Copyright for Content and How it Can Affect You In Negative Ways

06 Mar 2015
| Last update: 27 Jun 2017

Before the internet used to exist, it was easier to store your ideas. You were writing them down on pieces of papers, journals, napkins, book corners and so on. You weren’t afraid of the copyright issue, because you were sure nobody would steal them. Back then, that would mean taking the physical object with them (except if you had a Xerox machine somewhere close. Or, to be more modern, a scanner). Unless, of course, they had this amazing visual memory. Nowadays, copyright for content is a sensitive issue. Especially when you’re buying content for your website.

But…why? Why should one bother to bury themselves in bureaucracy? And complicate their existence when wanting to acquire content? Well, I have a few answers for this:

copyright for content[ Photo credits: Martin Fisch’s Flickr ]

Copyright for Content: It’s your legal right

Imagine this: you write this amazing short story, but you don’t copyright it, because you cannot find a reason. Better that H.P.Lovecraft’s Call of Cthulhu or Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. And you publish it on your little still obscure blog. Somebody reads it, enjoys it and decides to publish it under their own name and make a fortune. What can you do now?

Well, you can huff and puff and hire a hitman and whatever you want, if you don’t have copyright on it or a legal proof that it’s yours, you can say bye-bye birdie. Unfortunately.

You can make money

You are able to allow others to use your work for a fee. Or you can sell it to others for a larger fee using a copyrighting license – I believe this could apply for script writing but not only.

However, letting other repost your work after they buy it is a great idea for content like: videos, infographics, stock photos. Not for blog content (written content). Read on to see why.

What’s great, is that there are countries where your work can still be protected even after a few years of your passing. Which is good for your heirs.

Good, good, now we have this slight idea why you should take care of your work, but now let’s get to the real problem: why should you ask for copyrights when buying content for your website?

To avoid copyright infringement

As I stated before, using content under the (C) protective law can result in serious penalties. For instance, if it is considered plagiarism, the person who is found guilty will have to pay a fine and even end up in jail. If it’s theft, the accusations are even harsher.

Therefore, the person who is selling you articles should sell you, among the articles, the copyright for content as well.

copyright for contentTo avoid duplicate content

Okay, so, before we go on, I have to mention that this is very important. This is actually the reason I started writing this article.

But, before we start, what is duplicate content? Well you know, it means literally having the same content on two different webpages from different domains. There are three types of duplicates:

  • True duplicates 

100% the same content on two pages

  • Near duplicates

A small amount of content can be found on both pages

  • Cross-domain duplicates

This could be either “true” or “near” duplicates.

How can this affect me?

Well, if you don’t get the copyright for content from agencies or freelancers, the person who wrote the article can publish it (or already has it published) on a different site. Apart from the already mentioned penalties, this will affect your SEO optimization.

So what exactly happens to the duplicated website page?

That webpage won’t be ranked.
Won’t be seen as a reliable source of quality.

But why?

– Because search engines don’t know which version(s) to include/exclude from their indexes.

– Search engines don’t know whether to direct the link metrics (trust, authority, anchor text, link juice, etc.) to one page, or keep it separated between multiple versions.

– Search engines don’t know which version(s) to rank for query results.

If you want to read more about duplicate content and how to manage it, you can check this article from


Now, if you are worried about your SEO and you’re not sure if you are owning the copyrights over the articles you bought, we would recommend you to keep calm. And try Squirrly. We grant you the rights you needed and the unique content, even if you have a blog about…quails, for instance. More information can be found here. Don’t be shy, check it out.

How to tell search engines you’re the real deal and fix the duplicate issue problem?

To fix this issue, rel=canonical must be used inside of the article versions that get published on other websites. And that rel=canonical must point to you, thus telling Google that you have the rights over that piece of content.

Since one of the latest Panda updates by Google, if you publish your own content to a website that has higher authority than yours, you will get penalized:

a) even if you have the copyright for it.

b) even if you published it first on your own website.

To find out if the site you’re trying to publish it on has a higher authority, look at PageRank and MozRank.

Neil Patel, co-founder of KissMetrics and CrazzyEgg, wrote a great article on how KissMetrics got penalized and also how they later on fixed all issues of duplicate content, by using rel=canonical. Read here.

copyright for contentYou’ll Own the Copyright for the Content We Create

Our Promise. We’re an agency that cares a great deal about offering you all the rights to the content that we create for your blog and for your content marketing strategy.

You can get content:

– that is 100% original

– for which there’s 100% transfer of ownership to you

– that gets you higher Time on Site

– that lowers your bounce rate

– that brings you Return Visitors.

Since you’ll own the copyright for this content, you’ll be able to rest free, knowing that we can’t publish it. You won’t have to worry about any kind of duplicate content.

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