be done?

When it it not okay to use other people’s content?

Unfortunately, just because you can find content for free on the internet, it doesn’t mean it’s okay to use it.

This goes for all kinds of original work: Text, images, video, sound clips, etc. Even if you are not making any money from the piece of work, authors have the right to decide how and where it gets used. This is why you might find that TV shows or music clips get removed from YouTube.

This is copyright law. To understand more about misconceptions around copyright law, I highly recommend 10 Big Myths about copyright explained by Brad Templeton.

When is it okay to use other people’s content?

There are some instances when re-using a piece of work is acceptable. For example, this is why it’s okay for people to have blogs where they write reviews on products, movies, video games, etc. Even so, you may want to check with the creator if it’s okay to share images of their product, as it may be protected by other laws apart from copyright.

There may come a time when you ask a photographer to take photos of your products, a designer to create graphics for your ebook, or a writer to create blog posts for you. As long as you’re clear on who owns the copyright, and what permissions you have regarding using the work, then you should be good!

Why is it better to produce your own content?

Producing your own original content helps you stand out and demonstrates your knowledge in your field of expertise. Sharing photos of actual events going on in your business on Instagram helps your audience (potential customers) feel more connected with you. The more connected people feel to you, the more they will trust you, and the more likely they will be to buy.

original content can be made on your smartphone

You don’t have to be (or hire) a professional photographer. Even if the quality isn’t perfect, the content within your smartphone videos or pictures is what matters.

So even if you don’t consider yourself a writer, you could record a short video and share it to Facebook, or share a “behind the scenes” photo. Your audience will really appreciate it!

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Image credits: Tookapic