I’m becoming more and more concerned about this issue, on two fronts. Firstly, clients who come to me, sometimes because they’ve accepted a very cheap copywriting quote, and then discover the copywriter has just stolen copy from another website and changed a few words. I’m using the word ‘stolen’ deliberately, because this is stealing work that someone else has created, and someone else has paid for. Yes, you could end up being sued for breach of copyright. But at least those clients are doing something about it. Even worse are the clients just looking for the cheapest possible blogs, ie, material that has been stolen at worst or quickly ‘repurposed’ at best, so they can keep refreshing the content on their website. The blogs are therefore not saying anything about the company’s USP, values, products or services. But they might be saying something about integrity…

It’s often part of a writer’s brief to look at a client’s competitor websites. But it’s not part of a good writer’s job to pinch the copy. Perhaps it’s time clients asked writers to sign terms and conditions guaranteeing their work is original?