I am looking at using content from an old website that has been offline for sometime. I am wondering if this is legal? Does the defunct website own the content forever or is reusing ok?
Whomever created it, owns it.
See if you can contact the author and ask permission to republish it.
If you re-word or manipulate the content well enough it should be legal. but that takes some work (not for the lazy) .
It might or might not be legal, but it's disreputable, and probably won't be of any real benefit to you.
If you can't create your own content, you should either pay someone to do it, or make an arrangement with the defunct site to re-publish theirs. Just re-wording someone else's content is pretty worthless. And re-publishing without permission is definitely an infringement of copyright.
The fact that the site is defunct makes no difference. After all, think how many famous authors have been dead for several years. You wouldn't expect to re-publish their books without permission. A website is not that much different.
Re-wording it does make a big difference, not just with copyright. Its worthwhile if you understand it, did fact checking, and gathered info from numerous sources.
So I'd only agree with you if the article you wrote was all from one original article. Most information, per se, isn't original. Its inevitable for things to get repeated and re-shared. its not bad when the info itself is good, and its written well each time in a unique way.
Just out of curiosity, Phpnuke23, how do you know about the website in question? You say it has been off-line for some time. But you presumably have access to the content, otherwsie you wouldn't be asking this question. That suggests that you are in contact with the site's former operators, which means that it should be easier to ask their permission.
Alternatively, is it possible that the site isn't off-line at all? That it has simply moved to a new URL, for instance? Or that the operators have done a deal with another site to take over the content?
As I said, I'm really only asking out of curiosity. It doesn't affect the copyright question.
You can keep that offline site's information as a base and try out your own content from it. Using the same content surely does not sound good. Out of the box thinking is definitely needed for writing content that is attractive, unique and most importantly understandable.
Again, this brushes up against possible copyright infringement.
I don't think so you should use the content of any other site whether it is online or offline. As you must be knowing about google panda update . Your site can be penalized if anything goes wrong. You should always go for fresh and original content
You're right that you should "always go for fresh and original content". But it's got nothing to do with Google or Panda. Google can't distinguish between legitimate copies and plagiarism (unless someone files a complaint). The reason you should not copy someone else's content is that doing so (without their permission) is an infringement of their copyright.
The original question in this thread was whether it was OK to re-use content for a site that has been off-line for a long time. That question was answered in the first two or three replies.
If old website is not offline for long time and content is already indexed in google then copying content will be duplicate and site can be penalized.
It's better re-wording old content to make it different. Google gives more value to new and fresh content.
Reiterating Miki's response, this is not an SEO question. This is a question regarding republishing web content and copyright issues. As SEO is unrelated to this question, any additional responses pertaining to SEO will be fluffed.
Further discussion on republishing content or on copyright are perfectly welcome.
Have you tried looking at the WhoIs logs and seeing if you could get an email address? You could probably republish the content if you get in contact and they say you're allowed to.
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