I immediately contacted this person to inform her that she was in breach of copyright infringement for using all our images illegally on her site.
This person simply took all the lifestyle images I had spent hours styling and then proceeded to source all the products featured in my styling to simply copy the BODIE and FOU style & collection.I can’t tell you how traumatic and infuriating such experience was. In the end, she took everything off her website and Facebook and apologised.
I don’t want to dwell on this because it makes me feel incredibly sad that someone would do something like this. I still don’t understand what she was thinking off but I would say a few things….
If you are not familiar with the concept of Copyright infringement, here is the Wikipedia definition:
Copyright infringement is the use of works under copyright, infringing the copyright holder’s exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works, without permission from the copyright holder, which is typically a publisher or other business representing or assigned by the work’s creator.
And here is a very good article on how to avoid copyright infringement so if you run a online shop, planning to do it or want to write a blog, please educate yourself. Copyright infringement is a criminal offence and could be a costly mistake (read article about financial penalties here).
Also, running a small business is NOT an excuse. The same way, you found out about Insurance liability, VAT and any other important things you need to know about how to run a business, you need to learn about copyright.
Pinterest is NOT a source of credit. You need to credit either the company that commissioned the images or the Photographer & the Stylist and if you use them for commercial activities, you MUST seek authorisation from the owner of the material, especially if you are planning to use these images for a commercial project (i.e. e-commerce site, press feature, etc).
SOCIAL MEDIA ETIQUETTE
For me, this is the most obvious one. Even if you are not familiar with copyright, the key to become a successful, appreciated blogger or business owner is to be respectful of your peers.
Bloggers are a great bunch and fantastic people to network with and hang out. I have made some amazing friends over the past 8 years from all around the world and I’m hugely appreciative of all the support I have received from bloggers, customers and fans of BODIE and FOU but I also believe that what goes around comes around and if you want to run a successful business, start by treating your peers, customers, competitors with respect and then work hard, aim to be the best of yourself rather than stealing people’s work.
Educate yourself, learn new skills, practice, enjoy being creative. It will be a much rewarding result than copying someone’s work, I promise you.