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Is rewriting articles plagiarism?

Discussion in 'Copywriting' started by Barbara3922, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. #1
    I'm rewriting some articles and also including and adding my thoughts about the main topic , can it be consider plagiarism and could I have problems with my adsense account there? I make sure the articles are 100% readable since I rewrite them manually.
    Barbara3922, Jul 19, 2013 IP
  2. Spoiltdiva

    Spoiltdiva Notable Member

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    #2
    If you are not the original author of these articles, you could indeed run into problems with your adsense account. What you are essentially doing, is putting your spin on someone else's content.
    Spoiltdiva, Jul 19, 2013 IP
  3. Julie Anne

    Julie Anne Active Member

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    #3
    It depends on who you ask. LOL I would say if it's something that's common knowledge you should be fine. You really would be better off making each article as unique as possible, though. I would say write the entire thing you your own words and make sure you write it from a different angle than past articles. If you're not sure, you'd benefit from a plagiarism checker to see what percentage of the article you write is unique.
    Julie Anne, Jul 19, 2013 IP
  4. Slincon

    Slincon Well-Known Member

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    #4
    Technically even if you take someone's idea or paraphrase, you must credit them or provide some attribution (e.g., a link to them or MLA/APA citation would be adequate).
    Slincon, Jul 19, 2013 IP
  5. adenquiry

    adenquiry Member

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    #5
    It would be open to interpretation:

    Plagiarism is the "wrongful appropriation" and "purloining and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions," and the representation of them as one's own original work. (from Wikipedia).

    Rewriting does fit into this definition. However, if you are writing content for a website or blog, this would not be issue.
    adenquiry, Jul 20, 2013 IP
  6. zephyrwriting

    zephyrwriting Active Member

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    #6
    Honestly rewriting content is (and always has been) a pretty gray area.

    If you're really concerned about whether or not it is plagiarism then chances are your re-written content is still pretty similar to the original work.

    Personally when clients come to me and ask me to re-write any content I explain to them that I use the 'blank paper' approach. What that means is that instead of just looking at the original and changing words or phrases, I read through the original and then close that document and write an entirely new article from scratch based on the points that it contained.

    In the past I've never had any complaints - perhaps you could try doing the same.

    Good luck!

    -Vish.
    zephyrwriting, Jul 20, 2013 IP
  7. writersforhire

    writersforhire Member

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    #7
    If you are going to copy all the content without rewording it to pass copyscape, then yes. You are in effect plagiarising. If, however, you make sure that the article passes in copsycape then you will be OK!

    Another thing is, if you use quotations from someone then you are not plagiarising. It really depends on what the content is for and who you are writing it for!
    writersforhire, Jul 20, 2013 IP
  8. YMC

    YMC Well-Known Member

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    #8
    This question seems to be one of those perennial topics that reappear here in the forums from time to time. What's sad is how many folks give advice without knowing what they are talking about.

    There's a big difference between researching an article, compiling information and writing something new and "rewriting content." Rewriting content generally involves taking a single work, moving words around and publishing it as if it was your own work.

    Rewriting content, in the legal sense, is classified as creating a derivative work. A derivative work violates the original writer's copyright. PERIOD. END OF STORY. A LINK TO THEIR SITE DOES NOT CHANGE THAT FACT!!! Passing Copyscape is meaningless in this context.

    The fact that a well-written derivative would be hard for the original author to spot allows the misconception to flourish that as long as something passes Copyscape, it is "OK". Don't confuse a word-for-word comparison done by Copyscape as a legal tool to determine the uniqueness of a work and a way to negate the original author's copyrights. All it does is check for uniqueness of word order.
    YMC, Jul 22, 2013 IP
  9. theserp

    theserp Greenhorn

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    #9
    Depends on how you rewrite it I guess. Look at top selling books, most of them have pretty much the same plots. This is commonly used by book authors. You buy an old best selling western and you make it into a sci-fi and voila!
    Or it can me even more obvious - Look at the plots of War of the Worlds and The Independence day. Aliens invade earth, our most modern weaponry doesn't do shit, in one of the movies it happens that the aliens aren't used to our planet conditions (viruses, bacteria etc) and as a result they die. In the other however there is a MAJOR plot change. Instead of using a regular virus, we use a computer virus! (the commonalities are plenty more, I don't want to make it a book-long post ) Peace :)
    theserp, Jul 22, 2013 IP
  10. AstonCopy

    AstonCopy Greenhorn

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    #10
    There's a right way to do it and a wrong way.

    The wrong way is to, say, change all of the pronouns from female to male. Or change the verb tenses from past perfect to present perfect/simple. Even if you re-write every sentence one-by-one, you'll still be plagiarizing the way the ideas are presented in the original article.

    So how do you "do it right" then?

    First ask "What's the article about?"

    Let's say the article is about the effect of rising interest rates on the housing market. The article you "stole" is one of about a million articles on the exact same subject. There's nothing new under the sun except for the way YOU tell the story. The story is the same. Interest rates go up, price of high-priced assets go down. The way you tell it needs to be different, though.

    It's perfectly OK to get your ideas from other writers. It's not OK to ape the structure of their ideas and call it your own. You have to do more than just "spin" the article.
    AstonCopy, Jul 22, 2013 IP
  11. Estragon

    Estragon Peon

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    #11
    I don't completely agree with AstonCopy. While I consider it a good exercise to rewrite passages from other writers - although this has to do with literature and learning to be a writer - I always look suspiciously at rewriting other people's articles for the sake of publishing.

    Here's a tip of advice I could give you: I am not a native speaker, but I like to read magazines known for their stellar writing and engaging topics. So, everyday I read and put down expressions that I like and try to use them whenever I feel it is right, or whenever I am stuck. Also, I find it useful to read in other languages and research topics in other languages, different from English, as well. But that's just my way to go about the whole thing.

    In a nutshell look for the things that inspire you. For instance, I enjoy words, I like reading Oxford's dictionary while I wait for the bus and I keep my notebook with me at all times so that I can dig up cool expressions whenever I feel stuck.

    Take heart!
    Estragon, Jul 22, 2013 IP
  12. therealargo

    therealargo Member

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    #12
    Rewriting each sentence by just replacing the words until you make the article unique enough to pass copyscape is totally plagiarism in my books. There is nothing wrong, though, if you read the article, get the gist or the essence of topic, and then write an article based on your own words. Copyscape is like the god of online anti-plagiarism, so at the end of the day many clients just look at that as a huge factor. This is for online writing, mind you, especially for SEO articles.

    However, JK Rowling will sue you if you use this method to rewrite her books.
    therealargo, Jul 23, 2013 IP
  13. Spoiltdiva

    Spoiltdiva Notable Member

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    #13
    Well put, nothing more needs to be said on the matter as far as I'm concerned.......end of story.......next?
    Spoiltdiva, Jul 23, 2013 IP
  14. SCookAAM

    SCookAAM Active Member

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    #14
    it really depends on the subject matter. for example, if you are re-writing a piece of fiction, then you are really delving into somebody's own creative work. if, on the other hand, you are reading an article on website design and want to write your own on website design, you should be perfectly fine so long as your article is written in your own words and from your perspective.

    if you are just re-wording someone else's article on website design, then you have a problem. We all seek inspiration from others' work. An interesting article on website design might give you some ideas. Just be careful about making each piece of work your own.
    SCookAAM, Jul 24, 2013 IP
  15. TPvinod

    TPvinod Active Member

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    #15
    Here's a short and simple answer!

    - Make sure the article is readable & 100% original in copyscape.

    Google WILL spare you, adsense WILL & You'll very well survive! Period.
    TPvinod, Jul 25, 2013 IP
  16. YMC

    YMC Well-Known Member

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    #16
    Another thief has spoken.
    YMC, Jul 25, 2013 IP
  17. TPvinod

    TPvinod Active Member

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    #17

    Don't think you're the one who knows it all. I've tried and tested and I know what's plagiarism and what's not. I have been a content writer for 4+ years and I know what people(clients) expect, what google expects and the art of making money (legit) by not stealing others' content or ideas.
    TPvinod, Jul 25, 2013 IP
  18. TextServices

    TextServices Active Member

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    #18
    All you have to do is read the article, even better if it is more than one of the same topic/niche, and write what you read in your own words. It's that simple. It's not rocket science. If you don't understand what you read, have full comprehension of the material, don't write about it until you do.

    People get into trouble when they take content line for line, paragraph by paragraph, swapping words and restructuring sentences to create new content. That technique will eventually come back to bite them in the ass one way or another.

    Merely adding in your own thoughts and some citations doesn't quite cut it. You might be able to pass a plagiarism test or two and get by with AdSense and the likes, but that is only part of the equation. Real human beings might actually read your content. A person can spot it when someone is trying to "fake it". Writing is more than changing words around and stringing sentences together.
    TextServices, Jul 25, 2013 IP
  19. TPvinod

    TPvinod Active Member

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    #19

    Well said! :)
    TPvinod, Jul 25, 2013 IP
  20. YMC

    YMC Well-Known Member

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    #20
    Clients who ask me to steal entire sites, Google giving little care for who owns what and making money from rewritten content does not change copyright law.
    YMC, Jul 26, 2013 IP