The Official ActiveRain Guide


"Plagiarism for Dummies" - The ActiveRain Community Guidelines Re-Visited

Well, it's time once again for this weeks edition of "ActiveRain Community Guidelines Re-Visited" where we're going through each of the guidelines, one by one, and expanding on their meaning.

This weeks guideline is perhaps one of the most important, and often, the one most violated:

  • Respect copyrights. Only upload content/images that you have the right to use (what you have paid for or own), and whose copyright rules allow for commercial use.

And another one that is similar:

  • Do not plagiarize (copy and paste) content from another source, and publish it as your own. You must obtain expressed permission from the original source to republish, and give reference to such within the body of your post. Permission to re-print is NOT the same as permission to re-publish.
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Let me start off by confessing that I was guilty of violating this guideline very early on in my initial few weeks on ActiveRain. I was a newb. The only blogging I had done was on MySpace, and I don't think that really qualifies. I was totally ignorant about the whole 'copyright' 'plagiarism' thing.

Well, ignorance is bliss, but it doesn't keep you out of jail, or court, for that matter.

Let's start off first by defining what exactly constitutes copyright infringement:

"The original author of a particular article or blog post is the only person who has the right to derive any benefits from the publication and subsequent distribution of that article/post. You must purchase/pay for the right to publish or distribute someone else's intellectual property, otherwise you do not have permission to publish that material as content on your own blog."

I think a lot of well-intentioned, and seemingly innocent people are guilty, at one point or another, or copyright infringement or plagiarism. Many of us enter the ActiveRain blogging fray with little or no prior experience. We simply lurk and learn. We watch other members, and mimic what they appear to be doing. We assume that certain practices are accepted. But many times, they aren't.

It's usually not until someone makes a comment in your post, or sends you an e-mail, that you realize you've messed up. Or worse, one of the AR gods robs a few of your points, and you cry 'Foul!' Fortunately for me, I had some very kind mentors who helped point out the errors of my ways.

Just so we're all on the same page here, points are awarded for your own original content. Points are not bestowed when you simply reprint other people's intellectual property, whether you have permission to republish their content or not. But we'll deal with that issue at another time.

Perhaps one of the resident authorities on this subject is our own, Lenn Harley. If you peruse her blog archives, you'll find a wealth of very helpful and practical advice as it relates to copyright infringement. Lenn herself has pocketed a nice chunk of change from those who were foolish enough to mess with her content/images.

In one of her articles, "You cannot 're-print' on ActiveRain," Lenn states: 

"IF YOU DIDN'T WRITE THE ARTICLE, you do not own the content and cannot publish it - EVEN WITH ATTRIBUTION."

Hold the Bus, Gus! You mean, even if we give credit to the original author within the body of our article, we can't publish it?

Lenn goes on to say: 

"If you ask an author for permission to "REPRINT" and receive that permission, you may PRINT the article and distribute, perhaps in mailings or hand-outs in a relocation package.  The author's name will be on the article.  You are merely distributing the article and will benefit only by the limited number of copies distributed. The author still benefits by having their writing distributed."

Lenn Harley of Homefinders.comSo what you're saying is that obtaining the original writer's permission to re-print doesn't mean you have the right to re-publish their content to your own blog?

As Lenn affirms: 


(Now might be a good time to go back through your archive of past blog posts, and delete/amend any suspect content, whether text or images)

So what if you only want to use a small portion of someone's content, perhaps a sentence or two, as quotes within your blog post?

Well, according to Lenn: 


"The proper or legal way to get the information to the reader would be to publish an "introduction" or "snippet" (three or four lines of the original material) and then LINK to the article on the author's web site. The "Fair Use" exclusion under copyright law was intended for reviewers of original material, critics of books, movies, etc. to use "SNIPPETS"or short excerpts of original material and then publish the review of the original, not the original.  When one publishes an entire article, they have violated the copyright of the author, even if you give attribution and include the author's name in the article."

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So there ya go! A crash course on copyright infringement and plagiarism. I don't think we've quite covered all there is to say on this topic, so next week, I want to discuss further the issue of copyright infringement as it relates to the copying of images/pictures.

Until then, have a fun (and legal) rest of the week in the Rain! 

(Note:  All quoted source material is the intellectual property of Lenn Harley of, and is used by both expressed permission and 'Fair Use' exclusion)

For further reading enjoyment:  How to Kreate Kwality Kontent   Is There Really Copyright Confusion? 

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UPDATE:  A suggestion was made to make this post available to our members when they encounter a blog post on our Network that clearly constitutes 'plariarized' (copied & pasted) content from another source, and to simply insert a link to this article into the comments section of that post. Others may feel more comfortable sending an e-mail to the fellow member, with the link embedded there. Either way, please feel free to use this post in whatever ways are most appropriate in assisting other members to better understand the importance of this issue. And always remember to demonstrate grace to those who are in error. Thanks!

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Rich Jacobson is a District Director for Fathom Realty and a licensed REALTOR®; an avid Crab Hunter, Clam Digger, and Oyster Shucker, He is the Social Media Evangelist for Life on the Kitsap Peninsula & The Western Puget Sound in scenic WA State.

Comment balloon 115 commentsRich Jacobson • April 24 2008 01:59PM


So it safe to say that all the posts that come into my group that are just copy/paste quotes (no other writing but a "quotes for today") or poems are definitely not a positive thing? Are definitely plagiarized content? 
Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) over 11 years ago


These instructive posts are so helpful.  I'm sure they take time and research on your part, but they really do make a huge difference for AR members.  I've been reading and learning and I'm sure others feel the same. Thanks!  

Posted by Jan Evett, Broker Associate, 20 years+ in real estate (The Premier Property Group LLC) over 11 years ago
Sally -  well, bottom-line, the answer is yes, it's safe to say. Perhaps the best thing would be for members to use the 'snippet' approach, add their two-cents of content, and simply insert the poem or quote?
Posted by Rich Jacobson, Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker (Fathom Realty West Sound) over 11 years ago
Ditto Ditto Ditto ( nine words short of my 25 points but I just wanted to say that much and nothing more ). Darn it, by explaining I exceed the minumum 12 words  but I think I should be true to the person I am and remain silent. That is, except to say thank you for re-posting these guidlines.
Posted by William Johnson, Retired Real Estate Professional (Retired) over 11 years ago
Rich: Another great post. Thank you for sharing this information.
Posted by Roland Woodworth, Q Realty - Power In Real Estate (Q Realty) over 11 years ago
Thanks Rich for a great post with informative info that needs to be drilled into our heads constantly!
Posted by Mary Warren over 11 years ago
I'm thrilled links are good, because I'd hate to go back and edit them.  Never heard of snippets before, but I'll surely put them in my tool box.  :-) 
Posted by Natalie Langford, Winchester, VA Real Estate (Realty Negotiations) over 11 years ago
Rich, I was going to copy an image but thought better of it.  The image might have been construed as work related, and then I might have gotten a copywrite bill like BB.  Then I thought about coping a ..... This post was to the point. I even read it twice it was so good.  I guess I really need to go back into Lenn's archives to read a lot of her old posts.  She is a wealth of knowledge. AJ
Posted by Alan 'AJ' Nisen California Contra Costa Mortgage Officer (A Large Bank in America) over 11 years ago
Thanks, Rich, I am going to go back and re-blog to make sure I snippeted correctly.
Posted by Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR, Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS (Desert Gold Realty - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale) over 11 years ago

I try to go out of my way to not step over that line.  I thought I was pretty knowledgeable on the subject, but have learned so much more from Lenn's posts.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago

A discussion of copyright should also include the concept of public domain. Many government works are automatically in the public domain, as is a huge collection of photographs from the Library of Congress. More info can be found in Wikipedia's entry on public domain.

Posted by John Novak, Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace) over 11 years ago

great and informative post.  I still don't see why people still find that plagarism is okay.

Posted by Ryan Vivo, NRBA Realtor Solano County, Gateway Realty 707-384-5894 (Gateway Realty) over 11 years ago
John - yes, an excellent point. I'll make use of that in the next installment. Thanks!
Posted by Rich Jacobson, Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker (Fathom Realty West Sound) over 11 years ago
I think a lot is innocent too, after you're here awhile you learn. Are we blessed have Lenn who has taught us so much? Has AR ever thought of having a tutorial before someone can post their first post? 
Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) over 11 years ago
Excellent job....Great information. Now I can go back to my most recent post, add the line that I do have permission to reprint/republish and / or link my snippet --- then --- receive my points back ? !!! ;)
Posted by Pamela STETSON, I would love to help you buy or sell your home! (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Abbott Realtors) over 11 years ago
First of all can you possibly monitor every members post...there must be tons in violation who is watching them and what content is not allowed? For example...are we still allowing jokes to be posted? I can't believe it is possible to monitor 80k plus members for plagiarized or copy-written material that is not theirs.
Posted by Neal Bloom, Realtor CRS-Weston FL Real Estate (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago
I was SO hoping you had permission from Lenn!!!  She could hurt you BAD over that!!! :)
Posted by Sarah Cooper (Real Estate Shows) over 11 years ago
Thanks Rich for sharing that. You are right about us "newbies" not knowing but because of wonderful folks like share great info so that we learn the right way to do this blogging me I'm still learning for sure.
Posted by Patty Ledford, Your N. Ga. Mountain Agent -The Ledford Team-Blue (RE/MAX Town and Country) over 11 years ago

One thing I've seen occassionally on AR is featured posts where the photo still has the copyright symbol splashed across it.  Obviously the photo was not paid for and yet the poster has been rewarded with a feature.  Despite how great the content of the post might be seeing the copyright symbol on the picture makes me pass on by.

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 11 years ago
Rich people need constant reminders on this subject. I know there is a lot of confusion. Lenn always goes a great job of explaining the ins and outs on how to do things properly.
Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 11 years ago
Rich, your in-depth approach to explaining the Guidelines is excellent. Thanks for sharing.
Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 11 years ago
Rich- I didn't know in the beginning about pictures...Not until someone contacted me.    
Posted by Jeremy Blanton, Myrtle Beach REALTOR®- (Myrtle Beach Homes Blog) over 11 years ago

I kinda agree with Missy that before newbs can post, you might have them do some required reading...

I belong to another forum and I had to check off and read their rules before I could log a post in the forum.  Maybe you could set something like that up.  Have people check that they've read certain posts before being allowed to post a blog.

I know as a newbie there were some fantastic blogs I wish I had read before I dived into blogging.

Posted by Melina Tomson, Principal Broker/Owner, M.S. (Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon) over 11 years ago

Thanks Rich. Really informative.  I didn't realize there could be a problem even if you credit the original source.

Good luck



Posted by Kevin O'Shea, White Plains, NY Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 11 years ago
I am just learning about what I can and cannot use and I kind of wonder if I should go back over my blogs and edit!
Posted by Emily Lowe, Nashville TN Realtor (The Lipman Group | Sotheby's International Realty) over 11 years ago

Rich, you posted this with the most perfect timing...a question was brought up regarding plagiarizing website content recently.  {someone caught another stager in their market who blatantly copy and pasted the material from her site to their own...}  It's safe to assume that these guidelines apply as well, correct? 

Posted by Abby Roselli, Staten Island Home Stager (ALR Home Staging and Showcasing, LLC) over 11 years ago
Rich,  Thank you for the post.  I am very aware of my writing and being a history major I aware of giving credit.  I love the way you referred Lenn's imformation as an interview.  Very good example of how to give credit.  I think my fault is picture.  I try to find free clipart and pictures off the net or use my own.  But it is hard to find free pictures for every situation.  How can I use pictures to illustrate my point and give credit to the owner? 
Posted by Jimmy McCall, The Ex-Mortgage Consultant ( over 11 years ago

Rich.....thank you for bring us up to speed with the reminder.  It can be so easy to cut and paste something of value.  Now back to originality!

Posted by Pam Winterbauer, "Providing Blue Ribbon Service" (Pam Winterbauer Real Estate) over 11 years ago


Thank God no one owns 'words'...we'd all be up the creek except Andrew Lenza!!! :^) Thanks,   Fran

Posted by Fran Gaspari, "The Title Man" - Title Insurance - PA & NJ (Patriot Land Transfer, Inc.) over 11 years ago

I am laughing at how I read this friend Bill G. wrote "Rich people need constant reminders on this subject." 

I read it and wondered what it mattered that they were rich.  Rich people, poor people... there's no excuse for plagiarism!!!   

Oh the Rich is Mr. Jacobson.... 

 ;- )


Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) over 11 years ago
Thanks Rich!  Just to be clear, you are saying that it's ok to post original thoughts on a somebody else's content, and link to that content, as long as you don't "paste" the content itself?
Posted by Kevin Hancock, The Hancock Mortgage Team (Evergreen Home Loans) over 11 years ago
UPDATE:  A suggestion was made to make this post available to our members when they encounter a blog post on our Network that clearly constitutes 'plariarized' (copied & pasted) content from another source, and to simply insert a link to this article into the comments section of that post. Others may feel more comfortable sending an e-mail to the fellow member, with the link embedded there. Either way, please feel free to use this post in whatever ways are most appropriate in assisting other members to better understand the importance of this issue. And always remember to demonstrate grace to those who are in error. Thanks!
Posted by Rich Jacobson, Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker (Fathom Realty West Sound) over 11 years ago
Kevin -  The Fair Use Exclusion allows you to use small excerpts or 'snippets' of the original source material. Most writers use 'quotes' and then a link to the original article. You can see how I did that here in this article. I quoted Lenn and embedded a link to her post. Let me know if you have any other questions.
Posted by Rich Jacobson, Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker (Fathom Realty West Sound) over 11 years ago
I feel sorry for bloggers who don't have all the help and tips we get from AR.  When you're new at this it is so easy to make mistakes.  Thanks for the reminder. 
Posted by Chrysti Tovani, Sacramento Real Estate Agent (eXp Realty Realty of California Inc) over 11 years ago
Guilty!!  I found one - I went back and credited and linked, although I did not use any of his stuff, but he gave me the idea.  Thanks, Rich
Posted by Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR, Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS (Desert Gold Realty - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale) over 11 years ago
Thanks Rich for clarifying & helping us along the blogging-journey.
Posted by Angela Clark, CRS, Realtor, Broker (Tony Clark REALTORS) over 11 years ago

I want to thank you Rich.  As I'm a newby to this pretty much, I appreciate any info on doing it the correct way.

Posted by Colleen Gray, Digital Marketing Manager (Boomerang Social) over 11 years ago
Rich, this is good information.  It would be very helpful it there were a tutorial, or an easier place to find all this information.  I had no idea we were allowed to use "snippets" or even what they were.
Posted by Cindy Glatkowski, Rental Manager, ResortQuest Outer Banks (ResortQuest Outer Banks) over 11 years ago
Cindy - At the bottom of every ActiveRain page, there is a link "Help/FAQ" that takes you to a wealth of excellent tutorials on just about everything possible. We're still compiling more information, but its a good start!
Posted by Rich Jacobson, Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker (Fathom Realty West Sound) over 11 years ago

Gracious Rich...

Wonderful post. I've been waiting on this one :)

After all the research I recently did on this issue what I learned was the following:

  • Nothing is really free (i.e. the so called free image sites)
  • If we have obtained permission to 'publish' another's content/images we need that permission in writing.
  • I have to pay to play regardless of how cute I am :)
  • Lenn is always right :)
For those of you who don't think you can be prosecuted for copyright violations...You're wrong about that :)


Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago


Although Public Domain images are Public do we really have the right to re-post those images?

From everything I've read permission to publish must be granted by someone. Yes?

Please correct me if I'm wrong. If you don't...Well...I can't learn :)

P.S. In the event John never returns...Could someone please clarify this for me. Thanks :) 


Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago
Thanks for the info Rich. Im still kind of new here. Thanks again!
Posted by Jeffrey deJESUS, Realtor® (eXp Realty of California Inc.) over 11 years ago

This is important and I have a question about videos.  When I did not produce a video I embed...does youtube they give you rights to share? Are we suppose to check the box that we didn't produce the video?

That is an area I don't understand.  If you think of a classic R&R song, I obviously didn't write Hey Jude but want to include the Beatles classic.  I think its still okay.  Correct me if I'm wrong here.  Thanks in advance.  (Any YouTube not produced by yourself would fall into this question.)

Posted by asdf zcxv, Ann Arbor Area Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty) over 11 years ago
Does this email we cannot use those google images?  oh my!
Posted by Pam over 11 years ago

Precious TLW...

I will attempt to deal with Public Domain images next week.... 

Posted by Rich Jacobson, Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker (Fathom Realty West Sound) over 11 years ago
Karen -  that's an excellent question. I was planning on tackling video/song copyrights next week as well. But that's a HUGE issue with the advent of all the videos being used by real estate professionals, and the ones being embedded thru YouTube. Check back next week, and I'll have the answer for you!...
Posted by Rich Jacobson, Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker (Fathom Realty West Sound) over 11 years ago
I don't want to copy any of the earlier replies, so I will just say wonderful!
Posted by Associate Broker Falmouth MA Cape Cod Heath Coker, Heath Coker Robert Paul Properties Falmouth MA ( & over 11 years ago
Thank you Gracious :)
Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago

I don't want to copy any of the earlier replies, so I will say you should never plagerize, but you can use snippets and link to Heather Coker comments section so I don't get into trouble.  I'm learning.   

Posted by Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239, Michigan homes for sale ~ (Real Estate One) over 11 years ago
Thanks for the roundup. It is easy to forget the rules.
Posted by Alan Robinson (PTE REAL ESTATE GROUP) over 11 years ago

Thanks for the updates on the "Do's and Don't" on blogging.

Sean Allen

Posted by Sean Allen, International Financing Solutions (International Financing Solutions ) over 11 years ago

Rich - You're telling us to insert a link to this post in the comments on a plagiarized post.  But, aren't we not supposed to confront other members?  Shouldn't we just flag the post?

There is a ton of plagiarism here on AR.  Some days there is so much that I just stop reading out of frustration.  Is anything being done?

Posted by Don Fabrizio-Garcia, Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate (Fab Real Estate) over 11 years ago


I'm glad you wrote about this at length. And got Lenn Harley involved, too. This is an issue that is abused quite a bit and hopefully those crossing the line will learn from what is here and grow up.

Posted by Esko Kiuru over 11 years ago

I hate to think of the number of illegal hot-linked pics that are on here.  I see some content swiping, but I know that there are a lot of people using Google Images a little too much. 

Hint: Creative Commons 

Posted by Lane Bailey, Realtor & Car Guy (Century 21 Results Realty) over 11 years ago
Always always always a great reminder Rich!  I just had someone plagiarize me on a message board.  They weren't trying to sell real estate or anything but it pissed me off and I went after them!
Posted by Renée Donohue~Home Photography, Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer (Savvy Home Pix) over 11 years ago
Darn, you have to pay to play no matter how cute.....gee...What is this world coming too....haha. This is definitely much needed. It's always good to have a refresher course.
Posted by Christy Powers, Pooler, Savannah Real Estate Agent (Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners) over 11 years ago
Rich - Great reminders; this is the type of mistake many new members make.   Lenn certainly is a great resource on this subject.
Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) over 11 years ago
Thanks for the guidelines, again, Rich. Lenn, as always, provides a very good explanation.
Posted by Wayne B. Pruner, Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI (Oregon First) over 11 years ago
Thanks for the clarification.  It's always challenging to see your own work on someone else's page.  I guess it's flattery, but it's still wrong.
Posted by Tony Fantis, Realtor,Principal Broker - Salt Lake City (Fantis Group Real Estate) over 11 years ago
Don -  Yes, of course you can 'flag' the post. But it may also help to insert a link to this post, just as another measure to help curb the problem, and help educate those who don't know any better. Yes, much is being done. We work on this issue constantly. But good, clear guidelines made obvious upfront will be a huge help...
Posted by Rich Jacobson, Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker (Fathom Realty West Sound) over 11 years ago
Question regarding what you can use or not use on your blog.   If you are passing along an information website such as  the Visitor Center of your area, which gives out lodging, etc    Would this be allowed on an Active Rain Blog as a Hyper-Link.   Example:  Smith Mountain Lake Visitor Center   This is my chambers site and I am a member and we use this all the time to get the word out about our area.  
Posted by Glenda and Steven McDaniel (Long and Foster Smith Mountain Lake Office) over 11 years ago
Thanks for the guidelines. I have written a fair amount of my own content not only on my blog, but on my website. I also take all of my own pictures.
Posted by Sharon Paxson, Newport Beach Real Estate (Compass) over 11 years ago
Great way to clarify  - I like Lenn's snippet and link method best:)
Posted by Courtney Cooper, 206-850-8841 (Ben Kinney Brokerages Leadership at our Keller Williams North Seattle Office) over 11 years ago
Great post! I don't think all the cutting and pasting is innocent. Some people are just not talented writers and want to get ahead with what is essentially stealing.
Posted by Mary Walker (The Real Estate Group) over 11 years ago
For those who do not have enough creative juices to write the words themselves....Just Don't Write!
Posted by Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty, Florida Space Coast Homes (Waves Realty) over 11 years ago

Aloha Rich,

Thanks for the informative blog. It helps to have this information pointed out, regularly.


Posted by Kimo Stowell, REALTOR Associate® RS-76763 - Honolulu Hawai'i (HI Pro Realty LLC RB-21531 ) over 11 years ago

Gracious Rich...

I think it would be an excellent idea to bump this post to the top of the featured list. 

What say you? :)


Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago
Rich - I see it in here all the time especially from agents in my own market areas here in NJ. And you know who I mean I suspect. But one thing I have not done and never will do is plagiarize anothers work. Or as you say "plariarized" lol Good stuff Rich keep up the great work. Bob H Oh and the spell checker aint workin. FYI
Posted by Robert and Lisa Hammerstein -201-315-8618, Bergen County NJ Real Estate (Keller Williams Valley Realty) over 11 years ago

You are right, some people may not know it isn't ok, even if they give credit, but on the other hand, others use it to their benefit. Good post-no excuse for anyone to steal others' writing.

Posted by Carrie about 11 years ago

Rich: So what do WE DO when we come across an AR-er who has cut and pasted an entire POST??? 

Posted by Kat DeLong, Realtor DRE#01235311, Lake Arrowhead Real Estate ( (LakeView Realty Enterprises, Inc) about 11 years ago


I can help with that. You can do one of two things...

1. Post a link to this article on the offending Blog post.

2. Flag the post.

Personally, I would just post a link and nothing but the link to this post. To say anything could be misunderstood as you disciplining another Member and that violates the AR Guidelines. We don't do that around here :)


Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) about 11 years ago

Rich, the only pics that I use now are the ones I take.. Darn, I have not been taking any lately.  AJ

Posted by Alan 'AJ' Nisen California Contra Costa Mortgage Officer (A Large Bank in America) about 11 years ago

I definitely think that when signing up on Active Rain, there must be a checkbox about reading what PLAGIARISM is for new members during sign-up. i somewhat understand the demonstration of grace, however, I'm not really sure if anyone not have a clue on plagiarism especially what had happened to me this week. The thief copied and pasted my entire content as well as photos. Surely, no one in the right mind would think that's acceptable - especially copying and pasting someone else's content here on Active Rain?

No matter what, Rich.... Thanks for the help. It is greatly appreciated.

Posted by Loreena and Michael Yeo, Real Estate Agents (3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co.) about 11 years ago

Thank you for very helpful information regarding re-print and re-publish.  Definitely  needed in the real estate community, both in blogging and otherwise!

Posted by Susan McLaughlin, Monmouth County Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty - East Monmouth) about 11 years ago

It is simply astounding how many people republish without permission. Just this week I saw a blog from a San Jose Realtor (not on Active Rain) who republished an article from the Washington Post!  She apparently thought that was OK because she included a byline and all - while still copying an entire article! Most news agencies would not tolerate that.

Posted by Mary Pope-Handy, CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley (Sereno Group Real Estate) about 11 years ago

Gosh.  I just want to know how Lenn Harley got to be so smart.  Wish I could be like her when I grow up.  Problem is I am already grown up!  No hope!  Very informative post Rich.  Took me back to the days when I was a high school senior writing my first term paper.  The whole class received 'F's and had to rewrite all due to plagarism!  Good ole' Mrs. Leuchter......

Posted by Pat Haddad, ABR, CRS, ePRO, GRI, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield IN Real Estate Expert (Keller Williams Indianapolis Metro NE) about 11 years ago

Thank you for the post.  I think I will review all my old posts to make sure that I have ever unintentionally committed this Crime.

Posted by Darcy Rockwell, Mortgage Consultant (eMortgage LLC) about 11 years ago

EEEK!  Scary stuff!  Thanks so much.  I've got to check my posts for the images that shouldn't be there! 

It's fine to read all 97 pages of a new law and summarize it into 1 short blog, right?  Most people won't sit for 7 hours reading something.  I love to summarize some impossible document for people so they can get the points quick and easy to save them time and effort.

Posted by Maya Thomas, Broker, Please see my client recommendations. about 11 years ago

Thanks for bringing this topic up again.  I'm a big advocate of removing the copy-and-pasted material that's been reprinted without permission so much all across AR (mostly as an effort of lazy people to get points).  Here's an article I wrote if you want to red more on the subject.  I will definately be flagging more posts and leave this link as a helpful reminder to those that need it.  I hope AR does more to regulate the material once it has been flagged.  You should require written proof (an email) that they have permission to repost.  I have a folder in my email where I save all my permission to repost emails for my website in case anyone ever wants to question the matter. And always, ALWAYS give proper credit in the form of a link.

Posted by Daniel Bates, McClellanville and Awendaw, SC (MCVL Realty) about 11 years ago

Awesome blog!  Always very tempting to use others' ideas, and not such a great idea to do so..... Thanks for reminding!!

Posted by Dagny Eason (William Raveis RE) (Wilton, CT) about 11 years ago

Rich,  Where does the new RE-BLOG AR feature fall in all of this?  Mike

Posted by Mike Miller (EXIT REALTY SERVICES) about 11 years ago

So I want to write an article on the history of my area. I have read many articles in the newspaper and various publications through the years and now this knowledge resides in my head but originally it came from reading other sources, such as the historical article published in the newspaper weekly.

Rich, what do I do? After reading this, I am cautious to write the article. I won't be quoting any sentences, it will be my words, just the facts come from accumulated reading over the past 20 years :)

Posted by Sharon Alters, Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL (Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308) about 11 years ago

The first time I saw the 'reblog' article, copyright infringement immediately comes to mind.  Does reblog allow the member to copy but with permission?  Just a little confused here.

Posted by Yolanda Hoversten, Broker - O Fallon, IL Real Estate (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties) about 11 years ago

Thanks for the reminders...

Posted by Holly Weatherwax, A Great Real Estate Experience ( Associate Broker, Momentum Realty) about 11 years ago

still need to do more reading on this one - i think i am ok but need to make sure. I usually link to the original content whenever I use something from someone else.

Posted by Nicky Dou, The BEST REAL ESTATE AGENT in Northwest Arkansas (Keller Williams Market Pro Realty) almost 11 years ago

Here is a good overview from Standford Law on Fair Use.

Posted by Bob Wilson (Access San Diego) almost 11 years ago

Hi Rich

Great post, the information is right on target and will help people to understand copy rights  laws.

Good luck and success

Lou Ludwig

Posted by Lou Ludwig, Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC (Ludwig & Associates) almost 11 years ago


As a new member to active-rain and the blogging world I wanted to thank you for the information. It is very helpful.

Posted by Ken Medeiros (K&M Medeiros Real Estate) almost 11 years ago

This is one subject I just don't GET! Why is it so difficult to understand that IF YOU DIDN'T WRITE IT...IT AIN'T YOURS? Hmmm...pretty simple to me. GBU!

Posted by Elizabeth Nieves, Bilingual Raleigh - Durham North Carolina Real Estate Team (The Elizabeth Nieves Realty Group) almost 11 years ago


Your article is so timely, and I have a burning question for you before I possibly do something I"ll regret.  Rich, can you please let me know if my plans to do the following would be considered an infringement of copyright law?

Just yesterday my favorite mortgage broker (also on AR) and I agreed that it would be a win-win for me to rePUBLISH his A/R posts on my non-Active Rain Blog (I have an AR blog and an outside blog).  So let me be clear about this, we were planning to take his A/R content, publish it on my NON-A/R blog (NOT on my AR blog!) with full credit due him and links back to his AR blog on every post.  I have his express written permission and blessings.  Our thought that would be a win-win.  His A/R blog would get more hits and my outside blog would get the benefit of his knowledge. 

Rich, can you please let me know if this is considered a violation?  I certainly don't want to do anything we shouldn't be doing!

Posted by Anonymous almost 11 years ago

Thanks for the information - Your post is very consice & helpful!

Best, Dan

Posted by Dan Magstadt (Paramount Residential Mortgage Group, Inc) almost 11 years ago

Dear Anonymous:   Jason Calacanis dealt with that issue previously....

Posted by Rich Jacobson, Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker (Fathom Realty West Sound) almost 11 years ago

Yolanda:  Our members elect/choose to allow their articles to be re-blogged. So they are granting other members expressed permission to repost them. Plagiarism is stealing (taking without permission) the intellectual property of another.

Posted by Rich Jacobson, Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker (Fathom Realty West Sound) almost 11 years ago

Excellent post Rich, thank you for the reminder of what not to do!

Posted by Mina V. Garrey, Commercial Capital Properties, Los Angeles, CA (Commercial Capital Properties - License #01768282) almost 11 years ago

Thanks for the info.  I asked this of Lenn also - is it plagiarism to reprint an email that has been around and around?  Many times I receive an email with pictures, quotes, little quizes etc. and after they make the rounds in my office I see it on a blog on AR.  Is this ok or not?  And how about cartoons - political - just funny - from the funny papers.  I have a bunch of REALTOR comic strips from Hi & Lois that I was going to use and then reference with an original blog article - is it legal to copy in old comic strips?

Thanks - Kathy

Posted by Kathy Carson, Realtor, Lynchburg, VA, VA Homes - Lynchunberg,Bedford, Campbell (John Stewart Walker, Inc) almost 11 years ago

Is re-blogging plagiarism? If so why do we have the re-blog feature?


Posted by Elizabeth Birmingham almost 11 years ago

This is such an excellent and informative reminder to every blogger.  We have had problems in our local MLS when agents use the same photos and verbage from another agent's expired listing.  It's frustrating for those of us who take our own photos to see them showing up on someone else's listings!

Posted by Sandy Thompson almost 11 years ago

There is a guy in my market area that cuts and pastes articles everday from the local paper and posts them as his own material. What can we do to stop this misuse?

Posted by Kelly Willey, Short Sale Agent - Harford County Maryland Real Estate (Long and Foster BEL AIR MARYLAND) almost 11 years ago

Kelly:   Shoot me an email with the member's name, and I will look into it. Thanks!  rich at

Posted by Rich Jacobson, Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker (Fathom Realty West Sound) almost 11 years ago

I just left you a message Rich.  I just got points taken away and I STILL don't understand what I did.  I wrote all the content myself. I paid for the pictures and I did my own video.  The only thing I do understand that I did wrong was that I should not have posted it to the Realtor group.  How can I get help?  As a newbie I am pretty overwhelmed trying to learn everything and thought I did everything correct.  I wish they would give us a personal note or something telling us what we did wrong in plain english.  They connect me to three links and I could only figure out how it related to me in one of them.

Isn't there a better way of doing this.  It seems someone could look at a blog and know they are new to this whole AR thing and give them a little help and tell them what they did wrong BEFORE they take away points.  If someone would have told me what Idid wrong, I would have fixed it immediately--I still will if I can figure out what I did wrong.


Posted by Tami Vroma, Realtor, Grand Rapids MI Real Estate (West Michigan Real Estate Specialist-Five Star Real Estate) almost 11 years ago

Tami:   It was really great talking to you by phone today. Hopefully we got everything worked out. Welcome to the Rain! I know you will come to enjoy and value your involvement here!

Posted by Rich Jacobson, Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker (Fathom Realty West Sound) almost 11 years ago

Hi Rich,

As you may know, Bob and I are adding several agents to our office, and I am bumbling through the project of creating a new, current, relevant Policy and Procedure Manual.

May I please Copy and Paste some of your post here on copyright to use in the "Social Media" section of my Manual??    :-)


Posted by Cheryl Johnson almost 11 years ago

Cheryl:   Absolutely! I would be honored to know it was being used for such a purpose!

Posted by Rich Jacobson, Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker (Fathom Realty West Sound) almost 11 years ago


You may be surprised to get today a comment to a post written in 2008. I came from Tim Maitski comment on my blog about plagiarism. I never read your blog, I just followed the common sense, common decency rule.

I find the blog post very important to confused souls, and it has not lost a bit of importance, any bit of relevance today.

Thank you

Posted by Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL, Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices (Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408) almost 10 years ago

Jon:   A nice stroll down memory lane. Thanks for draggin' this one back up!...

Posted by Rich Jacobson, Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker (Fathom Realty West Sound) almost 10 years ago


I have seen some forms like Seller's disclosures, prepared by attorney, with a line to initial at each paragraph. Making sure than not only you read (or looked through) the  whole document, but forcing to pay attention to each line.

In the latest discussion, I was thinking that something like that, meaning your blog, would spare some troubles later on. As many others, I do not start with reading the rules or quidelines, I usually get to them when I am trying to figure whether I am getting into a hot water. Sometimes general decency rules help, but not always. I thought that  I understand the way it works, but your blog has more than what I could derive from logic of everyday life only.


Posted by Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL, Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices (Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408) almost 10 years ago

Jon:  If memory serves me, I think when people first sign-up to join AR, they are directed to the Community Guidelines, and are required to check a box that states that they've read them and agree to abide by them. The purpose of my series was to simply re-iterate what the Community Guidelines contained, and to expand upon their meaning....

Posted by Rich Jacobson, Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker (Fathom Realty West Sound) almost 10 years ago


You might be right. It might be there. I might have forgotten, or when I signed up, maybe it was not yet there. Either way, very often I have to check that I have read and agree to the TOS, and i do it and I do not read it.

Just curious how many guys and gals actually read it.

Well, you gave me the idea for my next blog. Half of the points are yours, you are free to take them.

Posted by Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL, Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices (Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408) almost 10 years ago

One of the agents in my market copies and pastes online news items on an almost daily basis. At least he (usually) includes a link to the article, which isn't necessary to follow, since he has posted the entire article on his blog!

When I think how hard I work to come up with original content, or at least paraphrase and consolidate market news for my blog, it really pisses me off.


Posted by Robin Rogers, CRS, TRC, MRP - Real Estate Investment Adviser (Robin Rogers, Silverbridge Realty, San Antonio, Texas) over 9 years ago

Thanks for all the info.  I am brand new to AR and keep hesitating to jump in as I am unsure of how to begin and do not understand all the rules of yet.  I am finding a lot of information and guidance from so many members, so thank you for your post.

Posted by Bonnie Augostino over 9 years ago

plagiarism is a growing issue, hence the product growth such as Copyscape

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) over 8 years ago

I am new to Active Rain and still unsure of all the rules. I appreciate all the information in your blog and also I have read the comments which are also very helpful. I will reread all this a few more times. :-)! Thank you so very much, Rich.

Posted by Jane Chaulklin-Schott, TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836 (TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766) about 6 years ago

hello , 


I dont know  if this the right place for this comment . I had just done a blog fo rmy activerain account and my personal blog and another activerain member used the blog and changed  some of the words  and the title and posted as their own blog . I happen to know the person , what is the right way to deal with this . 


 thank for your help 

Posted by Ridhi Raheja, FHA, 203k, VA, Jumbo, PreApproval, Jumbo Home Loan (Movement Mortgage (Illinois)) over 5 years ago

Thank you for this information. I am also new to Active Rain and I want to make sure that when I blog that I am doing it right. I have read over several of the blogs and I have really enjoyed them and can relate. If a blog has a facebook feed on it, can I send it to my facebook page or do I need permission first?

Posted by Jeannie Whitworth over 5 years ago

Happy New Year! 2016 is my year to start blogging regularly on AR. If I post my own original content on my AR blog first and then later on my own WordPress website, is that okay or is that against the AR rules?

Posted by Julie Larson Realtor® Sarasota FL 941-882-0322, When you're thinking of (PalmerHouse Properties Florida - 941-882-0322 | Serving Sarasota, Manatee & Charlotte Counties) over 3 years ago