Content plagiarism – is extra exposure worth going along with it?

Constantin Basturea writes that excerpts of postings from PR blogs are republished, with new permalinks, on a website with pages featuring Google ads and asks, Do their authors know about and approve this practice?

The website in question is called PR Blog Watch, part of a website called 101 Public Relations.

Constantin’s post lists 18 bloggers, including me, whose posts are being re-published on this website. Looking at the comments to Constantin’s post, no one was asked, never mind given permission, about this site re-publishing anyone’s content. I haven’t been asked and I haven’t given permission.

Steve Rubel says, “I don’t mind if they make money off my content. As I see it, I benefit from greater visibility. If a blogger feels they’re getting ripped off then they can turn off the faucet by publishing a headline-only RSS feed or none at all.”

Well, I do mind even if it does provide greater visibility (and I have no evidence that it does). I’m not too concerned about Google ads on the site, but what I especially don’t like about what this 101 Public Relations outfit is doing is passing off my content as if it’s theirs.

But, as Constantin describes in his post, re-published posts on the PR Blog Watch site are mostly summaries and do include links back to the complete original post on the original blogger’s blog.

So where’s the problem? It’s only a summary and it does provide a link to the original.

To me, this would be much less of an issue if it weren’t for the fact that PR Blog Watch is an integral part of the 101 Public Relations site, which is peppered everywhere with copyright and ownership statements. So anyone browsing the site would very soon see that 101 Public Relations say they own copyright on everything there which would include content in PR Blog Watch. Just take a look at their terms of use.

Get a load of this, for instance:

[…] just assume that everything on the site is copyrighted unless we say it’s not. So you can’t use the stuff except how we say you can on this page or anywhere else on the site without our written permission. And like we said before, it’s not likely we’ll give you permission anyway. In fact, even if we wanted to, the lawyers are likely to veto any deal anyway. So it’s better you don’t even ask.


I have a Creative Commons license on my blog. It includes two key phrases on author attribution and non-commercial use as the graphic shows (click on the graphic to see the actual license).

As the wording in the full license says, any or all of the copyright conditions can be waived if there is agreement with the copyright owner (which is me with regard to original content on my blog that I’ve written). But they never asked so there is no agreement.

Contrast that with Web Pro News who re-publishes much of my content on their website (and does the same for content written by many of the 18 bloggers Constantin mentions). I have an agreement with Web Pro News, so I have no issue with the copyright and terms of use statements they include on their site.

What 101 Public Relations are doing doesn’t look any different to what a company called Skweezer was doing a few months ago with material from Weblogs Inc, which got Jason Calacanis worked up into a real bother (and see the comments to his post).

Fair use is one thing. Ripping off someone else’s work is another matter entirely.

Related NevOn posts:

13 thoughts on “Content plagiarism – is extra exposure worth going along with it?

  1. Somebody’s selling Google ads for your PR blog (and it’s not you)

    Excerpts of postings from PR blogs are republished, with new permalinks, on pages featuring Google ads. Do their authors know about and approve this practice?…

  2. It looks like the owner of the blog finds Steve Rubel’s argument of “extra visibility benefit” quite useful. He just posted the following note on the blog:
    “Our mission
    We provide a public service to the Public Relations and Marketing communities by aggregating the best PR-related blog postings into a single, easy to read format.
    Want to get more publicity by having your PR-related blog listed here? Want to change your listing? Click here to let us know.”

  3. I wrote to yesterday, using their contact link, to request that my posts be removed, and pointed them to my Creative Commons license, which is the same as yours, Neville. I’ve heard nothing back. They’re more than welcome to link to my blog and even my permalinks. They are not welcome to copy my posts and carry them on their server.

  4. This is Don, owner of
    First, I wish to thank Neville and those who have made comments on this post – your words have helped us to recognize several things that needed revision on this, the beta version of our site. We have made a number of changes over the last several days, and have several more in the works right now that will be implemented before we come out of beta.
    Those who saw our site before will see that a number of those changes have already been implemented, including attribution of copyright to the original writers.
    There are two additional key elements that we are in the process of changing:
    1. Not asking permission to include a blog in the aggregation
    2. Not providing attribution
    We have just sent out emails to each of the sites currently being aggregated, asking their permission to include their posts in our aggregation. Those who deny that permission will have their posts removed from the site. If anyone who should have, didn’t receive that email, please let me know through our contact us page on the site
    Our programmer has now identified and is currently in the process of adding attribution in two places to the posts (including a copyright notice stating that this post is the property of the original poster), further increasing the positive publicity that those whose posts are included in the aggregation will receive.
    We also appreciate the many others who have requested that we add their blog to our aggregator as a result of this discussion. They have recognized some of the advantages of being featured on this site, including:
    – You get more publicity for your blog
    PR Blog Watch, in spite of the fact that it is still in its beta version, is rapidly becoming one of the most popular services on the net. PR practitioners and marketers like it because it saves them time and aggregates the best posts into one location. The result is that you get more publicity and a larger audience for your blog than you would normally receive.
    – You get more traffic to your blog
    Popular posts on PR Blog Watch often result in literally hundreds of incremental visitors coming to your site, reading your posts, and becoming one of your raving fans. And, since we only run the content you include in your RSS feed, if you structure your feed to provide less than the full content of your posts, readers are naturally drawn to click our “read more” button, pulling them into your site to finish reading the post.
    – You get additional links into not only your blog but to each individual post
    This will help you improve your search engine rankings.
    – You are recognized by the public as one of the top PR bloggers
    By having your blog listed on PR Blog Watch, you join a unique group of the top PR-related bloggers. It’s tough to get that kind of publicity anywhere else.
    – This service is totally free
    Because we are advertiser supported, there is no charge for having your feed included in PR Blog Watch.
    Again, we appreciate the commentary that we have seen on this program – it has helped us tremendously in creating a service that will better benefit both the PR community and the bloggers we are aggregating.
    Finally, we invite other PR Bloggers to consider the advantages and disadvantages of adding their feed to our aggregator. If you decide to do so, we’ll review your blog, and, if appropriate, add it to our aggregation. You can find instructions to apply on the site.
    Thanks for all of your feedback!

  5. Don, thanks for your comment (and your email).
    PR Blog Watch and the re-publishing of blog posts has certainly produced a flurry of reaction in the past 48 hours or so on a number of different blogs. As you can obviously tell from my own post, I was not happy at all to learn of what seemed to me to be content plagiarism. I’ve also read BL Ochman’s post today, which has helped me conclude that your service is not an attempt to steal someone else’s content. I trust BL’s judgement!
    In principle, I’d actually be ok for you to include posts from my blog in PR Blog Watch if you do implement the changes you mentioned in your email on attribution and copyright:
    “[…] we are in the process of adding an attribution line to each of the future posts. We will be including the name of your blog at the end of each headline, plus a linked copyright statement at the end of each post. We would like to receive your approval to use the following language for that attribution line: Copyright 2005 by Your Name or Company Name, Your Site (hyperlinked).”
    I have a suggestion on the copyright statement, as I’m not sure that it would be wholly correct to simply include a standard-type copyright statement. Many bloggers’ posts will include content from other sources as part of a particular post used on a fair use basis, and for which the blogger can’t claim the copyright as it belongs to someone else.
    My suggestion would be this:
    1. Provide appropriate attribution to the original blog post and blogger from whose blog you are re-publishing, and
    2. Include a copyright statement that includes reference to a blog’s Creative Commons deed.
    Given that blogs don’t always have the same Creative Commons license (and some don’t have one at all), the wording that includes the Creative Commons reference could be something broad like this:
    Copyright 2005 by [Your Name or Company Name], [Your Site (hyperlinked)] in accordance with the blog’s Creative Commons [hyperlinked] deed (if applicable).
    As I’m not a lawyer, I don’t know if that complete phrase is legally a good one. But, I’d be happy with it. In addition, of course, you’d need to amend the terms of use page on your site to include an appropriate and clear reference to these changes.
    So, for my own blog, this phrase would read like this:
    Copyright 2005 by Neville Hobson, NevOn [] in accordance with the blog’s Creative Commons [] Deed (if applicable).
    I have one question about your service.
    You say that PR Blog Watch “is rapidly becoming one of the most popular services on the net.” What does that mean?
    And finally, one question I have to ask – you’re not including any content from any blogger’s post in the materials you sell from 101 Public Relations, right?

  6. Don, PR Blog Watch is not your only “beta” “aggregator.” You might want to make changes also to the following sites administered by you, where you’re adding Google Ads to content republished from Yahoo! News RSS search feeds:
    – PR News,, who is using Yahoo! News RSS search feeds for “public relations” and “pr”
    – Marketing and Sales News,, using Yahoo! News RSS search feeds for “marketing,” “advertising,” and “sales”
    – Technology News,, using Yahoo! News RSS search feeds for “computers,” “internet,” “microsoft,” and “technology”
    – Finance News,, using Yahoo! News RSS search feeds for “finance,” “banking,” “wall street,” “merger,” “acquisition,” etc.
    The Terms of use for Yahoo! News RSS feeds are stating that:
    “The feeds are provided free of charge for use by individuals and non-profit organizations for personal, non-commercial uses. We ask that you provide attribution to Yahoo! News in connection with your use of the feeds. […]
    We are also including the provider of each individual news story in the feed alongside each headline. Please do not alter this for display. We want our news partners to be attributed for their work.”
    Yahoo! might be much more protective with its legal rights that PR bloggers are. And I’m not sure they’ll buy the “you’ll get much more traffic” and “you’ll become a top news source by being aggregated here” type of argument.

  7. We are in the process of instituting the same set of changes on these sites too. They should be in place in the next few days.
    And no, content from the blogs is not being included in any product that we sell.

  8. I have the same problem with my blog, TheREALTYgram Blogger ( A real estate blog “aggregator” calling itself The Real Estate Blog ( copying my site, post by post, with original headlines, text, and graphics, and NO attribution per post. There is a small list of three source blogs that appears, but over 90% of the content on this new blog is mine. I have a Creative License, and so does the new “blog”; I do not have Google ads, the new “blog” is full of them.
    This new “blog” is said to be drawn from RSS feeds. I have since changed my RSS feed settings to short post. Interestingly, I have also seen on my Sitemeter logs that someone from this site has spend several hours on my blog in the last couple of days, making me wonder how much of the poaching is actually RSS feed as opposed to manual scraping.
    I am happy to see my blog on RSS aggregated sites, and all of the sites that I have seen up to now have contained appropriate attbitution and/or linkage.
    I am additionally perturbed because there is no contact or ownership information on the Real Estate Blog and I had to do a series of searches (whois, etc.) to obtain information to actually issue my dissatisfaction with the manner is which they are poaching my material.

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