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Jeremy Frink

Jeremy Frink

I am not sure where these myths come from, but someone asked Google's John Mueller in Friday's Google Hangout on Google+ at the 11:15 minute mark if it is something Google may penalize for if the site doesn't link out to other sites. The person said they heard Google issues penalties when site's don't link to other external sites.

John Muller from Google quickly said there is no such penalty.

The question asked was:

I heard that there is a penalty if I don’t link out from my domain to different domain from any of my pages. Is that truth? Is not linking out from any of my page harmful?

John responded:

No that's not correct.

So there is no penalty for not linking out, that's definitely not the case.
Obviously for users sometimes it makes sense to provide references and other websites that they can visit to to get more information on certain topics. So I think from a user experience point of view it's probably a good idea to have links on your pages.

But surely from a web spam point of view, from a Google indexing point of view you don't need to to put links on your pages.

John also told us there is no SEO benefit to link out, which was refuted by an SEO study later. There is definitely a fear of linking out which is sad.

John added his personal thoughts saying:

So I guess for me from a personal point of view, I really like to see links on other pages because it really kind of helps to keep the web a vibrant and that people go off and visit other things from time to time and they want to see different view points for the same type of information so that's something I certainly wouldn't suppress.

Which echoed what Gary Illyes said in a more "PC" way, where Gary said it's stupid not to link out and it makes him angry.

Source:  https://www.seroundtable.com/google-link-externally-penalty-22362.html

Maybe you've just started at a new company—or maybe you've been working with one for a while. But something seems wrong. You can't put your finger on the issue, but deep in the core of your mind, you know something is amiss.

Still, you ignore the feeling and soldier on. Months or years later, you're miserable. Every strand of hair on your head has gone gray and the fuse on your temper has shortened drastically. Would that you had realized early on that you were working for the wrong company. That bit of knowledge could have saved you plenty of discontentment and time.

Here are a few signs for you to look for—signs that may help you know whether the company you hired on with isn't the right fit. Grab your coffee, open your eyes wide, and read on.





1: You don't believe in what the company does

This one is a big one, although you might not see it at first. The company you're working for might be in a less than desirable sector of business. Maybe the product you support doesn't stand up to its claims. Or maybe the company engages in business practices that rub your ethical grain the wrong way. Chances of this issue smoothing out are slim to none. In fact, the idea that you can't fall in line with the very heart of the company should tell you, immediately, that it's time to bail.

2: Your talents are wasted

Your skills are mighty. You know the systems and the architecture better than anyone in the company. Your prowess at the keyboard and coding are unmatched within the department. And yet... all those skills are going to waste. Why? Because the company uses a different software, the head of IT has decided to go a different route, the company suffers from vendor lock-in, or it's still trapped in the 90s or early 2000s. Whatever the reason, all the training and skills you possess are going to waste. Chances are, unless you confront those with the power to effect change, you'll grow ever-more frustrated as the days pass.

3: You are undervalued

We've all felt this at one time or another. But when it persists, there might be a deeper issue. When you're a fresh-out-of-college employee, it's common to feel undervalued; but eventually, that feeling should abate. If you've been in the business for a while and still feel undervalued at your company, it might be time to start looking. That feeling can get under your skin and eat away at your confidence. In the world of IT, confidence goes a long way toward keeping your head above water. Sink or swim?

4: You feel constant frustration

Yes, this is IT—and frustration and IT go hand in hand. But if frustration never subsides—if you awake in the morning feeling its weight and go to bed with it pressing on your chest—it might well be time to find a new gig. There are certain companies out there that simply do not handle pressure well. They implode or the higher-ups don't hesitate to drop the hammer on everyone below them. There are also companies out there that handle pressure incredibly well. If you can't deal with constant frustration, you might want to seek out an employer that knows how to work under the persistent stress of IT.

5: You've lost the passion for the job

Most people go into IT because of an unyielding passion for technology. There are some companies out there that will happily nurture that passion—and some that will be more than willing to help you lose it. The latter would rather you have a burning desire to help feed their bottom line, so making sure the "cog" that is you fits perfectly into the machine that is the business is their top priority. If you find yourself losing your passion for IT and technology, ask yourself whether it's happening naturally or whether your company is dousing your flames with the water of business.


6: You discover a low ceiling above you

Let's face it: You accepted that job assuming you'd be able to rise in the ranks and someday take over as a leader... at least of a project. Unfortunately, when you look above you, all you see is that the ceiling is much, much lower than you originally thought. That means but one thing: Opportunity might not await you. If you see this, and upward mobility is near the top of your list, it's time to you realize that your company might not be the best fit for you.


7: You no longer want to tell people where you work

When you were first hired, more than likely you were proud of proclaiming, "I am an employee of X!" But when the polish wears off of that pride, where do you stand? Is it nothing more than losing the "new car smell" of being hired? Or have you become ashamed or embarrassed to admit where you work and what you do? If it's the former, you'll survive. If it's the latter, there's a much deeper problem at hand and you'll want to address it ASAP.

8: You stop respecting those above you

This can get really ugly. When you lose respect for your superiors, it can come out in some fairly nasty ways. You might start slacking off on the job or behaving belligerently; you might start spreading gossip or refusing to do your job altogether. In the end, that lack of respect you've developed for your boss will only hurt you. You'll wind up on probation or fired. Once fired, that blemish might be a stain on your record that is a challenge to remove. If you feel respect waning, address it immediately. Sometimes the only solution for that is to move on.

SEE: When to say no to an IT leadership position

9: You have no idea what you're doing

It's possible that you've been placed in a position that doesn't match your skills or that the head of the department simply has no idea what to do with you. But when you flounder around seven days a week, unsure of your purpose or where you fit, it's time to confront those who hired you and find out whether this issue can be remedied—or it's time to move on. You can do busy work only so long before the problems begin to compound.

10: You've got that "itch"

You know the "itch" I'm talking about. You want a new challenge, a new locale. This is common in the world of IT. You've been working in the same company/department/role for years and you no longer feel challenged. Tech pros need to be challenged, need to solve the big problems and save the day. If you've found yourself in a never-ending loop of fixing printers and cleaning Outlook files, you're going to quickly lose what remains of your sanity. Get out while the gettin' is good.

Other signs?
If you're falling victim to one or more of these indicators, it might be time to reevaluate where you are in your career. Of course, you might find these conditions bearable. But either way, it's always good to run a mental and emotional inventory of where you stand in your career.




A hacker handed over millions of stolen credentials for Google, Microsoft and Yahoo email accounts, as well as thousands for banking, manufacturing and retail, in exchange for researchers liking and voting up his social media page.


What’s the going rate for usernames and passwords of 272.3 million stolen accounts, many of which are email accounts? A young Russian hacker wanted 50 rubles, which is less than $1, but ended up handing over the data after researchers posted positive comments about him in social media.


Many of the “hundreds of millions of hacked usernames and passwords for email accounts and other websites,” were for Russia’s Mail.ru, according to Reuters, but some “Google, Yahoo and Microsoft email users” were also affected.


Breakdown of stolen credentials

As for the breakdown, Alex Holden, founder and chief information security officer of Hold Security, told Reuters, 40 million, or 15% of the 272 million unique IDs, were Yahoo Mail credentials; 33 million, or 12%, were for Microsoft Hotmail accounts; 24 million, or 9%, were from Gmail.

'The Collector' hacker had 1.17 billion stolen credentials


The discovery of millions of stolen credentials doesn’t stop there. Hold Security said a Russian kid had collected 1.17 billion stolen credentials from various breaches. Of those, 272 million were unique; the researchers said that translated into “42.5 million credentials – 15% of the total” that they had not seen before.


In 2014, Hold Security said it had obtained a massive database of 1.2 billion unique “credential pairs” which had been stolen by Russian hackers; the announcement left some security researchers with unanswered questions. In 2015, Hold Security announced that Russian hackers had breached 97 websites, most of which were dating-related. This time, the researchers discovered the credentials were being traded in a Russian criminal underworld forum.


The kid on the Deep Web, who researchers call “The Collector,” was reportedly “talkative, willing to brag and boast of his success stories.” Hold Security said, “We do not pay hackers for stolen data. If they have something new and valuable, we start our dance; ask, negotiate, finagle, anything permissible to get the data without rewarding the bad guys for their work.” After the hacker provided samples of the data, and the researchers verified the stolen credentials, they determined it was a “collection of multiple breaches.” They wanted it, so what did the hacker want in exchange?


Hold Security wrote: “50 rubles” is what the hacker wants for this incredibly large set of data. He can’t be serious; based on today’s exchange rate it is less than one US dollar. This greatly impacts the data’s credibility and value, similar to an expensive sports car being sold for pennies at auction. “I am just getting rid of it but I won’t do it for free,” he replies. In all reality, 50 rubles is next to nothing, but we refuse to contribute even insignificant amounts to his cause. It is rather funny to negotiate over this, but finally the hacker just asks us to add likes/votes to his social media page (so much for anonymity). That we can do, and once he is satisfied with the results we get a link to an incredible 10 gigabytes in a compressed database, which takes us more than hour to download.


Email service providers' responses:

Mail.ru is checking if any of the stolen credentials match with email accounts that are still active, saying it will warn users when it has investigated, but so far none of the accounts match existing emails.


Microsoft told Reuters it “has security measures in place to detect account compromise and requires additional information to verify the account owner and help them regain sole access.”


Neither Google, nor Yahoo would comment.

“Thousands” of the “stolen username/password combinations appear to belong to employees of some of the largest U.S. banking, manufacturing and retail companies,” Holden said.


This breach is one more good reason to participate in World Password Day; change your password because if it is in the breach, hackers will try to use it again and again. How hard is it to find other accounts you might use on other sites but with similar usernames? If you reused a password which was stolen on other sites, that’s bad news for you. Start using multi-factor authentication, if you haven’t done so, to add another protective layer to your passwords.


Source: http://www.computerworld.com/article/3065360/security/researchers-nab-millions-of-stolen-credentials-for-gmail-hotmail-yahoo-banking.html


Website blocking has reduced online movie piracy and is playing a role increasing take-up of legitimate sources of content in the UK, according to new research unveiled in Sydney on Tuesday night.

The new research revealed that court orders requiring the UK's largest ISPs to block 53 piracy sites, which have been in place since November 2014, have reduced internet traffic to the sites by 16 per cent.
It also uncovered a causal link between the blocking order and a 10 per cent increase in visits to legal ad-supported sites and a six per cent increase in visits to other legal subscription-based services.

The research was conducted by the Carnegie Mellon University's Initiative for Digital Entertainment Analytics (IDEA) – which contained a disclosure that the initiative receives "unrestricted (gift) funding from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)".
Economist Dr Brett Danaher, a visiting professor at Carnegie Mellon University and co-author of the research, presented its findings on behalf of the Australian Screen Association (ASA).

Dr Danaher and his co-authors are among a small number of economists that have attempted to use scientific methods to demonstrate direct causal links between anti-piracy measures and decreases in illegal downloading activity.
The researchers studied the behaviour patterns of around 60,000 UK internet users before and after the placement of the site blocks based on data provided by an anonymous internet tracking firm.

Their research was a continuation of a previous study comparing the impact of the first site blocking order against Pirate Bay in the UK in April 2012 and orders blocking a further 19 sites in November 2013.
That study found that while blocking Pirate Bay had a negligible impact on piracy rates or take-up of legitimate content in the UK, the 2013 blocking orders substantially improved the odds for media owners by decreasing overall visits to pirate sites by 30 per cent.
Danaher explained that in the case of the 2012 Pirate Bay block, for every 12 blocked visits to the site after the court handed down its orders total visits to pirate sites reduced by only one. After the courts banned access to a further 19 sites the ratio shifted – for every three blocked visits to a banned site there were only 2.5 successful visits to a pirate site.
When that was compared to data on visits to legitimate content sites over the same period, Danaher said that there was a clear link.
"There's a very strong negative correlation here. That means the more that you decreased your piracy after the site blocks the more that you increased your visits to legal sites.

"That's really the story behind the whole paper and all of the math and all of the robustness and falsification tests. This is the story about the November (2013) blocks and it's the story that shows a causal inference that the block actually caused an increase in visits to legal sites," Danaher said.
The study also revealed that broadening litigation hasn't led to a proportionate return for content owners. While the November 2013 orders to block 19 sites in the UK found a sweet spot in thwarting privacy, the returns diminished when extended to 53 sites.
Nevertheless, Danaher warned that continuous blocking might be necessary to avoid "a reversion to the status quo".
When questioned Danaher was less emphatic about the applicability of IDEA's research in Australia.

"One thing question you would ask is are pirates here similar to pirates in the UK and I've never seen any data or information telling me that they'd be different. At the end of the day people want content and I don't think that there'd be any stronger resistance to legal channels.
"But the question to be asked is what's the degree of timeliness and convenience of legal channels versus the UK. If it's similar or it's more convenient then I think this will generalise to a country like Australia. If that's not the case then you might have to model that in to determine what the impact might be here," Danaher said.

The ASA-promoted briefing coincides with Foxtel and Village Roadshow's troika of independent federal court legal bids to block The Pirate Bay, Torrenthound SolarMovie, Torrentz, and IsoHunt websites.
Record companies are pursing a fourth legal action against music sharing website Kickass Torrents.
Those bids were made possible by legislation passed in June 2015 allowing content owners to apply for federal court orders against ISPs to block overseas websites or "online locations" that have the "primary purpose" of facilitating copyright infringement.

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/blocking-piracy-websites-has-proven-effective-screen-association-research-shows-20160511-gosaqv.html



Columnist and local search expert Joy Hawkins outlines some differences between two of Google's local/maps services, discussing which might come in handy based on your situation.


It always surprises me how many other professionals I meet and network within the Local SEO community who have little to no knowledge of how Google Map Maker works and how it can impact the small businesses they work with. Many either hate Map Maker or ignore it all together.

However, I’ve always found Map Maker to be an awesome tool that can really benefit the Local SEO community if used properly. I’m going to be writing several articles on how I use Map Maker, and I’ll start by highlighting some of the ways the rules for Map Maker are unique.

Differences in Rules

The rules for Map Maker are different from those of Google My Business (GMB). Many SEOs have a bad first experience with Map Maker because they approach it with the GMB guidelines and think that all the rules are the same.

The rules are not the same — and if you aren’t familiar with the differences, you’ll have a less-than-great experience.

Here are just a few examples of what is different between the two:

Rule #1: Businesses That Move

In GMB, if your business moves, you are told to simply update the address in the dashboard:

If the business is moving, simply update the address of the business in the dashboard rather than deleting it. That way, you’ll save all of your reviews and conversations with followers.

In Map Maker, however, you have to delete the old listing and open a new one:

Reasons to delete a place: […] It has changed location, regardless of distance.

Which rule is better? In this case, the Google My Business guidelines allow a business to keep its reviews, posts, followers and ranking power.

Unfortunately, when you mark a listing closed in Map Maker, it does not disappear. It will still rank on Google — and often, because the listing is older and more authoritative (more data supporting it), it will actually outrank the new location. This can be disastrous for businessesand result their customers seeing a huge red “permanently closed” label when they search for your business name.

Permanently Closed Label 2

I would suggest you claim your listing in Google My Business and follow the GMB guidelines. Unclaimed listings are stuck with the Map Maker guidelines.

Rule #2: Service Area Businesses

Google My Business has a way for service-area businesses without storefronts to create listings that hide their addresses so they can be listed on the map. I wrote a guide on how service-area businesses should approach GMB a couple of weeks ago.

On Map Maker, however, service-area businesses without storefronts are not allowed.

The concept behind this is that you wouldn’t walk up to a plumber’s house, for example, to get service. Therefore, his address shouldn’t be mapped. Unverified service-area business listings that don’t have storefronts get permanently deleted on Map Maker.

Which is better? Service-area businesses should always add their listings via Google My Business.

Rule #3: Rebrands

In Google My Business, rebrands aren’t specifically mentioned in the guidelines, but they are referenced in a couple of help articles. In the help center for bulk locations, it says to just update the information on the listing. They even note that they will remove reviews from the profile if they were left for the business before the rebrand and the change was significant.

Map Maker gives you two options, depending on how similar the names are. You’ll note that Map Maker actually clarifies that the rules are different by stating not to do this for businesses claimed by Google My Business.

If the business is not claimed by Google My Business and:

  • the new and old names are related or similar, add the new name as “primary,” and keep the old name type blank.
  • If the names are completely different, delete the old business and add a new one.

So if the names are very different (John’s Hotel becoming Bob’s Hotel), Map Maker would tell you to delete the page (by marking it closed). Google My Business doesn’t require this (You can update the existing page).

Which is better? It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. If you want customers who search for John’s Hotel to see that the hotel is still there and is now called Bob’s Hotel, it would be best to follow the Google My Business rules.

If you don’t want any association with the old business name whatsoever, it would be better to delete the page from your Google My Business dashboard, mark the business closed on Map Maker and create a new page.

Rule #4: Duplicate Listings

The guidelines actually agree on this rule: duplicate listings for the same business are not allowed. However, when you report a duplicate listing in Google My Business or Map Maker, two totally different things happen.

Reporting a duplicate in Google My Business will send a note to the GMB team at Google, who will merge the two entries. When you pull up the URL for the duplicate listing, it will redirect to the new one.

In Map Maker, they ask you to delete duplicate listings (delete whichever has less information). This completely removes the listing, and if you had the link to the plus.google.com version of the page bookmarked anywhere, it would lead you to a 404 error.

Which is better? I’m still doing testing on this, but so far I’ve found the Map Maker method is better for ranking. When GMB merges two listings, all the information and history from the duplicate is merged, but the data is hidden so you can no longer see what it was. I’ve had situations where this data has overwritten stuff in my dashboard and changed the categories on the listing. Therefore, my current advice is to delete duplicates via Map Maker.

Rule #5: Solo Practitioners

Google My Business has a very specific (and often overlooked) rule now about how businesses with a solo practitioner should list themselves. When it comes to solo practitioners who are part of a larger company, the rule is as follows:

If a practitioner is the sole public-facing one at this location and represents a branded organization, the practitioner page should not be separate from the organization’s page. Instead, create a single page, titled using the following format: [brand/company]: [practitioner name].

Acceptable: “Allstate: Joe Miller” (if Joe is the sole public-facing practitioner at this Allstate-branded location)

The Google Map Maker guideline for professionals/practitioners doesn’t specify this. It states:

If you run a business and offer professional services, you can add a professional listing to Map Maker. To add your listing, you’ll need to have a physical business location.

So if you have a dentist named Bob Smith who is the only dentist working at ABC Dental, Google My Business specifically indicates that you should only have one page, titled “ABC Dental: Bob Smith.” There should not be a listing for ABC Dental and then another listing for Dr. Bob Smith.

The Map Maker guideline doesn’t disagree, it just isn’t very specific.  If you were only looking at the Map Maker rules, it would seem that it’s okay for both Bob Smith and ABC Dental to have listings.

Which is better? Google My Business provides more detail on this scenario, and having fewer listings is almost always better for ranking, so a solo practitioner should definitely only have one listing with the correct title format.

Have you had issues with any of the guideline differences? I’d love to hear about it.

Source : http://searchengineland.com/5-major-differences-google-map-maker-google-business-guidelines-236270



Friday, 01 January 2016 01:44

8 Biggest Mistakes in Hiring an SEO Company

You want your business to grow (more leads, more sales, more traffic) – and you realize SEO is a great strategy. Which means it’s time to hire an SEO firm right? Unfortunately, many companies don’t know the first thing about SEO, which leaves them open and vulnerable to being taken advantage of by unscrupulous firms. If you want to end up on the first page of Google’s search results, you need to take a very disciplined approach to finding the best SEO firm possible.

This means knowing what warning signs to beware when shopping for help with your company’s SEO efforts. Here are eight clear warning signs the SEO firm you’re considering isn’t the right bet:

1) They Buy Backlinks: You’ve heard that getting sites to link to yours helps, but you certainly don’t want it like this. An SEO firm which buys backlinks from unreputable services is likely to give your company low quality and automated backlinks. Many of the pages these links appear on are called “free for all” pages, because they’re full of totally irrelevant and unrelated links. Plus, seeing as buying backlinks is completely against Google’s policies, this is a sure way to get penalized by Google. Even big companies are penalized by Google for this practice, like the BBC and Mozilla.

2)They do SEO Copywriting: If a potential SEO firm offers “SEO copywriting,” run in the opposite direction. Google has changed the algorithms it uses to rank content, which means practices like keyword stuffing and writing specifically for search engines is a dying art. Instead SEO firms should be going back to marketing 101, instead of trying to game the system. No more misspelling key terms in an effort to rank higher, no more unnatural text just to include more search terms.

Firms need to know your audience, write consistent to the tone of your brand, and tell a compelling story, all while using proper grammar and spelling (hey, it’s worth pointing out seeing as it’s not always the case!). Also important to note, “sticky sites”, those with a low bounce rate, now get ranked higher. So if you tell a compelling story that resonates and keeps your audience reading and engaged, your bounce rates will improve and inturn your rankings will also. 

3) They Promise Fast Results: SEO isn’t only a science, it’s also an art. This means any firm promising you results in a week or a month is one to be avoided. The sneaky way to get fast results is to employ “black hat” techniques. While these shortcuts might seem like a quick pay off, they’re a sure way to get your business in the penalty box with Google. SEO takes time, and it’s an ongoing promise. As the results continue to improve, the right firm will continue to keep yielding positive results month over month, year over year.

4) They Have “Special Tools”:  As you talk with a potential SEO firm, you find yourself impressed with their secret sauce. They tell you all about their special automated processes and proprietary tools sure to get you ranked fast. Where do you sign up? Before you hand over your first check, take a step back. SEO is no longer a hackerspace since Google has cracked down and changed its algorithm to focus on natural and organic content. Now it’s a marketers space, and these “special tools” will surely backfire. Not to beat a dead horse, but many will get you blacklisted and many of these tools won’t be around long because they probably violate Google’s policies.

5) They Want To Lock You In: If the SEO firm you’re talking to wants to lock you in immediately, take a step back. If they want to get you tangled in a 12 month or longer commitment, ask yourself why. Maybe it’s so you can’t drop their services once you figure out they’re not delivering on their promises? If they’re really that good, why would they need that long-term contract?

6) They Don’t Have A Long History: There are plenty of great SEO firms opening every day, and plenty of smart entrepreneurs and business leaders getting into the industry. That said, you should probably wait until a business has a little experience under its belt before signing on. You don’t want to be the first client of a firm still trying to iron out the kinks of a new business. Especially when it’s a service where the wrong techniques can have a long-term damaging effect on your business.

7) Their References Don’t Exist: One of the most essential steps you should take before hiring an SEO firm is to talk, at length, with clients and other references. If references don’t exist and aren’t readily available upon request, it’s time to cross this particularly firm’s name off your list. The only reason not to provide references is because they don’t have any satisfied customers to direct you to.

8) Their Packages Are One Size Fits All: Every business has a different website. That means different needs, goals, target audience, and overall specific reasons to jump into the SEO game. If you’re talking to a firm and their packages are “one size fits all,” go look for a better fit. Good firms need to really study your business, understand your objectives, research your competition, analyze your website, and only then can they put together a solution. Beware of firms that have ‘packages’ and sell you into one of them before doing a deep-dive into your business.

Sometimes the first step to finding the best firm for your needs is knowing which companies are all wrong for the job. By paying attention to these eight warning signs you can save yourself a lot of trouble, and avoid risky companies that have a good chance of not only getting you poor results, but getting your website penalized with the search engines.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ilyapozin/2014/09/15/8-biggest-mistakes-in-hiring-an-seo-company/

With blogging comes great responsibilty. You define the content of your weblog and you carry the full responsibility for every word you’ve published online. More than that, you are responsible for comments in your posts. To make sure you fulfill your legal obligations, it’s important to know, what you, as blogger, may or should do; and you have to know, how to achieve this. After all, the ignorance of the law does not make one exempt from compliance thereof.

From the legal point of view, Copyright in Web is often considered as the grey area; as such it’s often misunderstood and violated – mostly simply because bloggers don’t know, what laws they have to abide and what issues they have to consider. In fact, copyright myths are common, as well as numerous copyright debates in the Web.

That’s time to put facts straight. In this post we’ve collected the most important facts, articles and resources related to copyright issues, law and blogging. We’ve also put together most useful tools and references you can use dealing with plagiarism.

You don’t have to read the whole article, you can read a brief overview of the key-points in the beginning of the post. Let’s take a look.

Copyright in the Web: An Overview

  1. Copyright applies to the Web.
  2. Your work is protected under copyright as soon as it’s created and protected for your lifetime, plus 70 years.
  3. Copyright expires. When copyright expires, the work becomes public domain.
  4. Ideas can’t be copyrighted, only the result tangible expression of the idea can. (updated)
  5. You may use logos and trademarks in your works.
  6. You may use copyrighted material under the “fair use” doctrine.
  7. You may quote only limited portions of work. You may publish excerpts, not whole articles.
  8. You have to ask author’s permission to translate his/her article.
  9. The removal of the copyrighted material doesn’t remove the copyright infringement.
  10. If something looks copyrighted, you should assume it is. (updated)
  11. Advertising protected material without an agreement is illegal.
  12. You may not always delete or modify your visitors’ comments.
  13. User generated content is the property of the users.
  14. Copyright is violated by using information, not by charging for it.
  15. Getting explicit permission can save you a lot of trouble.

What is Copyright?

  • Copyright is a set of exclusive rights regulating the use of a particular expression of an idea or information. At its most general, it is literally “the right to copy” an original creation. In most cases, these rights are of limited duration. The symbol for copyright is ©, and in some jurisdictions may alternatively be written as either (c) or (C).” [Wikipedia: Copyright]
  • Copyrightable works include literary works such as articles, stories, journals, or computer programs, pictures and graphics as well as recordings.
  • “Copyright has two main purposes, namely the protection of the author’s right to obtain commercial benefit from valuable work, and more recently the protection of the author’s general right to control how a work is used.” [10 Big Myths about copyright explained]
  • “Copyright may subsist in creative and artistic works (e.g. books, movies, music, paintings, photographs, and software) and give a copyright holder the exclusive right to control reproduction or adaptation of such works for a certain period of time (historically a period of between 10 and 30 years depending on jurisdiction, more recently the life of the author plus several decades).” [Wikipedia: Intellectual Property]

Copyright in the Web

  • Copyright applies to the Web. Copyright laws apply to all materials in the Web. All web documents, images, source code etc. are copyrighted.
  • Copyright protects the rights of owners. “Owners have exclusive rights to make copies, create derivative works, distribute, display and perform works publicly. Certain artists have rights of integrity and attribution (moral rights) in original works of art or limited edition prints (200 or fewer).” [Copyright in Cyberspace]
  • Everything created privately after April 1, 1989 is copyrighted “automatically”and protected for your lifetime, plus 70 years. “In U.S. almost everything created privately and originally after April 1, 1989 is copyrighted and protected “automatically”. Explicit copyright is not necessary. The default you should assume for other people’s works is that they are copyrighted and may not be copied unless you know otherwise. There are some old works that lost protection without notice, but frankly you should not risk it unless you know for sure.” [10 Big Myths about copyright explainedCopyright Office Basics]
  • Your work is protected under copyright as soon as it’s created. No record or registration with the U.S. Copyright office is required for this protection. [12 Important U.S. Laws]
  • You don’t have to register the copyright, but you probably should. “The reason for this, under the US Copyright Act, is that registration of the copyright within ninety (90) days of publication (or before infringement takes place) is necessary to enable the copyright owner to receive what are referred to as “statutory damages.” [Copyright: Know The Facts]
  • Copyright expires. According to the Berne Convention, the copyright perod lasts at least the life of the author plus 50 years after his/her death. For photography, the Berne Convention sets a minimum term of 25 years from the year the photograph was created, and for cinematography the minimum is 50 years after first showing, or 50 years after creation if it hasn’t been shown within 50 years after the creation. This applies to any country that has signed the Berne Convention, and these are just the minimum periods of protection. [What is Copyright?Wikipedia]
  • When copyright expires, the work becomes public domain. “Basically, any writing that is no longer protected by copyright is in the public domain.” [Copyright Essentials]
  • Copyright hasn’t expired if the copyright date isn’t correct. “If a copyright statement reads, “© Copyright 1998, 1999 John Smith.”, it does not mean that John Smith’s copyright expired in 2000. The dates in the copyright statement refer to the dates the material was created and/or modified, but not to the dates the owner’s material will expire and become public domain.” [What is Copyright?]
  • Ideas can’t be copyrighted. “You must first write the story, because it is your own, original expression of that idea that is protected under law. If you have a brilliant idea for a story, you’d best keep it to yourself until you do.” [Copyright Essentials For Writers]
  • “The correct form for a notice is
    “Copyright [dates] by [author/owner]”. You can use C in a circle © instead of “Copyright” but “(C)” has never been given legal force. The phrase “All Rights Reserved” is not required. [10 Big Myths about copyright explained]

You May…

  • You may use copyrighted material. “Fair use is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as use for scholarship or review. It provides for the legal, non-licensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author’s work under a four-factor balancing test. It is based on free speech rights provided by the First Amendment to the US Constitution. [Wikipedia: Fair Use]
  • You may use materials that are not subject to copyright. “Apart from facts and ideas there are many other classes of materials that can not be protected under the Copyright Law. Those materials include names, familiar symbols, listings of ingredients or contents, short phrases, titles, slogans and procedures (notice that some of those materials might be protected by trademark, though).” [Copyright Law: 10 Do’s and Don’ts]
  • You may use logos and trademarks in your works. Commenting on some facts or reporting about a company, you can use its logo under a “nominative fair use”. [Copyright Law: 12 Do’s and Don’ts]
  • You may publish excerpts, not whole articles. “If you want to share someone else’s content with your own audience, just quote a brief excerpt, and provide proper attribution with a link to the source, but don’t republish the entire article without permission. It will save you a lot of trouble down the road. This is a fairly standard practice on popular blogs.” [Copyright and Intellectual Property]
  • You may comment upon and report about copyrighted material. “The “fair use” exemption to (U.S.) copyright law allows commentary, parody, news reporting, research and education about copyrighted works without the permission of the author.” [10 Big Myths about copyright explained]
  • You may not always quote copyrighted content. Depending on the copyrighted statement, the owners of the material may forbid the copying and distribution of articles or its parts. [What is Copyright?]
  • You may quote only limited portions of work. “Under the fair use doctrine of the U.S. copyright statute, it is permissible to use limited portions of a work including quotes, for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, and scholarly reports.” [Copyright Explained]
  • You may use the de minimis principle. “Copyright isn’t concerned with very little things. It does not protect so-called de minimis works, the classic examples of which are titles (such as The Da Vinci Code) and newspaper headlines (such as Small earthquake in Chile, not many killed); nor does copyright prevent “insubstantial copying” from a work which is protected by copyright. Unfortunately it is often difficult to decide whether a work is really de minimis, or an example of copying insubstantial.” [10 Things About Copyright]

You Should…
Bloggers’ Rights and Duties

  • Ignorance of the Law does not make one exempt from compliance thereof.You carry the full responsibility for everything you publish in you weblog. Using protected work, make sure you fulfill your legal obligations.
  • Be aware of your responsibility. Check your facts, consider the implications, control the comments, give credit where credit is due, disclose professional relationships, disclose sponsored posts, avoid “blackhat” methods. [10 Rules for Responsible Blogging]
  • Make it easy to distinguish paid and editorial content. “Never claim that you are an objective, unbiased source if you are being paid to provide information. Always make it easy for your readers to distinguish between advertising and editorial content.” [12 Important U.S. Laws Every Blogger Needs To Know]
  • You should ask author’s permission to translate his/her article. According to the Berne Convention, “Authors of literary and artistic works protected by this Convention shall enjoy the exclusive right of making and of authorizing the translation of their works throughout the term of protection of their rights in the original works.” Therefore you need a permission to translate an article into another language. [What is Copyright?]
  • You should not present stolen content. “The law does not provide protection for federal crimes or intellectual property violations, meaning that you can potentially be found contributorily liable if this type of behavior takes place on your site.” [12 Important U.S. Laws]
  • You should use copyrighted material only if you have explicit permission from the author to do so (or if you make fair use of it). Copyright infrigement is possible even if the credit to the author is given. [Copyright Law: 12 Do’s and Dont’s]

Things To Be Aware Of

  • Freeware doesn’t belong to you. “Graphic images and fonts provided for “free” are not public domain. The ownership of this material remains within the creator of the material. You may use them if you comply with the owner’s terms and conditions.” [What is Copyright?]
  • Getting explicit permission can save you a lot of trouble. If you are sued for copyright violation, you must admit to the infringement, and then hope that the judge or jury agrees with your arguments. It’s faster and safer to just ask permission. [Copyright on the Web]
  • Copyright is violated by using information, not by charging for it. “Whether you charge can affect the damages awarded in court, but that’s main difference under the law. It’s still a violation if you give it away — and there can still be serious damages if you hurt the commercial value of the property.” [10 Big Myths about copyright explained]
  • User generated content is the property of the users. “The fact that you do not own the user-driven content on your site can create a number of headaches for bloggers, such as an obligation to remove a comment whenever the author requests.” [12 Important U.S. Laws]
  • If you use protected material, the new work doesn’t belong to you. “Work derived from copyrighted works is a copyright violation. Making of what are called “derivative works” — works based or derived from another copyrighted work — is the exclusive province of the owner of the original work.” [10 Big Myths about copyright explained]
  • The removal of the copyrighted material doesn’t remove the copyright infringement. Once the copyright is violated, the case is created – it doesn’t matter, whether the protected material is currently on the Web or not.” [Copyright Law: 12 Do’s and Dont’s]
  • If something looks copyrighted, you should assume it is. “It is true that a notice strengthens the protection, by warning people, and by allowing one to get more and different damages, but it is not necessary. ” [10 Big Myths about copyright explained]
  • Advertising protected material without an agreement is illegal. “It’s up to the owner to decide if they want the free ads or not. If they want them, they will be sure to contact you. Don’t rationalize whether it hurts the owner or not, ask them.” [10 Big Myths about copyright explained]

Grey Area

  • Nobody really knows if linking is always allowed. “When linking to illegal or infringing copyrighted content the law of linking liability is currently considered a grey area. But if you have an ordinary web site, and linking is not going to bypass some security, or payment system such as advertising, and there’s no information anywhere about the site not wanting you to link in and no reason to believe they don’t want it, linking should be very safe.” [Links And LawLinking RightsWiki: Link]
  • It is reasonable to provide terms of service for comments. “Posters should be informed that they are responsible for their own postings. The newsroom should consider advising readers that the newsroom does not control or monitor what third parties post, and that readers occasionally may find comments on the site to be offensive or possibly inaccurate. Readers should be informed that responsibility for the posting lies with the poster himself/herself and not with the newsroom or its affiliated sites.” [Dialogue or Diatribe?]
  • You may not always delete or modify your visitors’ comments. “You should never treat comments as though you own them by manipulating them or deleting them without having included a terms of service which gives you permission to do so. Consider that if you are allowing anonymous posts you will have no way of verifying the true owner of a comment when someone emails you asking for you to take a comment down. Consequently, you should make sure to at least collect basic identifying information before allowing someone to comment or post on your site.” [12 Important U.S. Laws]

How to React to Plagiarism?

Tools and Services

  • Free Legal Forms for Graphic Design
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    Flowchart for determining when U.S. Copyrights in fixed works expire.

Open Content Licenses

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There's a new add-on for Gmail called Inbox Pause, which does something utterly simple – it adds a pause button to your inbox – but represents, I think, a new phase in our long war against information overload. Consider the absurdity. Inbox Pause doesn't reduce the quantity of emails that bombard you. Nor does it help you answer them faster. In any case, there's already a perfectly good way to "pause" your email: just don't check your damn email for a few hours. Or just resist the temptation to open new ones. But we're too weak-willed for that: instead we need a button that tricks us into thinking we're controlling the deluge. In short, Inbox Pause is an innovation for which there's no rational need, which treats its users like impulsive toddlers. To any self-disciplined adult, it's an insult.

I've been using it for several weeks now, and I love it.

Forty years after Alvin Toffler popularised the term "information overload", we might as well admit this: our efforts to fight it have failed. Unless you're willing to be radical – to give up the internet completely, say – the recommended cures don't work. Resolve to check your email twice daily, and you'll find many more messages waiting when you do. Go on an "information diet", and it's likely to end like any other diet: you'll succumb and consume the bad stuff, with extra guilt. So maybe we need to reframe things. The real problem isn't too much information: it's the feeling of being out of control. Why not focus, then, on finding ways to feel more in control – even if that's based, in part, on self-deception?

When Google launched Priority Inbox, which sifts email into "important" and "everything else", I was sceptical: prioritisation systems mainly involve pointlessly reordering your to-do list. But friends who swear by it don't really use it to prioritise: they use it as a guiltless way to ignore the non-important emails entirely, and thus feel more in command. The Boomerang app, for Gmail andOutlook, lets you fling emails away, then have them redelivered later; while they're gone, things are calmer, even though your email burden hasn't changed. I do something similarly delusional with the hundreds of web pages I bookmark for later reading. These used to exert a subtle, anxiety-inducing tug on me. Now I capture a page in the note-taking application Evernote, label it with the tag "to read" and file it away. Frequently, I never read it. But it works: the information feels tamed. The tug is gone. I'm in control, so I'm happy.

This is irrational, but then the whole idea of getting stressed by information is suffused with irrationality. There are millions of information sources we could, in theory, keep up with, but only a few that we tell ourselves we must – and the distinction's pretty arbitrary. I try to answer all personal emails, but I don't worry about answering all personal Twitter messages. The pile of books-to-be-read on my desk glowers at me, but I never feel anxious about the vast amounts of reading matter waiting, undiscovered, on the web. So why not fight irrationality with irrationality? Worry less about reducing the information tide. Look instead for ways to reduce its stressfulness – and if that means fooling yourself with pause buttons, boomerangs and the like… who cares? In the war against overload, we need every weapon we can lay our hands on.

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Monday, 27 October 2014 01:59


Our Ethics Code distinguishes between our professional and our private lives. The code's second paragraph in the "Introduction and Applicability" section states, "This Ethics Code applies only to psychologists' activities that are part of their scientific, educational, or professional roles as psychologists .... These activities shall be distinguished from the purely private conduct of psychologists, which is not within the purview of the Ethics Code."

The Internet is providing ample opportunity to reflect on the relationship between the private and the professional by making available in the public domain what has customarily been considered private conduct. When information moves from the private to the public domain, there is an increased likelihood of its having an effect on our professional lives.

Psychology, of course, is not the only profession confronting this issue. An April 28 article in The Washington Post, "When Young Teachers Go Wild on the Web," discussed how school districts are assessing the propriety of their 20-something teachers' Web site profiles. Changes in how we experience the private/public distinction brought about by technology carry with them profound ethical implications for the profession and raise vexing questions for both psychology and society. For example:

  • How do we define "private" in the age of the Internet?

  • How do we assess the impact of events in one's personal life on one's work-related activities?

  • Does the availability of so much information place us at greater risk for confusing personal value judgments with assessments of professional competence?

I shall not attempt to answer any of these questions.

Language quoted above from the Ethics Code suggests there is a clear demarcation between private and professional behavior. We live in an age, however, when within the span of seconds a point and a click with a cell-phone camera can render public what would almost certainly have remained private just a short time ago. In the space of a few years, the realm of what is private has receded significantly with a corresponding expansion in the domain of what is public. Moreover, what becomes public on the Internet may remain available for a very long time.

Such a profound shift can be examined on multiple levels and it would not be surprising if evidence even on the neuronal level reflected a shift in the balance between the public and the private spheres. The shift challenges us to reflect on the implications for our professional lives: So much that had been confined to our private lives is now potentially disclosed and available to colleagues and others with whom we work. Another challenge is to explore how well we--at all stages of professional development--truly appreciate the extent to which the Internet makes our personal lives publicly available. It will be interesting and informative to see data regarding what percentage of our patients and clients seek personal, nonwork-related information about us on the Internet.

The concept of distinguishing between two separate aspects of a psychologist's life is found in other parts of the Ethics Code. For example, as the "Introduction and Applicability" section of the Ethics Code contrasts "private" with "professional," so Ethical Standard 2.06 contrasts "personal" with "work-related":

2.06 Personal Problems and Conflicts

(a) Psychologists refrain from initiating an activity when they know or should know that there is a substantial likelihood that their personal problems will prevent them from performing their work-related activities in a competent manner.

(b) When psychologists become aware of personal problems that may interfere with their performing work-related duties adequately, they take appropriate measures, such as obtaining professional consultation or assistance, and determine whether they should limit, suspend, or terminate their work-related duties.

Defining "personal" in the age of the Internet, like defining "private," is a significant challenge. One possible definition of "personal" for the purposes of the Ethics Code would be "taking place outside of a context or relationship related to work." Ethical Standard 2.06 focuses us on how challenges in our personal lives, for example substance abuse or a depression, can impair our abilities to function competently. Read more broadly, Standard 2.06 also highlights how our personal lives inevitably intersect our work lives.

A divorce and ensuing custody dispute, the death of a loved one, one's own or an adult child's wedding or commitment ceremony are all events that are deeply felt and that may intersect with similar events in the lives of our patients or clients. That intersection can become more complex, not always in a detrimental manner, as the information becomes available to our patients and clients. Again, research on how the Internet is narrowing the gap--or perhaps blurring the distinction--between our personal and our work-related lives will be interesting and instructive and will certainly have clinical implications.

Information about us is increasingly available by virtue of the Internet. The availability of more information to us likewise raises complex ethical questions. An earlier "Ethics Rounds" column (www.apa.org/monitor/jan07/ethics.html) offered a discussion vignette in which the director of a clinical training program, Dr. Net, struggles with whether and how to talk with his trainees about personal information they are posting on the Internet regarding their dating lives, as well as about their involvement in online chat rooms. Dr. Net wants to make the interns aware of how these activities may affect their work, but is also concerned about being unduly intrusive into their private lives. While most training faculty would agree that it would be highly appropriate for Dr. Net to have this conversation with the trainees on a theoretical level, there is likely far less agreement about how actively faculty should search for information about trainees and training applicants on the Internet or how information that comes to a faculty's attention by way of third parties should be handled. Many private sector companies conduct Internet searches before making job offers. There does not appear to be a similar consensus in psychology.

Arguments on each side of this discussion are compelling. On one hand, more rather than less data is generally better; psychologists are trained to assess the usefulness of data for a given purpose; information on the Internet is publicly available information, no less so than what is posted on the bulletin board of a local coffee shop or supermarket; and Internet searches may be developing into the standard of practice in the private sector. On the other hand, acting upon information that a trainee or applicant has not provided to a program may be inconsistent with a respect for that individual's privacy and autonomy; information on the Internet is notoriously unreliable; and there is a "slippery slope" to seeking and relying on such information that risks turning psychologists into private investigators.

Our values and our view of the relationship between the personal and the professional will be central to these discussions. Over the past several years, APA's Ethics Office has been asked about applicants or trainees who have engaged in activities such as exotic dancing or a naturist lifestyle, which have come to a faculty's attention through the Internet. We are at a moment in our history when technology is highlighting issues that have been present in a much less dramatic form, much like a wave raises the height and energy level of the water's surface and thereby calls part of the sea to our attention.

The lens of culture may prove helpful in our thinking about this issue, in terms of how different generations view their relationship to the Internet and what information they choose to make available as a consequence. Culture is also important in terms of how our values play a role in reacting to and assessing information about our present and future colleagues that is now in a public forum and, even 10 years ago, would almost certainly have remained purely private. Ethics, values, culture and competence will therefore be central to our ongoing discussions about psychology and the Internet. 

Source: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2008/07-08/ethics.aspx 

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