I have published an ancient literary work which is not copyrighted or owned by any party. i can see other websites, news magazines sites published the same long back. The literary work consists of 1330 verses which cannot be modified and we don't want to modify.

It is of 133 chapters with 10 verses in a chapter. so websites categorize as 133 pages normally. each verse is exactly 7 words. and all websites will have these verse with optional extra information. so if compared with different websites which had published this we can see an exact copy of 20 lines with optional additional information below each verse of in some other form. When talking about the original source it is from text books published long before internet appeared.

Will that be considered duplicate? if so then how to emphasize that it is a literary work common for all (i mean anybody can use it) ?

2 Answers 2


Publishing content on your site that has been published elsewhere can be OK:

  • As long as you have permission to do so (in this case it is old and out of copyright, so fine)
  • You tell your users what the content is and where it came from
  • You link to an original source
  • Your users find it useful
  • You have something to add to that content such that users would rather find that content on your site than elsewhere. (Commentary or critique for example.)
  • You have enough original content on your site as well (at least 50% original, but ideally 80% original)

Google doesn't penalize for every instance of duplicated content. Even if there is no penalty for the duplicate content, it may not help you get visitors:

  • You are competing with all the other copies that are out there
  • Google will likely prefer the original source of the content and the most reputable copy of the content.

Google will penalize duplicate content if:

  • It appears to be scraped or stolen (especially without attribution).
  • Users don't react well to it (especially clicking back to Google after visiting your site.)
  • There are so many copies of it out there that there is no reason to send users to your copy of it.
  • Your copy isn't the original, most reputable, or most useble; and doesn't have any commentary or critique.
  • Your site doesn't have enough original content to balance all the republished content.
  • I wonder if you should add this here
    – John Conde
    Oct 9, 2013 at 2:20
  • I've added it to that wiki. Oct 9, 2013 at 9:29
  • I have updated my answer by adding the middle para which is italicized. Hope the same rules apply as you had mentioned. so it is better to make the duplicate unique by adding comments/description ... isn't it? Oct 9, 2013 at 20:20
  • If you can add something compelling to it, do so. Your users would be able to tell if you if your additions are compelling or not. Otherwise, if it is still useful to your users, but you are worried about Google, put it in robots.txt Oct 9, 2013 at 20:28
  • yeah, i am worried about google. can robots be used to specify something like cross domain duplicates/canonical? (or) are you suggesting disalow? in case of the latter how do users find it in google search? Oct 9, 2013 at 20:33

Copyright status is not a factor in determining if it is duplicate content. If the content is available on more then one URL than it is duplicate content.

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