Have you ever noticed the people on social media who take stories that have already been written and published by other writers and the republish/repost them with their name on the article?
There are companies like “Scoop It" that people can join and pay a monthly fee to find stories and articles from all over the World on specific topics and republish already published stories and articles of others. This process is called content curation. There are questions that arise from this practice:
Is it legal?
Why don’t writers create their original work?
Is this ethical?
Is this misleading the public?
Does this establish the curator as an expert in their respective niche?
Is this copyright infringement?
Is this fraud?
How do clients feel about this method of publishing?
It seems that some people feel that all writers leverage the creative work of others to develop and influence their own. Many of the new and innovative social media sites embrace content curation as the rule rather than the exception. One of the largest content curation companies is “Scoop It” with millions of users and over one-hundred million pieces of content. Certainly they believe that this practice is both ethical and legal.
Professionals use this process of content curation to boost their SEO, leads, and traffic to websites and blogs. Readers do get a plethora of valuable content that is credible for the most part; they just need to look carefully to see who the real author is. This process allows content curators to save time because they are not producing original content for their readers; they are only adding content to already published works. Some think this is great for readers and curators, some don’t! Curators save time and energy publishing and generating maximum visibility and traffic. Users save time discovering different insights. The problem is that many think there is, at least, some level of dishonesty because the curator is not the original author and the process can lead people to assume that they are.
Any professional worth their salt is an expert in their respective field. That means they should be able to write articles that reflect their knowledge and experience within their industry. Why can’t they do their work? Perhaps they’re too busy to write articles; maybe they aren’t good writers, and maybe they have other interests that they want to pursue? In my opinion, an expert should write their articles. If someone intends to establish that they are an expert in their respective field, content curation does not qualify. I believe an expert could do both, write their articles and then do content curation. Real experts must write some of their articles to establish themselves as experts! Once a professional establishes themselves as an expert, then curation becomes a personal choice.
I would stay away from any “professional” who never writes anything original. I believe that is a big red flag that there is a problem! I see this a great deal and find it quite troubling. I hope that others see it too. You have to ask yourself, why is an expert always just copying others work? Don’t they ever have anything original to say? I would stay far, far away from that “expert.”
Is content curation legal and ethical? Is it legal to quote from a published work? That seems to be the loophole. At this point, it appears to be an excepted practice. I don’t know what the court system will say when tested; sooner or later I’m sure someone or some company will test the law. It’s not fair to artists and writers to have so many people just taking their work at will and they get no monetary reward for their hard work. It seems that the “starving artist” mentality is alive and well. People should be paid for their work!
We live in a World where men who pass and catch footballs and bounce basketballs get paid millions of dollars and people who save lives get paid very little. The priorities of our society are upside down and backward. Our heroes are sports figures, actors, and singers, they’re honored and held in high esteem, instead of the men and women who risk their lives going to war to protect our freedom and battle crime. Perhaps we should reward original authors and not curators on blogs and websites. It’s up to you by what you read and support! You decide, after all, everything that is written is for you.
©2016 Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D.