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Communications, Intranet, Rants

Can’t be bothered to write stuff for your intranet? Just steal bits from the web

Presumably, the front page of your intranet is full to the brim with company announcements, contract updates, products and services updates and ‘people’ stories. If your intranet is anything like mine, your front-page slots are booked out solidly for two or three weeks. Only the urgent, time sensitive, stories get to queue jump!

But beyond the front page, you must have lots of permanent reference pages. Sections that don’t get updated too often, but provide robust information and guidance for your people. It can be a real chore to craft original content for these stable sections of your intranet. General stuff like maps, regional railway locations, fire drills, car maintenance regulations, pension schemes et cetera et cetera all take considerable time and effort to create and publish. Why bother? The World Wide Web outside your firewall is brimming with this stuff. You can just copy n paste the material, and boost your productivity, proving to your Internal Communications boss that you’re a valuable worker who gets stuff done.

The cool thing about copying from the big ‘ol Internet onto your little internal intranet is that no-one will notice. While plagiarism copying is risky on the big 3 double-Us because people can catch you out, inside your company there probably aren’t enough technologically savvy people to notice such things. Plus, if anyone does notice that you’ve ripped off copied a Government report page, they’ll assume that you’ve got permission, or that it’s OK to do such a thing inside the company.

Because your boss is a really busy person, they’ll just be pleased to see you producing fresh content. If anyone queries the morality of using other people’s work and using it as your own, just say that you’re sharing content from a ‘business partner’. If you’ve got a verbal agreement with a contractor to re-publish one of their Business Reports (for example) it’s easy to stretch that to mean ‘everything on their website’. Verbal agreements are great like that.

And remember kittlings, it’s easier to say ‘sorry’ than it is to seek permission.

So, to be clear, you can’t re-publish this article on your blog, but you can plop it on your intranet, coz how would anyone ever know?

[Wedge]

Oh gods, I hope you’re still reading, because the above article is of course ironic – I don’t mean it. I respect copyright as a concept, not simply a legal thing. I love copyleft and Creative Commons, but if an article doesn’t say ‘hey, re-use me’ then you must assume it is copyrighted and you will have to contact the author for permission to re-use it.

If you’re going to ‘quote’ someone else’s article, that’s OK so long as it’s a very small quote and you give full credit (name and a link back).

[Wedge :]

About Wedge

I’m Wedge, and this is my website! I’ve worked within internal communications since 2004, managing intranets and digital comms. Now I’m a freelance comms and intranet specialist - I help organisations plan and improve their intranets. I work with other agencies, and write a lot of blog and magazine articles. I founded the Intranet Now conference. You can catch up with me on Twitter - I’m @Wedge.