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Monday, February 9, 2009

Education

Yesterday a google search revealed yet another website that has stolen content from Fashion Trend Guide. Yes, it's frustrating, but it continues to happen. So I persist in adding © logos to my photos and an easy-to-read legal notice on my sidebar, but people continue to violate the law by stealing content from my site. To answer one reader's complaint about why I have a "truncated feed," copyright violations are the reason why I use an abbreviated feed instead of a full one. People actually subscribe to feeds just to copy and paste the content onto their sites. And it's not just me they're stealing from. Often these pathetic sites that steal consist entirely of stolen posts from various fashion blogs. Then, when I contact them to complain and remove my content, they pretend it was an ex-employee who stole it or that they didn't know the content was mine...and then they ask for a list of all the posts that are mine...as if I'm supposed to waste an hour of my time going through their site to find all of my stolen work!

This leads me to believe that:

a) I should be paid to write or develop content for a fashion site instead of having it stolen from me (because apparently someone finds my content interesting or newsworthy)
b) people around the world need to be better educated about copyright law and intellectual property
c) I should consider going to law school to pursue a career in IP so I can prosecute these a**holes
d) this kind of blog theft should not be tolerated in the online community
e) we bloggers need to educate ourselves so that we don't break the law by stealing photos
f) we bloggers need to band together in some way so that our content does not get stolen, or so that we get paid to share content

Fortunately, IFB recently wrote an amazingly informative and useful post about what photos you can and can't use on your blog, and where you can get photos legally. I've been wanting to rant about this topic for many months now, but didn't get inspired until I read the post. One of my pet peeves is and always has been blogs/bloggers that use nothing but copyrighted photography from other sites/photographers...or bloggers that do this and pass the photos off as their own. When I first started my blog, my goal was to use all of my own photos. As time went on, I noticed hundreds of fashion bloggers freely lifting photos from the web and putting a notice on their site that they'd take the photos down if someone emailed them to do so. Note to new fashion bloggers - even though most of us use photos that aren't our own (yeah, I've done it too), this is not ok. We should find legal photos to use or better yet, get out our cameras and start clicking.

In fact, one of the first things I do when reading a new fashion blog is to evaluate how many photos actually belong to that blogger. In my opinion, the more photos that are not their own, the worse the blog. For example, I can see the Sart's street style photos on his site, so why would I want to go to another site to see his work just because some fledgling fashion blogger liked his photos and was inspired to re-post them on their site? The same goes for stealing photos of celebrities. I fail to understand why certain blogs that do this are wildly popular. To me, they lack imagination and originality.

At the risk of ranting on and on about this pervasive problem, I'll just wrap this post up with many thanks to Jennine for covering such an important topic on her site!