Using aggregated and curated content can help you provide valuable information to your followers on a regular basis without having to continually come up with top quality content on your own. However, using these types of content can be problematic if the original content creator is not happy with the way you used his or her content. Following are some ways to use aggregated and curated content ethically and legally to benefit from all that such content has to offer without facing legal problems.

Familiarize Yourself with Fair Use Guidelines

You can use images and text that do not belong to you if you follow fair use guidelines. These include:

  • Using a select portion of text to explain or add onto something you are writing about
  • Using text by various authors from various sources so your article or website content is not simply a rewritten version of someone else's content
  • Ensuring that your use of someone else's work will not detract from that person's income or website traffic
  • Creating a parody of the work in question, as is commonly done in memes
  • Crediting the original author of the work. The credit should be listed in a prominent place so that people can clearly see where you got your content from.

As you can see, you simply cannot take someone else's content and use it however you see fit. That is why websites that use a lot of aggregated and curated content often post only the first few sentences of the article along with a link so you can read the rest of the article on the original website. Others compile information from various sources, add to the content and then publish it as an original piece.

Get Permission

Don't be afraid to get in touch with an author and ask for permission to use his or her content. Many up and coming authors are more than happy for the added exposure and will allow you to use certain content as long as you include a hyperlinked credit back to the original author. Written permission is ideal as you can refer back to it if there are any misunderstandings.

An added benefit of asking permission to use content is that the original content creator may want to tell his or her own following about your use of the content. This can expand your readership as new people come to your blog thanks to the referral of the original author.

Use Material Under Creative Commons License

Many content creators are more than happy to license their content for reuse under Creative Commons guidelines. This means you can legally and ethically use their images and written text on your blog as long as you follow the guidelines outlined in the Creative Commons license. However, be aware that not all material licensed under a Creative Commons license can be reused by your business blog. In some instances certain material can only be used for non-commercial purposes; in other instances you cannot build upon or transform the material in any way. The latter stipulation is common with many images under Creative Commons license.

Get Creative with Aggregated and Curated Content

The more you add to aggregated and curated content, the better. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Explain why you agree or disagree with what a particular author has written. Be sure to ask your readers to add their opinions in the comments section.
  • Talk about the pros and cons of an author's point of view
  • Create  a compiled list of what a number of authors have to say about a particular topic. In such an instance, you would not be adding much if any content of your own; however, you are providing your readers with great value by offering them a number of expert opinions in one package

Laws defining fair use of content that is not originally yours can be murky and even people who use aggregated and/or curated content as ethically as possible may receive cease and desist letters from original content creators who do not want their work reused. If this happens to you, simply apologize and remove the work in question. Avoid using material from that particular author or company in the future to avoid further problems.

Using content that is not your own from time to time isn't just a timesaver. It's also a way to boost your image as a thought leader in your industry. People who come to your website and see aggregate content that is useful and helpful will quickly discover that your website is the first place to check for information on a particular topic. If you aren't sure how to use content curation and aggregation to your advantage, feel free to get in touch with us at your convenience. Brandgy specializes in content marketing and can help you create and promote content in the most effective way possible.