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More than once I have been asked by a business owner to plagiarise someone else's work. “It's on the internet so it's in the public domain!” they cry. They think that if they get me to copy the content from a website, it will be a fast turn around and will save them money. The answer is 'NO!'.

Maybe your admin assistant can copy the content you want for a bottle of plonk and a bag of chips, but I'd rather sleep at night and not face an expensive legal bill and the loss of my professional credibility. It just isn't worth it.

Even if the owner of the original work doesn't notice, Google will and that will have a negative impact on your search engine optimisation – another loss for you to chalk up. So those savings are quickly lost as your ranking falls and you have to find the money for your lawyer, your court costs and the fine you will be slapped with. A lot of money and a good dose of anxiety.

Google likes original content, all fresh and new like the sheets in a soap powder ad. You can use other people's content to generate ideas or research information though. Just like in the old days you could pop down to the library and look through books to educate yourself about a certain topic. Using several sources can have the benefit of giving you a different prospective on your subject.

If researching isn't your bag, then look at paying someone to do it for you. See it as an investment and understand that it's an important job that deserves rewarding appropriately - at the very least it could save you money.