Internet marketing consultant and speaker Philippa Gamse emailed in this to me from her computer just now while in a plane en route to Hawaii. (How cool is tech, huh?):
"I'm doing a lot of article submissions these days as part of my 'get my name out' campaign ;-) I also have articles on my website with a generic permission to publish as long as my copyright and byline is included. I'm definitely seeing good results from this.
However, my ISP recently received a spam complaint from a recipient of an e-zine that they alleged they'd never subscribed to. They used software (I think it was SpamCop) which generates complaints not only to the publisher, but to the ISP's of all contributors and sponsors.
I'm not sure that I think this is fair - if we submit the article in good faith to what we believe is an opt-in newsletter, or if someone takes my article [from my site] with my generic permission, should I be responsible for any ensuing spam complaints? When we get the lawyers seriously involved in unsolicited e-mail suits, this could get serious."
This is a very good point. If your content is syndicated for use in an emailed newsletter, does that mean you have to first check with the opt-in procedures of that publisher? What if someone picks up your headlines and sends those out without even telling you? Right now, and perhaps forever, you'll be safe legally because you're not the list owner or sender. But that doesn't mean a spamming newsletter using your content can't hurt your brand name in the marketplace.
(BTW: Less you think I'm being over-the-top on this, in the past four days several more content owners have stepped forward with similar problems.)
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