You wouldn't do it on purpose – I know you wouldn't.
But a whole lot of people are unintentionally guilty of plagiarism.
You might copy a few paragraphs from an on-line article or blog and think it's OK as long as you mentioned where you got it.
You might "lift" a photo, a graphic, or a chart from a site in the mistaken belief that if it's online, it's OK.
The truth is – you can get in big trouble for doing either of those things. And when I say "big trouble" I mean trouble that can amount to thousands of dollars in fines and retribution. Some folks are VERY protective of their words and photos.
So what CAN you do?
If you want to convey the information presented in another on-line article or email, you can read it, mull it over, combine it with some other research, and write your own article. This is by far the best idea, because the end product will reflect your own voice and your own "take" on the subject.
You can also say "According to a report written by Mrs. X on site YZ…" then use a few words (in quotes) from the article, followed with "read more…" and a link to the article.
In other words, you can quote a sentence or two, as long as you give proper attribution. You CANNOT reproduce the entire article without permission, even if you give attribution.
If you really want to use an article on your site, first contact the author and ask for permission. If they say no - don't do it! If they say yes, save that correspondence.
Article sites say you can use the articles – isn't that OK?
Yes, it is OK. That's why authors post them there. BUT you have to include the author's resource box, and you may NOT alter the article in any way. You can add your own comments before or after, but you can't change the words that are attributed to the author.
You're always welcome to use my articles at EzineArticles.com – as long as you follow the guidelines.
And... you're welcome to use the information in this message as long as you say it came from Marte Cliff at www.copybymarte.com.