I have been writing articles online for a little over a year. During the past few months, I have learned a few things and unfortunately I learned the hard way.
When I first started writing, I published just about everything. What I mean by everything is that if I wrote a letter to my doctor, I would publish that as a sample letter and just change the name. If I wrote a letter to my insurance company, I did the same thing. I was just getting started and was anxious to start increasing my total views so I basically just published any document that I had saved in my computer.
The problems started when I posted some things that I should not have. I have to say that I kind of did this in ignorance, not thinking and knowing enough about privacy and copyright infringement. Fortunately, these articles have been removed from the Internet at my request and are no longer viewable.
The first mistake that I made was to publish some colleague’s information online about a certain issue. At first I did not see this as a problem because I did not use real names of people. In fact, I changed the name to a totally different one and my intention was not to expose anyone. My purpose was just to publish another article so that people would read it and I would get paid for it. The more viewers that you have for your articles, the more money you get. The CEO of the company happened to find this article online and noticed that it looked almost the same as what was handed in to him and reported it.
The second mistake that I made was to publish certain documents or forms that the company made up. Again, I did not think I was doing anything wrong because I did not have the name of the company on the documents. The purpose for publishing them was so that other people can read them and also use them in their companies if needed. I had seen other companies post their documents with the company’s name on it, so I did not think I was violating anything. When the CEO found out about these documents being posted, he asked that they be removed. I received a very strong warning for making these two mistakes and have promised the CEO that I will not publish anything else about the company.
Just recently, someone made me aware of copyright infringement. I always thought that copyright infringement was just quoting someone else or copying and pasting and not giving the author credit. Then I read an article online that copyright infringement could also be if you do not have the author’s permission to publish something that he/she wrote. After publishing two articles, someone told me that it may be illegal what I am doing. I wrote a review about two children’s books and I did mention the authors’ names. My mistake is that I wrote the words to the entire book and had that published. I realized after that I did not have permission from the author to do that and I could get sued. Those two articles were removed very quickly as soon as I realized that I may be committing copyright infringement.
If you are new to writing online or thinking of becoming a writer, you should make yourself familiar with the rules first and know what you are doing. Don’t assume just because the company published your article, that you are safe. Read about copyright infringement and other things that you should avoid publishing that could get you in trouble.