If ever there was a lesson to teach us about plagiarism and unique content, it’s this…

According to sources such as the Independent and the Herald Sun (an Australian news publication), parts of the recent Leveson Report (published by Lord Justice Brian Leveson) were lifted from Wikipedia. What’s more, the Independent confirmed that some of the information wasn’t even correct – making it a double fail.

Now, Lord Justice Leveson is not a high-school student hoping to finish his presentation in one night, or a desperate university student trying to get his essay handed in on time. He is a well-respected, educated judge – who, ironically, was put in charge of deliberating over Britain’s supposedly broken journalistic system. How ironic that someone tasked with assessing the morality and best practice of Britain’s newspapers made the most frowned-upon, rookie mistake – first lifting content from an existing source and second, not checking the facts in said content.

So, if someone like Lord Justice Leveson can make a mistake like this, what’s to stop this rest of us?

Watch and learn

The best thing all of us can do – including brands striving to become publishers in their own right – is learn from this mistake. It only amplifies the importance of producing original content, rather than pinching ideas or actual copy from other people.

In short, stick to your own ideas!

What’s more, don’t publish anything until you’ve checked the facts. This sounds obvious, but so many people trust what they read on the internet… but what if the writer of your source didn’t check their facts? What if the writer behind their inspiration didn’t either?! All you can do is check, check and check again.

How can I avoid this?

Well, for people, brands and companies, there’s one solid way – only use experts for your content writing. Use trained journalists who are adept at following media law and writing their own unique content. For one, doing this should avoid any content-related penalisation from Google and for two, it will avoid any (costly) lawsuits.

It’s a simple message, but if Lord Justice Leveson can get it wrong, potentially we all can – so take action now!