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Copyright Expressed License

A word of caution to affiliates

This word of caution most frequently applies to affiliate sites whose republishing of product descriptions, images has come under search engine fire numerous times. In fact, it is best to anticipate manual evaluations here even if you have dodged the algorithmic sweep. The basic tenets are:
  1. Do not simply republish something that is found elsewhere on the Web unless your site adds substantive value to users, and do not infringe on the copyrights or trademarks of others.
  2. If you are hosting affiliate content, expect to be judged more harshly than others, as affiliates in the SERPs are one of users' top complaints about search engines.
  3. Small changes such as a few comments, a clever sorting algorithm or automated tags, filtering, a line or two of text, simple mashups, or advertising do not constitute substantive value.

  1. This example shows a typical expressed license. Members who post to this site retain their copyrights but give others a non-exclusive license to forward any message they post. They also give the site owner the right to archive messages.
  2. A tongue-in-cheek variation on the expressed license. I reserve the right to use any email you send me that says good things about this site. If you don't want your email used this way, mark it "private and confidential."
  3. Special sites require special considerations. Here are excerpts from the welcome message of a prostrate cancer site. In a case like this, the subscriber should weigh the benefits to himself and others of having personal medical information made public and archived. Adverse medical information could potentially end up in the hands of employers who might discharge employees for spurious reason, or of insurance companies who might deny coverage based on this information.