Fair Use vs. PLR

By now, most folks know what “fair use doctrine” is (Section 107 in U.S. federal copyright law), but some crazy wacked-out online marketers want you to buy their private label rights (PRL) articles or they want to offer you an article creator that uses either PRL articles for their content source or legitimate non-PRL articles for their content source citing that you can take and steal any exact match sentence from any author under fair use doctrine.

WRONG! Don’t believe them. Fair Use doctrine allows you to CITE a small section of someone’s works. If you take someone elses works (such as a single complex sentence from 30 different authors against their consent) WITHOUT giving them CREDIT for their works or obtaining permission if your use of their content exceeds a certain amount when compared to their entire copyrighted works and if you intend to do this for commercial gain, you are sliding down a slippery slope that leads to failure, not to mention potential legal problems. At a minimum, it’s unethical.

Don’t do it:
If you’re just stealing exact match sentences and re-assembling a new article that you will call your own, know that you are not going to fool us (yes, we can detect even one exact complex sentence match against our entire database in real-time) and you certainly are not going to fool the patented search engines. You are wasting your time.

Better suggestion: Steer clear of private label rights articles, steer clear of article creators that provide the content for you so that you can mix and mash up someone else’s stolen works, and USE your creative mind to produce your own content. You can do it. :) Be Unique.



You say to stay away from PLR articles, and others are saying to stay away from article directory articles (such as your own). If the second statement is true, your success rides on people using your articles for their websites which some claim will kill your website rankings on the search engines. What is your position on using article directory articles for website content?

Comment provided February 15, 2006 at 11:56 AM


Chris Knight writes:

Hi Charles,

Thanks for your comments.

Actually, our success does NOT ride on whether someone uses the articles we have listed in our directory.

In fact, our core purpose from day one was to serve EZINE publishers, not webmasters and bloggers, with supplemental content for their next email newsletter.

Today and for the past year+ since our re-launch, we have focused almost exclusively on the needs of our AUTHORS as our primary focus of attention.

Our position on using article directory content for website content: If it’s your only content, you are wasting your time. If you use our content for specific niche sites to enhance original quality content of your own, then we think this is a smart strategy as it further gives depth to your area of expertise.

Note that our TOS has a 25 reprint rights limit per domain per year and this throttle is designed to encourage NICHE use of our content, rather than wholesale use. We are not a content wholesaler nor do we appreciate being scraped and actively fight against it daily with automated tools and human security sweeps to ban or lockout those who wish to harm us.

Comment provided February 15, 2006 at 12:05 PM


Priya Shah writes:

Thank you for taking a stand on this, Chris. As someone who has to straddle the fence between being a marketer and writer its appalling to see the lengths to which people will go to AVOID writing original content. I’ve never run with the herd and definitely support your viewpoint on my blog.

Comment provided February 15, 2006 at 1:34 PM



3 cheers for you Chris. I have been talking against PLR articles in my ezine for quite a while now.

There is no good to come from using these types of articles for content.

I recently used a content generator with a PLR article as a test and all I can say is what a joke.

Folks, please do not get suckered into using PLR articles….listen to what Chris is saying.

Thanks Chris

Comment provided February 15, 2006 at 3:17 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

Someone had approached me and wanted to take all my articles apart and put the sentences based on subject, along with paragraphs into a program they were creating, whereby a writer could pick a topic and then it would display all the matching or corresponding sentences, so they could mix and match them into new articles. I was intrigued by this and then I thought it is really for those who want to create rapid content without working for it. Which is innately characteristic of mankind’s over all laziness indeed. It seems these types of programs are borderline and would cause issues as well?

Comment provided February 15, 2006 at 5:24 PM


Chris Knight writes:

If an author CONSENTED to it, that would be one thing.

Unfortunately, the software that I saw a demo on today mashes copyrighted content WITHOUT permission and without citation of source.

This software creator was as lazy as his clients. He could have easily paid someone or purchased the rights for perhaps a few thousand dollars to lots of content to fill his database with LEGAL content to mash up.

It’s just wrong and I think thousands of new registered members of our site will be shocked at how transparent they are to us and the toolset we’ve written to identify these PLR mashers as undesirable.

Comment provided February 15, 2006 at 5:39 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

I had once heard of an MIT project, which took old quotes from Famous People and I suppose they were in the public domain; things that Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Winston Churchill had said, which author’s could use. Then some kids at Berkeley came up with Genius Software for MS Word that would do something similar and make the person look real smart. I know also there is a program that writers can buy that has little tid bits of history to make them look smart. I would hope all these would be legitimate, but I can see how a “Lazy” software programmer would simply lift sentences from News articles and use them. Although I can tell you that a lot of reporters use these to make their stories fast too. Which makes me wonder if it is copywrited by the news source, they are copywriting what is already copywrited over and over again, which inevitably was stolen from someone to make the program or article in the first place. It gets rather bizarre. The WSJ did an interesting article on the plagiarism and copywrite issues on the net too this week. As a matter of fact it was our number one most viewed topic at the think tank forum the last few days too. Personally I would never use these things, but for someone just starting out to help fill up their article with better looking substance I can see the enticement, although if you do not know who you are getting it from you could be putting your own hand into the meat grinder too. You know this is really a bummer indeed, it is sad to see this go on. Really it takes away from those who really work hard to make their work meaningful and spend time considering how they bring across their message and really put forth the creativity to make their point or tell of important information. It is too bad this occurs. I understand why it is happening, but feel the same way you do about the whole thing.

Comment provided February 15, 2006 at 6:12 PM


Vic writes:

Wow, do people actually try to submit PLR articles to this site? I always thought the idea behind those articles was just to populate portal sites with content.


Comment provided February 16, 2006 at 2:50 PM


john writes:

There is a diference between using PLR content on article directories and on one’s own sites. After all, in the end, most written content, anywhere, is comissioned from one person for use by another. If I use PLR content on your site, then so will someone else and you, the article directory guy, me, the webhamster, and the other guy all lose out. In reality the amount of GOOD quality PLR stuff is very small and in my experience not much used. The amount of rubbish is high and growing, probably bought by people who are unable to recognise decent writing when they read it. I also have yet to see spun’ content that is worth reading or using and I applaud your efforts to remove it and plagiarised stuff from your site.

That which I submit here is my own work, and usually does not appear on my own sites. I also use PLR stuff that does not appear, by my hand, anywhere but my sites.

Comment provided February 16, 2006 at 3:15 PM



Well, that settles it for me. I didn’t realize the “webhamster” was losing out too. ;)

On a more serious note, can you imagine if print publications took the articles that they PAID copywrighted authors to use and mixed and mashed them together? That would be completely deplorable and grounds for legal action.

If you want to buy a single article directly from an author to use exclusively, that’s one thing.

Not only is Private Label Content a bastardized term as we come to learn in what form the web articles are being “distributed,” but it’s needless! Your content is FREE, AND IT’S RIGHT HERE.

Really, which one do you pick:

a. sell my web articles for an embarrassing sum of money and let someone hack them up, take my name off them and turn them into lunch meat, or:

b. add my articles to this site and let honorable ezine and web masters pick them up, leave them in tact, give me credit and link back to my website URL (giving the potential to become hugely well-known in my field).

And yes, Chris points out this website was intended for ezine publishers from day one? Well, heck the name of the website is EzineArticles in case anyone’s forgotten…

– Dina

Comment provided February 17, 2006 at 7:38 AM


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