Copyright, original content and web writing
The Cooks Source controversy was a hot topic among my online friends recently. Many of them, like me, are freelance writers who publish at least some of their work online. All of us have had content “lifted” at some point, and we were outraged to see a publisher take such a cavalier attitude toward copyright infringement. Web writing has always carried a certain risk, but this was probably the first time most of us had seen proof of such a blatant violation.
For those of us who write or produce other creative works for publication, copyright is not the only issue we need to concern ourselves with. One of the topics frequently discussed by Associated Content contributors is what constitutes the “original content” we are required to supply in order to submit an article, video, audio piece or slideshow to the Yahoo! Content Network.
Using stock images in Associated Content slideshows
A little while ago I wrote an article on how to use stock images in your AC articles, and more specifically, how to use the lightbox feature at Stock.XCHNG to track images used and be sure you are complying with requirements from both sites for credit and notification. My good friend Marie Anne St. Jean contacted me after the article was published, and we discussed whether slideshows published at AC could use images we did not personally create.
Now that Associated Content has been integrated into the Yahoo! Contributor Network, I’ve had the opportunity to review the updated submission guidelines. I thought it might be useful to share what I read there. Here is what the guidelines have to say about selecting images for your slideshows: “Slideshows may be composed of your own images, and/or images from other approved sources. (emphasis mine)
So apparently, it is acceptable to include stock or public domain images in slideshows for publication at YCN. But contributors should be sure to respect the limitations about how they are used. Images from approved sources must be properly credited, say the submission guidelines. In addition, “Slideshows composed of images that you did not create yourself . . . must be of sound quality and must stand alone as unique and valuable pieces of content.” We can be sure we meet that criterion is to arrange images in a meaningful way, and to offer informative or unique content to the descriptions. I have attempted to do just that in my slideshows about macular holes and different types of tea.
Community Guides and other contributors can be really helpful if you aren’t sure whether your slideshow or article meets the Yahoo! requirements for original content. Novices and veteran AC contributors alike turn to one another for advice, and most of the people here are very happy to help one another out. It’s one of the things that made Associated Content stand out, and it certainly hasn’t changed since we became part of the Yahoo! family.
If you really aren’t getting the advice you need from fellow contributors, don’t be shy to ask staff for help. We are also fortunate to have some very accessible staff members who are happy to answer your questions!
“Submission guidelines.” Yahoo! Contributor Network