Thursday, 17 March 2011

Copyright, Backhanded Compliment or Just Plain Innocent?

There are hard lessons to learn in business nowadays especially in the current times of "where there's blame there's a claim" and anyone who knows me will tell you I still find it surreal when I open a magazine and see my name, or read a blog and see images of gowns we have produced.

I have been caught out however, so I do know what I am talking about.

Last year I blogged about a clients wedding I'd been to see, took some shots myself and got home ready to write.

I wanted to head the blog with a nice picture of the village green where the wedding took place and as I'd forgotton to take a snap, googled images and there was an image which was perfect. One week later I get a bill asking for a four figure sum for non permissive use of a photograph. Expensive lesson to be learned, but a harsh one and one I'll never forget.

After being directed to a blog post today from the lovely Sarah of Leafy Couture regarding our recent vintage style collection launch, I was horrified to find the blogger had simply lifted my whole post and dropped it on to hers. Not only had she done this once, but it appears she has done this dating back to early 2010. There is no contact details for me to politely ask that she stop doing this, or if she wants to write anything, to make it her own words, only the report abuse option, which sadly I have used six times today.

I spoke to the lovely Kelly of Boho Events today and asked what she thought of all this, after all, she is a professional blogger. Here's what she told me.

"When I decide I want to write about someone I go straight to them and ask. Yes I could go and lift a load of stuff from their website and make sure I add a link back to them but if you go straight to them then you often get stuff that isn’t on their website.
For example I am just about to go to Rachel Simpson shoes and ask to write a piece on her. By going straight to her I will get more info from the PR department, more pictures and often you get exclusives.

If I’m putting a mood board together it’s different as there may be 10-15 different images used, BUT always credit where you found the image and the photographer of each image…it takes ages to do but it’s a must.

If it’s a real wedding, I either see a wedding that I like on a photographers blog and I contact them directly to see if they mind me blogging it, they then send me the pictures and info on that wedding, or they contact me with a wedding, either way it’s the photographer I have contact with straight away to get permission to publish the photos, you never know who else has blogged them and if indeed the couple actually want their wedding blogged everywhere.

As for writing the piece. On average a blog piece takes me 2 hours to actually put together one I have re sized pictures written it, coded it, done the SEO and tags etc. the actual research can take hours as well. The piece I did on alternative guest book ideas took nearly all day to write as there was lots of research.
If a company has sent me pictures and words to use to write about them then it’s not so bad, but it’s still the initial emailing that takes the time.

All in all, If you are using pictures taken by someone else of someone else’s work then they must be credited. I even have to credit the photographs I use when it’s weddings I’ve worked on myself…even my own wedding!"

The shoot we did for our vintage collection, apart from the designs which took hours to sketch, the cutting out and making the gowns, which took hours, the hair and make up, which took hours. The flowers, which took hours to make, the headpieces, which took hours to make, the photographs themselves, where the models stood in the cold for 4 hours , took hours to get right, so is it fair that someone can simply come along and lift all that hard work and plonk it on their own blog which takes seconds?

So when you are posting those lovely pictures of wedding gowns or shoes or accessories, or asking someone to copy a wedding gown you've seen but cannot afford the price tag, remember. Apart from the backbreaking work that goes in to producing the image or blog, these images or words are subject to copyright and using them in a public domain could mean you are breaking the law.

So, Lauren of Bride whatever your blog is called, I'm not sure whether to be flattered or angry at your blatent disregard for a craft and would politely request you stop lifting my blog posts and dropping them into your own.

My husband gave me some sound advice. If in doubt, don't!


  1. How rude of her!!! Hope you manage to contact her Linda. xx

  2. Hello There, I came across your blog through re-tweets on twitter. A big Crisp manufacturing company stole pictures from my blog for a huge ad campaign they did two years ago, they were very un-professional to deal with and it took many calls and then a solicitor threat to get them to remove them. This woman should be truly ashamed of herself, I really hope you get it sorted.

    Vi xx

  3. I'd just like to add that Sarah, from leafy Couture, a florist I simply cannot wait to work with again, has had her images used on another website. When challenged, the images were removed. Complete admission of guilt as I see it. Well done Sarah for making contact!

  4. Hope you do manage to get her to remove the copied posts, i know a few fellow jewellery designers have had problems with websites copying not only their designs but even using the same pictures and descriptions! i don't know how they have the nerve to do it.

  5. I once googled an image of the village where a wedding took place and used the photo that came up. However, I did credit the photographer with a link, but she wanted paying for use of a picture without permission. Complete innocence on my part as I had no idea re images, google and copyright. I do however, now know the ins and outs and that photographer was perfectly within her rights. A letter asking for withdraw would have been nicer however!