Blog Post Writing: How Much Can I Copy?


I am often asked how much can I copy from a legal article, opinion or journal note. Here are my tips:

  1. Don’t copy in full. First, it’s against Copyright law, so you may get a cease & desist letter. Publishers are now actively checking for copyright infringement. Second, it does not help your SEO (it’s considered duplicate content). Finally, its just not ethical if you copy in full.
  2. Summarize. Instead of copying, summarize. Most of the time legal cases, government opinions, or educational papers that you are reading are long, very long. They probably have great ideas and opinions, otherwise you would not want to report on them. They probably are discussing something super important that your clients need to know. However, you need to summarize that information for your clients. Your clients do not care about the nuances, just how this new ruling or idea effects them. So summarize and ….
  3. Comment. Answer the big question, “why is this important?””  Why does this matter to your client. How will it affect them?”  This is the most critical aspect to your post.

So what does a summary and commentary look like?”  If given a really long article to review, then summarize and comment.

  1. 1 or 2 summary paragraphs about the background and the article itself.
  2. 1 or 2 commentary paragraphs of why this is important to your clients
  3. 1 or 2 pull quotes from the actual article
  4. Link to full article. It’s always good to cite.

This way your post is anywhere from 3 to 6 paragraphs with a link to the actual article. The more important the post, the longer your summary and commentary will be. If you are only writing 3 to 6 paragraphs you can probably bang that out in less than a half hour. You can write the article quickly while keeping your clients informed.

Do you have any other tips for writing posts?”  Comment below.

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