by Mary C Long
Online has become “copy” crazy. Someone comes up with an idea and three people immediately copy it. Twitter is a huge offender, of course – snapping up apps and ideas left and right and putting little guys out of business. But guess what? Little guys can be jerks too, particularly when it comes to copying copy they don’t own. And your interns are often the worst offenders.
It’s not that interns MEAN to do this, but in the past few months, I’ve caught more than one of them copying content to populate blog posts, without properly crediting the author. They provided links (mostly), but didn’t quote appropriately and merely changed a few words in many sentences thinking that was enough. A fictional example follows, demonstrating how this looks:
Original copy from source – “There are many ways to find free images online, but only one way that won’t result in a lawsuit.”
Intern Copy – “Although there are quite a few ways to find free images online, there’s only one way that won’t cause a lawsuit.”
Have you told them this isn’t okay? Have you asked for sources when they write posts on topics that you know they have little understanding of? And have you read those sources to see if this has happened? Probably not. Who has time to do that?
And I’m guessing you didn’t think to tell them a few other things too. Like how professionally damaging plagiarism can be, and how you’ll look like a jerk twice over if they copy "copy" on a post they’re ghostwriting for you – or worse, for your CEO. And then you’ll be forced to kill them. Slowly.
Well, fear not. I’m here to help. Pass the info that follows along to next year’s interns (and say a quick prayer no one catches all the stuff the ones you had this year screwed up!):
We’re thrilled to have you join us! You’ll learn lots from us this summer – and the first lesson is about plagiarism. Before publishing ANYTHING on our blog, we need to be sure you understand some pretty important content and image considerations. Please read through and ask any questions if something isn’t clear, as you will be held responsible for any copyright violations you create.
This post originally appeared on Business 2 Community
IMAGE CREDIT: FRNETZ