Sharper Than a Double Edged Sword

Sharper Than a Double-Edged Sword: The Real Facts of PLR Revealed

Private Label Rights content may be sharper than a double-edged sword.

Throw caution to the wind with PLR content, and you just may be lacerated and severely injured by its serrated edges. Or even worse deeply impaled

Better yet, you are probably all the wiser to avoid it.


Remember when your parents told you not to play with and sharp shiny metal objects?

So if you are using PLR content, Shame On You!

sharper than a double-edged sword, shame of you!

I had no intention to write this article, but based on a recent episode my mind became “flooded” with content that I could simply no longer ignore.

However, that event simply pointed me to conversations I’ve had with marketers who regularly use PLR content.

Nevertheless, there is a trend that I find very disturbing that has reared its ugly head.

It's where writer’s use other people's free content, and in many cases will modify this content, and then to use it as a free giveaway in order to create an incentive for visitors to sign up to email lists and other opt-ins on their websites.

Am I missing something here?

Has anyone ever heard of copyright infringement?

Or outright plagiarism?

sharper than a double-edged sword, is it private label content?

There have been many posts written about plagiarism recently in a general context.

However, the act of using someone else's content such as an e-book and then modifying it even with ostensible explicit permission of a license smells fishy and seems to be on the border if plagiarism.

If this is not outright stealing, then at the least it seems to be a questionable practice to me.

There are affiliate links within this post. What this  means is that if you decide to purchase anything through one of my links, I'll be rewarded with a small commission at absolutely no extra cost to you. This small commission helps me run and maintain my website.

the dark murky waters

Navigating Dark Murky Waters

So why are Private Label Rights sharper than a double-edged sword?

Apparently, one day someone noticed there were lots of lazy content writers out there and came up with the profit-driving idea to create a license to sell content so buyers could re-brand that same content under their own name, modify it, and resell it to make money

Wikipedia cites the following about Private Label content:

“While licenses differ with each author and seller, the basic premise is that the license permits buyers to re-brand the content under their own name and brand (excluding copyright). In general practice this means that the product can be modified, sold, resold or repurposed in many different formats.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Notice that there is one single caveat here, excluding copyright?

This is where we enter the dark murky waters of privacy label rights. Here in this dark and damp place is where the laws become ambiguous concerning the rights of intellectual property owners. .

However before we further dissect privacy label rights, I first would like to discuss some key differences and distinctions between privacy label rights and its close cousin, a piece of intellectual property called a Work for Hire.

work for hire

Work for Hire

What is a work for hire? 

A Work for Hire is a written or verbal contract between a work’s content creator and the outsourcing entity (usually the employer). The content creator is commissioned by the outsourcing entity to create an original work on behalf of them, but where the outsourcing entity retains full ownership of the copyright.

Some examples of work produced by the content creator on behalf of the employer (a company, a publishing house, a magazine etc.) could i.e., a journal, an e-book, a compilation of notes, a painting, an original song, etc.

The simplest example of a Work for Hire is where a work is created by an employee for their boss as part of their job.

To be very clear, with a Work for Hire, the outsourcing entity i.e., the employer is assigned and retains ownership of the copyrighted work, not the creator who is the employee or is hired as an independent contractor.

Here’s how a "Work for Hire" happens:

1) The outsourcing entity first hires the content creator (i.e. Upwork, Fiverr) who creates an original work for hire, under a preexisting agreement that the outsourcing entity would be attributed full copyright of the work.

2) The content creator creates the work as a "deliverable" in care of the outsourcing entity, then delivers the work to the outsourcing entity upon completion.

3) At the time an original work is completed, the outsourcing entity is given full credit for the copyright.

There is usually a written agreement between the content creator (hired gun) and the outsourcing entity (copyright owner) specifying that the original work commissioned for is a work made for hire by use of the phrase "work for hire" or "work made for hire.”

Whenever a Work for Hire is ordered, it’s important to understand the following chronology:

An employer (outsourcing entity) first hires a writer (content creator) to produce a new original work which has yet been created as a “deliverable”.

There will be a standard contractual agreement duly signed by both the outsourcing entity (employer) and the content creator (employee) that will automatically grant ownership of the original work to the employer, not the creator of the work.

Note that with a Work for Hire, there is hardly any risk of copyright infringement in this type of arrangement.

This is not the case with Private Label Rights.

sharper than a double-edged sword, that's private label content

Privacy Label Rights: Sharper Than a Double Edged Sword

Private Label Rights (PLR) is the antithesis of a Work for Hire.

Here is how it works.

A buyer such as a marketer first purchases a license which permits the buyer to re-brand the content i.e. such as an e-book, e-report, manual, blog post, etc. that is an already pre-existing original work, under their own name.

This pre-existing work is owned by a copyright owner or a PLR sales site, who is the content creator.

However, rarely is the PLR sales site the content creator.  The PLR Sales Site will usually have pre-purchased that content from third parties who write the content themselves and are the actual original copyright owners.

Further complicating this issue, the third parties whom the PLR Sales Sites purchased the “original” content from many times have purchased their content from previous original content creators or PLR Sales Sites.  

The original content creator who owns the copyright has given permission for their intellectual property to be shared without attribution, by selling a direct buyer (like you) or the PLR Sales Site a license in exchange for a fee.

The buyer can then modify the content and resell it in many different formats. Or they can give the modified content as a FREE giveaway.

However, the original creator who licensed usage of the content that you are modifying and reselling or giving away as your e-book STILL retains ownership of the copyright.

sharper than a double-edged sword is private property

According to the copyright laws, you cannot claim copyright if you use PLR. You will have other legal rights as may be given from the author such as rebranding and modifying the content, but not to copyright the work.

In other words, you are giving away or selling someone else’s property. The license only gives you permission to rebrand it and modify it, but you can NEVER claim the content is yours!

So by the true letter of the law, does this really mean now that another’s intellectual property can be given away as PLR claims?

I really don’t believe so.

5 Inherent Dangers of PLR

The 5 Inherent Dangers of Private Label Rights

It is not an understatement to say that PLR content is not only sharper than a double-edged sword. That is only the tip of the proverbial sword.

You can now imagine that there are many GREAT inherent dangers when navigating the turbulent waters and walking through the hazardous landmines of PLR content.

And these inherent dangers can happen when purchasing private label content from PLR sales sites and other sources for your own usage.

Here are 5 inherent dangers you may be subjected to with Private Label rights content:

1) Plagiarism – few PLR sales sites ever create the content they provide. They are owned by third party authors who wrote the content and who own the copyright. YOU the buyer can easily be subject to cease and desist letters and other legal threats. Even full-fledged dragged out law suits.

2) Duplicate Content Issues – Most of the sites that trade in PLR content sell the same content to multiple purchasers. If the work is publicly published, Google will treat most of the versions of the same work as duplicate content, and if it senses same content was sold to multiple purchasers, will penalize those sites.

Vet Content when possible

3) Vetting of Content is Nearly Impossible – The content you purchased for your e-book could easily be an unlawful derivative that defies easy detection. The source could have been taken from something not online elsewhere, or it could be that the content was so heavily sold it could be next to impossible to locate the original author.

Even the best due diligence and state-of-the-art plagiarism detection techniques cannot detect if this content is free of plagiarism.

4) Tarnishing your Trust and Credibility – If you include the purchased content in a member’s area, on your website, or in an e-book where customers and visitors may see the content and compare it to other copies of the work online, your public and your fan's realization of perceived plagiarism will surely tarnish your credibility as a content writer.

Imagine how your customer would feel if they bought your e-book for only $10, and shortly thereafter were to see the same content elsewhere online selling for $3. Surely they would feel betrayed and you would likely end up on the “Rip-Off Report!”

5) Low Quality Content – Most PLR sites sell articles and books in packs that are largely purchased unseen. This prevents the buyer from determining the quality of the content prior to purchase. Furthermore, a majority of the time the content offered is of very poor quality requiring an enormous amount of editing or it needs to be trashed altogether.

write your own content

Better Than Sharper than a Double Edged Sword:  Write Your Own Content

It is always best to avoid the dangers and pitfalls of PLR by taking the time to learn to create your own original GREAT content for your e-books, e-reports, manuscripts, and websites.

Authors and content marketers who want high-quality, stand-alone content that they can post on their blogs or sell or giveaway as e-books need to write the content themselves or, at the very least, hire a good ghostwriter.

It will certainly take some practice, but when you develop the skills to write your own original and compelling content from your own personal experiences, you share something more authentic and new exciting adventures will soon unfold to your audience.

You will build a captive audience of engaged readers who will look forward to returning to your published works time and time again.

bringing a captive audience

There will also be less stress thinking about trying to avoid the landmines of plagiarized content, and this newfound freedom of expression will give you a feeling of absolute joy and of being totally in charge.

Learning to write great content also offers a tremendous personal reward: you will soon be the king or queen of your own amazing content – and no one can ever take that away from you!

A truly phenomenal and gratifying feeling of total authorship of content awaits you, as writing your own content will empower you to become the greatest writer you can be.

Become an Influencer rather than wielding a sharper than a double-edged sword

You Can Become an Influencer

As you continue to build a consistent body of high quality content over time, this will lead to a higher engagement of comments and likes in your blogs and through shares via social media channels.

Soon your work will become highly respected and revered by your visitors and peers throughout your industry. This can lead to becoming an influencer in any chosen niche.  

Not only will becoming an influencer expose you to new financial opportunities, it is a natural high like no other.

PLR content is sharper than a double-edged sword

Conclusion: PLR Content is Sharper than a Double Edged Sword

PLR content is definitely sharper than a double-edged sword and best to stay away from.

If you are using it, Shame on You!

The process of developing one’s own writing style over a sustained long period of time is a great challenge for many.

However the personal and financial rewards can be great. 

Above all, writing your own content and avoiding PLR content is the only way to truly ensure that you will share high-quality work that is free of copyright infringement and other pitfalls.

As tempting as PLR content may be for some, it’s probably best not to walk among its hazardous landmines.

Your best and most personally rewarding move is to be safe and to write your own content.

stay away from PLR

Stay away from PLR, as it is indeed sharper than a double-edged sword.

Wishing you all on Great Content journeys ahead!

Please feel free to post any comments about this article

About the Author

KAJU is the band leader and founding member of OFF THE HOOK, one of the premiere dance party bands in the New York Tri-State Area. After contracting a mysterious hand disorder, Kaju now writes to help other musicians and artists deal with disabilities. Currently he is a Full-time Affiliate Marketer and 1-on-1 mentor at Wealthy Affiliate, a community that can help anyone start an online business without prior experience. This is where he teaches others how to make a great passive income. Read more about his story here!

  • Cheryl Brown says:

    Great article and this is so very true. In this day and age there are so many places to search for the information you need which means there is no need for anyone to use someone else’s material. I agree that it is shame on them if anyone has carried this out or is thinking of maybe doing so.

  • Kaju

    Thanks for your detailed and well-reasoned review on the potential use of PLR products and its implications.

    Although I am not as savvy as you are on such digital products, I am not sure if I see a pitfall in using a PLR product [not blog posts but rather eBooks, videos or software], aside from duplicate content, provided that you do not claim it to be your own creation, and here is why,

    In the case of training or instructional eBooks or videos or software products, there are very few qualified marketers who can create/produce them with an aura of authority or confidence on most underlying subject matters.

    Someone good at chess may not be an authority on YouTube marketing, however, that chess player can use a PLR video [not claiming as his/her own] to provide info or training to a potential sector of the market.

    I am of the same mindset as Tony Robbins, Dean Graziosi and Russell Brunson who not only remind us MOT to re-invent the wheel, nor to try to be or to become an expert in every discipline but rather use the leverage we may get to be of help and of service to our intended audience and doing so ethically too.

    I do nevertheless understand and agree with all of your analysis and thank you for sharing it with us.

    • Kaju says:

      Thank You for sharing your insights Gabriel about PLR content – and particularly regarding the post image which has been dealt with! We highly appreciate it:)

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