There is an old expression that, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” It means that when someone likes something you do enough to imitate it in their own lives, you should take it as a compliment.
I do not take it as a compliment when someone takes my work and republishes it without permission. It is not legal or right to publish someone else’s work on your blog, even if you give them credit for it.
In the last few days, I have discovered several blogs where the authors republished articles from my newsletters. They probably thought it was fine because they gave me credit. It is not fine. They may even believe they are doing me a favor. After all, they are giving me “free publicity,” right?
Well, no. It is not a favor and it is not right. Only the person who holds the rights to a work gets to decide how it may be used.
Within the blogsphere it is generally considered acceptable to quote a small portion of a post (perhaps a few sentences) and then link to the entire post. Most bloggers would not object to this, and a case could be made that it is “fair use.” This is especially so if you are commenting on what the blogger wrote. (It should be noted that there is nothing in the law that defines a specific number of words or percentage of a work that you may use as “fair use.” Fair use is a defense you may use if you get sued for copyright infringement, not a blanket right to use other people’s works.)
So before you publish something written by someone else, get permission. In the case of copyrighted material, it is better to get permission than to hope you get forgiveness.