A fair cop?

The issue of copyright, passing off and trade mark infringement is one with which we are quite familiar since we reported on the Shoeperwoman case back in April. Although Amber managed to get that particular dispute resolved,  it is a problem which is all too common, invariably causing anguish, stress and expense.

Successful fashion bloggers appear to be at disproportionate risk of being ripped off , as Amber has documented in her 'Caughty doing a McNaughty' post where she outlines some of the times she has been imitated online. From the trafficking of teddy bears to finding her stolen body parts on ebay, Amber does seem to have suffered more than most, but it seems an never ending struggle to put an effective stop to it.

We should stress that we have no issue with bloggers and website owners who credit our original content appropriately, but we have occasionally found our words and pictures being passed off as someone else's. So while plagiarism may not seem to be too much of a problem for us, maybe we just don't know about it! Which brings us to the point of this post...

The other evening, a number of emails flew into our inbox in quick succession, alerting us to the fact that one of our images had been stolen and was being used on another website. It was definitely ours, having been taken by Johnny Frocker at a charity fashion  show last summer, and featured a one-off original vintage dress which we subsequently sold, but it was being used by a seller on a well known ecommerce platform to flog her own products.

70s vintage crochet dress

Tweeting the hosts of the seller's account produced (promptly, to be fair) a contact address to request that image be removed and involved our sending an email with details of the infringement. Apparently, the 'take down' could only be requested by the copyright owner, which is why our eagle-eyed informants were unable to report it directly, but they intimated that the person who stole our image is a serial offender when it comes to this sort of thing.

Now we have no issue with the platform owners' speed in actioning our take down request, which happened within a matter of hours, but why on earth should someone who regularly abuses their terms and conditions be allowed to remain an account holder? Surely that's sending out entirely the wrong message? Get caught (oops, just unfortunate), fair cop, take it down, wait a while, repeat the offence.

When it comes to content theft, it's undoubtedly a jungle out there, but thankfully there is help and advice only a few clicks away from those who know much better than us humble frockers. We found this no nonsense post by Gerald Weber, How to Put the Kibosh on Content Scrapers & Thieves, to be especially enlightening, and this 37 page forum thread on the subject of Getty Images copyright infringement is surely enough to send shivers down any potential plagiarist's spine!

Of course, we'd still have been blissfully unaware of the activities of our own latest copycat had it not been for the community spirited actions of complete strangers, to whom we extend our grateful thanks for the timely tip-offs. You know who you are!