It is only happening to Linda Ikeji because she is that big. A lot of people that are raving about her would be dealing with even more if they were relevant. I just realized that it is not only bloggers, but for some reasons, we do not pay a lot of attention to the law in Nigeria, thus, end up taking a lot of things for granted. Even our filmmakers make the mistake Linda made.
I used to make such mistakes when I first started blogging. After I sat down and learnt the rudiments, I started working hard at it. That is definitely another problem we have - researching.
Every piece of the work (described under words, music, graphics,...etc) should be yours (or you have the legal rights to use them).
Of course, there are times when you believe you have something original to offer and you know that this was either a consequence of seeing another person's work or you discover that someone else had already done it. In this case, it is best to quote them and add whatever you need to add to it after.
And there are other times when you realize that someone had an idea which gave you an inspiration to think, explore and broaden your imagination into something even greater. In that case it is best to add them as references when you refer to their work. Whether you paraphrased or just built on someone else's idea, just add the credits.
The subject of plagiarism is a grave one. People are just going about trying to steal other people's work and acting like it is theirs nowadays. Some people put in the time and the pains to create something and I think it is wrong to just take it and claim it as yours. Well if you do, just remember that you can only go so far with it. If you are somebody that craves excellence, it will always be a limitation.
For example, you realize you have created something with words and you need some graphics to help you with a better presentation, then look for an artist that can help you with good graphics.
If you are going to use someone else's photo, give adequate credits. So many people will not have a problem with you using their works (especially if they see that it is a way of publicizing themselves too), that is if you don't take credits for it, but accord it duly to them. It's like you share their works for them, while you needed it for some part of yours, got it? Both parties have something to gain. Getty images is a good place to get free royalty free images, just remember to give credits.
For company logos, create (or buy) yours or
Make your own music, can you? If you can, you are better off, but for most of us, that is not so easy :)
We have seen how this has been such a huge problem on youtube. For example, where you make a very good video with good content and then you realize that you used 'an intro' music that wasn't yours and somehow the whole video is being restricted. This is because you just used a few seconds of someone else's work. Even if you used one second of someone else's work in a 90 minutes work of yours, it puts you at the risk of losing the entire work. If you can't make your own music, pay someone who can to do that for you.
What is royalty free music? Royalty free music is music that you do not only buy the contents but also the license to distribute them.
Take for instance, when you buy regular music on itunes, you only have the right to listen to it and not distribute it. Putting a few seconds of it in your video counts as distribution. Royalty free kind opens this right to you, which means you can add it to your own work without these restrictions. It might be more expensive, but if you look at the advantage, you realize that it is worth it.
www.pond5.com is a good site for royalty free music, for those that would want to ask.
Always remember to keep the digital receipts!
Another way is to seek for permission from the owner to use their work, especially if you know it is going to make a huge part of your work and you just cannot do without it. This works effectively too. Make a written contract. Emails can be good for future references as well, so do not delete them.
Succeeding and taking things to a better level is every one's goal and I know nobody would want a slight occurrence of ignorance stand in their way of attaining such. If you are just doing it for fun and you don't really care if anything happens to your works, this might not be so important for you. Just be careful you do not get sued whilst at it. Ignorance is not bliss.
Anyway, I hope this was helpful.
I am not by any means claiming to know it all, neither am I claiming to be above mistakes. I felt so bad for Linda and it was so evident she just did not know these things. I am only trying to share what I know, so we can overcome those and hope that we can all learn to stay out of trouble. I feel terrible that I am only sharing this now by the way. It is funny how we assume a lot of people know these things only to realize that sharing goes a long way. By all means, if you see something I am doing wrongly, send me an email. I am always very appreciative of people that try to reach out.
P.s. Another tip for bloggers, I also have a disclaimer, especially for my photos on the blog. You want to make people understand that you are not claiming to own their works as much as you can.