Read the Fine Print: Chictopia and Payless Don’t Need to Ask to Profit from Blogger Images
By: Jennine Jacob

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Who owns the content you post online?

We’ve all heard speculation about who really owns the content you put online. Who owns the images you put on Facebook? Who owns the emails in your Gmail account? Who owns your Twitter conversations? Or — closer yet to fashion bloggers — who owns the content you post on sites like Chictopia,, Weardrobe? And what can they do with your content? Back in December, called on its members to submit photos of themselves wearing American Apparel clothing for a booklet. Here the end result is clear, but what happens when you unexpectedly find an image you posted on a network in the style gallery of Payless Shoes?

Erin Hagstrom from Calivintage found out her images posted on Chictopia had been used in the Payless Style Gallery from a newsletter. Keiko Groves from Keiko Lynn found out that her images were used from programmers working on the campaign code. Neither Laura Reilly from Dirty Laundry or Elizabeth Johnson of Delightfully Tacky were even aware of the campaign until we contacted them. The bloggers hadn’t voluntarily submitted images to this campaign, nor were they asked, nor were they told when the campaign launched.

“At first, I was excited.” said Erin. “I wear Payless shoes and they’re a huge company with a lot of reach, so I was excited to have gotten their attention. Then, when I clicked through the campaign, it struck me that this was not a mutually beneficial situation.  The only people who stood to gain traffic or profit from the campaign were Chictopia and Payless.  I was really disappointed because I would have loved to work one-on-one with Payless on a campaign if they were interested in my personal style and my outfits featuring their shoes, but instead they cut me out and worked on a deal with Chictopia instead.”

Can companies really use your images?

At first you might think, ‘Hey, that’s got to be illegal.’ But it’s perfectly legal. In the Chictopia Terms of Service (ToS), users give the network permission to use content uploaded to the site, but you may not catch it unless you really read the fine print:


Chictopia does not claim ownership of Content you submit or make available for inclusion on the Service.  However, in order to display materials you provide on the Service and elsewhere, we need your permission.  As such, by uploading, emailing, posting, publishing or otherwise transmitting Content to any online forum or other feature of the Service, or by submitting any Content or feedback (including, without limitation, suggestions, complaints, ideas, results, modifications, improvements, translations, discoveries and observations) to Chictopia (“Submissions”) by any means, you grant Chictopia a worldwide, royalty-free, fully paid up, non-exclusive, sublicensable, right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, create derivative works of, perform publicly, display publicly, distribute, publish, and transmit such Submissions, including any and all publicity rights therein, in any form, medium, or technology now known or later developed, provided that…

Helen Zhu, founder of Chictopia, didn’t immediately reply to a request for a comment [UPDATE: Helen Zhu, left a comment today, see below, noting that Chictopia is working on adding links within the Payless gallery.]. None of the bloggers who submitted quotes knew about this aspect of the terms of service. Laura says, “I had no idea about either this clause or the fact that my photo was used on the Payless website. I don’t suppose I mind too much, although it would have been nice for Chictopia to have even attempted to contact me to inform me of this. Finding out this way really adds a negative spin on the whole thing, it could have been rewarding to see myself featured by such a high profile company but instead I feel like my property and rights have been violated.” Keiko and Elizabeth admitted they did not read the terms of service either, and noted that it was their responsibility to do so. has a similar clause in its ToS:

You own all of the content and information you post on In addition, for content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos, you specifically give us the following permission: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with (“IP License”). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account.

Yuri Lee of Lookbook didn’t immediately reply to a request for a comment. [UPDATE: Yuri Lee did respond via email May 5, 2010 “Since LB began we have always adhered to the fact that all content uploaded to the site is completely owned by the author,” in reference to the ‘You own all of the content and information you post on’ verbiage in the clause. She continues, “We do everything in our power to make sure that whenever we ourselves or anyone we work with uses LB content for promotional purposes, such as re-posting looks on our Tumblr or Facebook page, it always links back to the original author’s look page.”]

Facebook, MySpace, Weardrobe, I Like My Style, and Modepass all have similar clauses in their terms of services. So if you ever wondered why a bloggers image on a fashion site had a credit to MySpace instead of the blogger, perhaps the blogger has simply been cut out of the equation. Twitter also has a the similar wording in their Terms, however, they clarifiy to their users that this wording is simply an authorization to make the tweets available to the world ‘But what’s yours is yours – you own your content.’

Many bloggers begin their journey from a passion, an obsession to share, to create, to meet new and interesting people. They build their blogs from the ground up, spending hours honing their talents to create something good. For them, it’s often a labor of love. Meanwhile, it’s their “user-generated content” that social networks rely on to create an audience and make money. What if there was no one on Facebook? Would you go there? Probably not. It’s no secret that one of the ways bloggers meet new potential readers, get inspiration, and build their own brands is by spending time on social networks. Larger websites like, TeenVogue, Seventeen, GlamourWhoWhatWear Daily, scout social networks for potential features. Bloggers rely as much on social networks as do networks rely on bloggers to direct more traffic to their sites.

What can bloggers do?

Does this sound rather Orwellian to you? Well, it should. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We’re merely lulled into the feeling of powerlessness by fear of losing the opportunity to someone who won’t complain. Bloggers have more power than that. Blogger Alyson Woods of Alyson is Neat Twittered: “As a former SEO [Search Engine Optimization] worker, I know what a blogger’s opinion is worth trafically and monetarily, most companies under value them totally.” Elizabeth pondered in reaction to the Chictopia and Payless campaign, “With all the hullaballoo about bloggers being unethical in their relationships with brands, one has to stop and wonder if the opposite isn’t true as well, perhaps more-so.

As a fashion blogger you want to grow your blog and you don’t want to turn away opportunities, but should companies be able to profit so blatantly at your expense? Without your active consent?  In an environment where bloggers struggle to get $25 a month for a banner ad, perhaps it is time for change. It doesn’t start with keeping quiet. Erin elaborates why she came forward: “Basically, I’m interested in advocating a fair relationship between businesses, bloggers, and networking sites.  These businesses need to understand that it is not a fair practice to cut out the blogger…. Bloggers spend a considerable amount of time styling up their outfits, doing photo shoots, editing the images, and creating unique content to share on the internet.  While we provide this content for free on our blogs, it is our right to be able to receive compensation if someone else wants to use it for profit. It’s our time, dedication, and creativity.”


  1. Ashe Mischief says:

    Fantastic article, Jennine, and I’m glad you wrote it.

    There have been many times I’ve thought about using those sites to promote my plus-sized styling and fashion– I even have accounts with a few of them. I’m negligent of reading the TOS thoroughly, and I APPRECIATE that those bloggers involved acknowledge they made that same error. It’s grown up and responsible to admit your own shortcomings in this.

    However, I think that there is an abusive system going on–how hard would it have been for Chictopia to contact the bloggers and say, “Hey, you’re going to be featured in this”? At the very least, it shows a fundamental lack of respect– not only for the bloggers, but for their own community.

    While you have a great point about how bloggers use the community, these owners need to recognize that without the support, interest, and activity of the bloggers– they’d have no site. Just like Facebook, if they keep changing their TOS and people start leaving, suddenly the value of the business you’ve built is lost. There’s enough outcry at these sites for promoting an incredibly homogenized view of women and style, but to violate a blogger’s participation? I wouldn’t be surprised if more and more bloggers delete and deactivate their accounts.

    Like with text link ads, bloggers really need to VALUE the work they are doing and other bloggers are doing, or they need to get out of the pond. There are going to be tons of people who don’t care, but that apathy hurts the rest of us.
    .-= Ashe Mischief´s last blog ..Links à la Mode: The IFB Weekly Roundup =-.

    • Profile photo of Jennine Jacob
      Jennine Jacob says:

      i never really read terms of service either, most of it is legal-speak anyway so it’s hard to know what they’re really going on about, and what powers your are relinquishing. this is obviously a worst case scenario.

      But yes, the looks on these what are you wearing sites tend to be very homogenized and curated, which is strange because they’re supposedly ‘real people’

      It’s really time for bloggers to own up to their value. It doesn’t start with keeping quiet.

  2. verhext says:

    I haven’t been a chictopia fan for awhile, but I cannot figure out how to delete my profile! They don’t even have a help or contact link!

    The sheer amount of money these aggregate sites are getting from companies like Payless or AA blow my mind.
    .-= verhext´s last blog ..calico & wingtips =-.

    • Profile photo of Jennine Jacob
      Jennine Jacob says:

      yeah, i just deleted all my photos from there. my profile is still up. I’ll have to delete all my info too.

      • verhext says:

        How did you do it!? I can’t figure it out! Not that they’d ever use me, I’m far too curvy.

        Also, after I tweeted about it, Chictopia added me on twitter. What?
        .-= verhext´s last blog ..calico & wingtips =-.

  3. Kasey says:

    I think one way to stop this from happening is for bloggers to close their accounts on such sites, especially if they aren’t even willing to give their side or comment on the situation. I’ve come to exspect this type of behavior from a large company, but from someone who is running network and who probably was a former fashion blogger themselves I exspect more.

    • Profile photo of Jennine Jacob
      Jennine Jacob says:

      well, it’s obvious that the terms of service should change on these sites if they want bloggers to promote them so badly. as you see in twitter, the clause is there merely to publish content you upload on the site. however, in this case it was taken to an extreme. networks should have been smarter than to use bloggers content without asking first, or anybody else for that matter, becuase that merely causes them to lose trust in the whole system.

  4. erin s-l says:

    well of course they cut her out- when did anyone ever get the impression that big companies want to share any profit, unless they are required to by law?
    .-= erin s-l´s last blog ..HAPPY MOTHERS & FATHERS DAY! =-.

    • Profile photo of Jennine Jacob
      Jennine Jacob says:

      well, it’s in a companies best interest to behave ethically, at the end of the day, it always comes to light.

  5. Kimmoy says:

    See this is exactly why I think it’s important for bloggers to join affiliate/ad networks as much as possible. If the blogger takes the time to drive traffic to the merchant’s website they should be compensated for it when their readers buy from the merchant. Companies like Payless are taking advantage of the power of a blogger and too many bloggers are letting them get away with it too.

    This is an excellent post and I hope it inspires bloggers to take a stand and re-define the relationships they have with said companies so that it is mutually beneficial.
    .-= Kimmoy´s last blog ..Plus Size Wardrobe Essentials for Work to Evening Chic! =-.

    • Profile photo of Jennine Jacob
      Jennine Jacob says:

      I’m not sure how ad networks or affiliate programs protect bloggers…can you clarify?

      • Kimmoy says:

        I was just saying that is a way for bloggers to get compensation when they do blogs about merchants like this.

        As for as protecting bloggers, it’s a matter of really monitoring your content. You can find duplicate content through sites like or monitor any mentions about your blog/name using google alerts. One can also take a step further by taking their copyright more seriously so that they can dispute issues like this.

        Hope that helps a bit :)
        .-= Kimmoy´s last blog ..Plus Size Wardrobe Essentials for Work to Evening Chic! =-.

  6. shauna says:

    I am so glad you spoke out about this! I have been debating whether or not to stop posting my photos to these types of sites due to these clauses and types of activity but my blog is so new and I don’t really know any other way to let people know about it other than through these types of niche social community sites. It really bothers me that content I created simply for people to enjoy is being used by multi-million dollar companies to profit. And while I do use affiliate linking on some of my outfit posts it is mostly to make it easier for people to find something if they like it while hopefully covering my hosting costs.

    Mostly credit needs to be given where credit is due.
    .-= shauna´s last blog ..Whispering Flowers =-.

    • Profile photo of Jennine Jacob
      Jennine Jacob says:

      yeah, that’s the thing, how do you get yourself out there without the networks? leave comments on other people’s blogs i guess. links a la mode… there are some ways to do it, but even i rely heavliy on traffic brought to me by using social networks.

  7. holierthannow says:

    So what did Erin do in the end? Is she still on Chictopia? Did she address it with them? < — Not that I think I have a right to know the answers! But it would be interesting to learn how this thing resolves itself.
    .-= holierthannow´s last blog ..Closet Cleanse =-.

    • Profile photo of Jennine Jacob
      Jennine Jacob says:

      we’ll see. i still haven’t heard from chictopia, i guess they don’t think IFB is worth answering to.

  8. Grit and Glamour says:

    AWESOME article. This is why I am such a huge fan of IFB.

    Jennine, you raise real issues and share vital information with your blogger community that can be found no where else. Thank you.

    I’ve only recently started posting to and Weardrobe, but I’m really on the fence about using these sites. One, for the reasons in this article, two, because it’s a pain in the a** to post photos to multiple places, and three, because the sites really seem to have favorites…like I’m ever going to get the chance to be featured? Not. They keep featuring the same few over and over. I don’t know if I want to be part of a community like that.
    .-= Grit and Glamour´s last blog ..WVW: Private Safari* =-.

    • Profile photo of Jennine Jacob
      Jennine Jacob says:

      often times i’ll do a investment/return assesment on sites, if they allow a link back to my blog near the picture, and they don’t take much time i’ll do it. but if they don’t, well… that’s another story.

      • erindyan says:

        That’s why I went with Weardrobe, they let me set it up to link back to my blog as a caption on each photo, but this gives me pause. Not that they HAVE done, but they might, and should Target ever call on their services..well I’ve got a big red X right on me!
        .-= erindyan´s last blog ..An Eclair! Eat It! =-.

  9. Laura says:

    that sounds like what Erin would say. If it doesn’t give her more attention, of course she’s going to complain.
    Through these sites, bloggesr get more traffic especially for people like Erin who post their images on every single networking site they can and tweet every 2 seconds about it.
    I don’t understand these bloggers who are complaining. it’s obvious that Chictopia, Lookbook, and Weardrobe are there to make money and of course you when you post your image on their sites they’re going to use it.
    If you don’t like it, then Don’t Post your images on fashion networking sites.

    • Profile photo of Jennine Jacob
      Jennine Jacob says:

      Laura, personal attacks aren’t very helpful, in any way shape or form.

      In regards to why bloggers are complaining, is because they weren’t asked, they weren’t compensated, and they value their work. And it’s not obvious that these sites can use your images on third party sties for income. Fair enough they use it on their own site, but on a third parties? That’s a breach of trust, which in the end hurts everyone.

  10. DailyDivaDish says:

    Thanks so much for writing this post. When I see bloggers on brand sites – I figured they were being compensated in some way. It’s really surprising for me to hear this is oftentimes not the case. I agree with Ashe: “it shows a fundamental lack of respect– not only for the bloggers, but for their own community.”

    Thanks to this post, I have a feeling that going forward, many bloggers (including me) will pay more attention to the fine print.
    XO Piper
    .-= DailyDivaDish´s last blog ..$100 Beauty GIVEAWAY! =-.

    • Profile photo of Jennine Jacob
      Jennine Jacob says:

      Yeah, it’s not often a blogger is compensated for their work. Most bloggers happily do things for free, or for the opportunity for exposure. And yeah, now I too am going to read these terms, and I’ll now know what they mean.

  11. crosby says:

    I was aware that brands that worked with Chictopia for contests would then be allowed to use images submitted to that contest as content, but not that any images submitted could be taken off the site and used in whatever capacity…that doesn’t seem to serve Chictopia that well – there must have been some kind of payment to Chictopia for the use of these images by Payless.

    There is a clear response to me – bloggers organize and threaten to remove their content without an opt-in process when images are being taken off the site – and I would hope, a requirement that all images include a link back to either the users’ Chictopia profile or personal blog. These sites are nothing without the content that you provide. Yes, it’s often a mutually beneficial relationship, but there is a severe lack of agency here for users that I find disturbing.
    .-= crosby´s last blog ..La Jolla Fashion Film Festival Defines the Fashion Short, Revitalizes San Diego Fashion Community =-.

    • Profile photo of Jennine Jacob
      Jennine Jacob says:

      I too thought there would be some kind of opt-in process, not just a terms posted on the site. Each time you upload a photo, unless you re-read the ToS (which is very long and winded) you may be submitting your photo to all kinds of things. As in the ToS states, they can change at anytime without notice.

  12. lisa says:

    Thanks for a great article highlighting such a relevant issue for fashion bloggers, Jennine. As Ashe said, it was a very disrespectful move on these networks’ part to not even consult the bloggers.
    .-= lisa´s last blog ..Fawning Over Gentle Fawn =-.

  13. The Clothes Horse says:

    I’m really glad you guys are talking about this b/c it is something that has been getting under my skin for awhile. It really is a catch-22 for bloggers b/c social networks can be as a beneficial as they are being abusive. It’s also good to read this b/c it is something I never realized as a new blogger and hopefully it can protect some newbies from skipping the fine print as so many of us do.
    And it definitely annoys me since so many pr companies or “mainstream” media likes to talk about bloggers being unprofessional or unethical, but never talk about how bloggers get used. Yes, some bloggers aren’t the most upstanding citizens, but true media should be covering all sides of the story and how bloggers frequently get treated in this manner…and I do mean frequently. Also, this policy clearly doesn’t just hurt bloggers but nonbloggers who use those sites as well.
    .-= The Clothes Horse´s last blog ..Winged Insects and Honey-Gatherers Of The Mind =-.

    • Ann says:

      For the record, Clothes Horse also writes for Chictopia. Not fair to attack Late Afternoon just because she came out defending Chictopia and Clothes Horse did not.

      • Ashe Mischief says:

        I think that Rebecca makes fair arguments, regardless of her relationship to Chictopia. If anything, I think the fact that she is willing to state, several of these companies do this and it’s a catch-22 overall shows that she is unbiased in her opinion of it, and is protecting her primary asset–herself and her blog. She’s being honest, which lots of bloggers aren’t willing to be.
        .-= Ashe Mischief´s last blog ..Links à la Mode: The IFB Weekly Roundup =-.

      • The Clothes Horse says:

        In my opinion: I don’t see this as attacking Chictopia specifically. I think it’s an article and it uses examples from several social networking sites. Chictopia isn’t the issue or villian. I don’t see why one of the several sites mentioned needs to be specifically addressed in defense or othersize…
        I also think this article is very fair in discussing how to weigh the decision to upload your pictures; i.e. you can get exposure/be scoped out.
        Like I said before, it’s a catch-22: we have to read the fine print and make an informed decision if we are willing to sacrifice the right to our images when we share them.
        .-= The Clothes Horse´s last blog ..Winged Insects and Honey-Gatherers Of The Mind =-.

      • Profile photo of Jennine Jacob
        Jennine Jacob says:

        i do not know if rebecca ‘works’ for chictopia. so i can’t confirm or deny that.
        however, i do know that liz does.

        • The Clothes Horse says:

          I’m not entirely sure what category to put the “work” I do for Chictopia into. I’m not part of their core team, however I do write a few posts for Everybody Is Ugly a month. I consider myself a freelance writer; I don’t have an exclusive contract or affiliation with Chictopia. So, I have/do “work” with Chictopia.
          .-= The Clothes Horse´s last blog ..Winged Insects and Honey-Gatherers Of The Mind =-.

  14. K-Line says:

    J: Orwellian indeed! This is very eye-opening and an excellent expose. I can’t believe that Chictopia would participate in this (not that I’m a member). And I can’t believe that a corporation would use blogger faces without even attempting to contact them and ask permission.
    .-= K-Line´s last blog ..The Times, They’ve Changed =-.

  15. Mary says:

    Wow, it’s just crazy to find out that they are using these women’s images without even mentioning it to them beforehand.

  16. AlysonIsNeat says:

    I added my two cents on my blog about this situation. Often companies are always doing shady things on the internet but this payless/chictopia nonsense is pretty shocking… Check out more of what I have to say on my blog Alyson Is Neat

  17. Kelsi Smith says:

    This has made me quite cross this morning. It’s so utterly disrespectful.

    Seriously considering ending affiliations with Chictopia. I want to see how this plays out first.

    Honestly if I’d found my image on there they’d have hell to pay, tos or not…

    It’s the level of respect that is completely lacking, something you’d expect from a large corporation but not companies started by fellow bloggers. It’s selling out (and selling us out with them with no choice in the matter)
    .-= Kelsi Smith´s last blog ..Links à la Mode =-.

  18. Keiko Lynn says:

    I think a big issue here is that we, as bloggers, need to take control of our own identity. We need to be aware of the terms of service, and carefully consider our relationships with not only social networking platforms, but also the brands we choose to represent (indirectly OR directly).

    In my case, I didn’t read the TOS and that’s my own fault. I don’t really mind that they used my photos (though a heads up would have been courteous). I understand that Chictopia (as well as lookbook, weardrobe, etc.) affords me a larger audience and directs new traffic to my blog, so I feel like they are entitled to gain some profit from my own image. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship, though I’m sure they are making a heck of a lot more in comparison.

    Basically, it might be an ethically grey area, but I won’t pretend I’m a victim here. It would have been cool to have them link back to my blog, but other than that, no harm. Now, if they start selling my photos to a porn company or something…that’s when I’ll pitch a fit!
    .-= Keiko Lynn´s last blog ..Come Fly With Me =-.

    • Ashe Mischief says:

      Keiko, I have so much respect for you for A) admitting you didn’t read the ToS as carefully as you should have (like I didn’t), and B) that you recognize that it’s mutually beneficial but you wish that they’d done things differently.

      I think that’s what bothers me most– not that the photos were USED–but that they showed no courtesy to the bloggers.
      .-= Ashe Mischief´s last blog ..Links à la Mode: The IFB Weekly Roundup =-.

      • Keiko Lynn says:

        Thank you! I do think that since it has been brought to the public’s attention, there will be some changes. Or, I hope so. IFB has a great amount of influence…which is why we should all appreciate articles like this:)
        .-= Keiko Lynn´s last blog ..Come Fly With Me =-.

  19. LateAfternoon says:

    I actually see nothing wrong with this. If you signed up for Chictopia you have agreed to the terms of service. If anything being featured like that gives you and your blog exposure. Why is blogging becoming all about money?
    I completely disagree with Erin. I was just featured in Vogue Germany and I didn’t know until a reader told me. Was I mad that they didn’t pay me or even ask my permission? No, I was flattered and happy just to be featured.

    I think that bloggers should be more cautious about reading terms of service on these sites and be aware of how these things operate. I also think it’s distasteful when bloggers come forth with anger for the same sites that made them popular.
    If you have a problem with being featured in campaigns without making money of off it, stop posting on the site and re-think why your blogging. If all you want is to make money and get “fame” than don’t talk about you creative integrity.
    Blogging is about sharing and inspiring. If you are able to make money off of it, thats great but thats not what it should be about.

    • Ashe Mischief says:

      To be honest, there’s a lot I agree with — but for me, this issue ISN’T About the money. It’s the basic courtesy to say, “Hi there! Chictopia has partnered with Payless to feature bloggers who use their products, and your submissions are among those chosen. If this bothers you, please let us know.”

      How HARD would that have been? I agree that we should read the TOS carefully– I agree that blogging shouldn’t be about money– but I also think a site like Chictopia should RESPECT the relationship they have with bloggers, and the fact they WON’T EXIST without bloggers, and at least send a courtesy email.
      .-= Ashe Mischief´s last blog ..Links à la Mode: The IFB Weekly Roundup =-.

    • Keiko Lynn says:

      I actually agree with this entirely. In the case of brand identity (like this one, with Payless), I would appreciate a heads up because there are some companies I would rather not be associated with. In this case, I don’t mind – I wear payless shoes and I choose to represent them by listing my shoes as such.

      But really, even without linkbacks (which are always nice, to be honest), I am always flattered when someone chooses to feature me or my photos in an online publication or elsewhere. As long as it’s relevant (like I said – please don’t go selling my photos to porn sites or something), I don’t see the problem. Personally. I put my image out there; I kind of view my photos as public domain.
      .-= Keiko Lynn´s last blog ..Come Fly With Me =-.

      • Grace says:

        The whole problem is the fact that it DOESN’T give your blog exposure! Payless doesn’t link to the blog – they link to Chictopia! That’s the whole point. If Payless had linked to the blog and cut out the real middle man (Chictopia) this kind of wouldn’t be an issue.

        You were featured in Vogue Germany, and their feature was directly related to you. Awesome. They didn’t profit off of it. That’s the distinction! Payless profits when they show cute, stylish girls wearing Payless products! You are turning the question around by asking “Why is blogging becoming all about money?” Who’s making money here? Not the bloggers!

        I don’t see anything in this issue that is about bloggers making $$ off of exposure. That’s a straw man argument and not at all what this is about. If my blog is featured on Jezebel, I don’t make any money from it. I might get more *traffic,* but traffic DOES NOT EQUAL MONEY.

        .-= Grace´s last blog ..Bec & Bridge bring sporty to another level =-.

    • Profile photo of Jennine Jacob
      Jennine Jacob says:

      Interesting perspective. However, you did not disclose that you work for Chictopia.

      People aren’t upset so much as money is exchanging hands, people are upset because money is exchanging hands AND bloggers weren’t notified or asked.

      Sure, it’s legal, it doesn’t make it ethical. Reading this comment, makes me firmly believe that it’s at utmost importance to talk about companies who take advantage of bloggers. Particularly when Chictopia sends it’s workers to leave defensive comments.

      • LateAfternoon says:

        Chictopia NEVER asked me to leave this comment and doesn’t even know I did since it’s my day off and I am out of town. I left it not because I work there but because I disagree on my own accord.
        If this was about LOOKBOOK or Weardrobe or Stylecaster I would have said the same thing.

        • Profile photo of Jennine Jacob
          Jennine Jacob says:

          Liz, you still *should* disclose who you work for when leaving comments like this. That would be the most ethical. I believe you didn’t know that, but you really should. Whether or not Chictopia asked you to leave a comment makes them look bad if you don’t.

        • Profile photo of Jennine Jacob
          Jennine Jacob says:

          It also doesn’t help that Chictopia has not responded to my interview questions, yet they decided to follow everyone who tweeted the story on twitter. Even more bad PR tactics.

    • Rachel says:

      If Vogue Germany used your photos with out your permission, they broke the law. Plain and simple. I worked as a photo editor for the last 4 years, and am astounded someone working at a legitimate magazine would even attempt to do so. They should, and do know better.
      .-= Rachel´s last blog ..Nathalie Lété at Anthropologie =-.

      • Jessica Bronx says:

        I agree with Jennifer on this. Liz or late afternoon should have mentioned that she works for Chictopia. If her picture was used on another site without her blog mentioned I could see her being extremly pissed off. If it’s funny how she wrote, ” If all you want is to make money and get “fame” than don’t talk about you creative integrity.” because all I see on her blog is advertisements and her asking for people if they’d like to sponser her blog. I wonder now who the money seeking fame whore is?

        • Catherine says:

          I understand why some people are in disagreement, but is it necessary to refer to those stating an opposing comment as “money seeking fame whores?”
          .-= Catherine´s last blog ..And then there’s no mystery left… it’s bad news. =-.

        • LateAfternoon says:

          Making money off of your blog is not the problem it’s when you make it a priority thats is. You clearly don’t read my blog very much since I’ve asked people to sponsor my blog once and stopped doing it thereafter. Many other bloggers tweet about it and have pages within their blogs dedicated to letting companies know how they can advertise.

          Yes, I have advertisements, but if I didn’t I’d still blog.

          As for being a “money seeking fame whore”, well you are entitled to your opinion. I could care less if that’s what you think.

        • Profile photo of Jennine Jacob
          Jennine Jacob says:

          Hi Jessica, we really shouldn’t be making personal attacks on bloggers. Thanks.

    • Kelsi Smith says:

      Honestly, Chictopia has bugger all to do with my popularity. My hard work and dedication, providing original and interesting content has got me where I am as a blog. Not posting my picture on site.

      And whilst I never got into blogging for the money (honestly who would?!) it’s about time that our hardwork and influence are recognised and rewarded as opposed to used and abused, as is very much the case here.

      Someone has a lot to gain from this and it is not the people who provided the talent and style for the images, and I see a lot wrong with that.
      .-= Kelsi Smith´s last blog ..Links à la Mode =-.

  20. Fajr | Stylish Thought says:

    I certainly thinks there’s a risk with everything we place on the internet and as bloggers we should be versed in what the risks are. And since this was not a case of Payless taking the images directly from the bloggers site, I think that that would have warranted more outcry.

    However, I do think it is the responsibility of Chictopia to contact its members and let them know that their images would be used in a marketing campaign. And I feel that if Payless can offer links to the blogs of the pictures they used, then the situation could be salvaged. I just think as we live our lives online we need to fully aware of the terms.

  21. Anna says:

    Just wanted to add my 2 cents about the situation and play devil’s advocate a little bit. I feel that Chictopia and other “what I’m wearing” sites are extremely sensitive to the needs of their audience. I think their partnerships and giveaways are always on par with what their members want so I don’t think they partnered with Payless with intentions of hurting people. Of course there’s the issue of Chictopia making revenue off of their end of the deal but that’s what companies do. They need to make money to keep the site running!

    While bloggers can take their content off those sites, isn’t it kind of biting the hand that feeds? I think plenty of big time bloggers started out small on sites like Chictopia & Lookbook. It’s a great partnership tool and hope both parties (bloggers and web sites) can come to an agreement.

  22. Winnie says:

    I’m so glad that you wrote about this as it’s something that I’ve never really thought about before. I’m now well aware of the possibilities that come with sites like that and it definitely worries me that in some extreme circumstances, bloggers can really be taken advantage of and not feel any of the benefits at all.

    Times like these I am so glad that IFB exists for all us bloggers! Thanks Jennine!
    .-= Winnie´s last blog ..Tales of the sewing machine… =-.

  23. Kristina | Pretty Shiny Sparkly says:

    I’m so glad to have this brought not only to my attention, but to the entire blogosphere. Everyone needs to retweet this article and include @Chictopia, @Weardrobe and @Lookbookdotnu in the tweet (although Jennine it is still RT’ing thecoveted, didn’t know if you wanted to change that to _IFB!).

    It’s time we demand a little more respect from the companies surfing this new wave with little reciprocity. Sure we may post things for free on our blogs, but yes we DO spend a lot of time styling, photographing, editing, and writing for our outfit posts — I for one am totally at fault for not realizing the TOS of the top three outfit social network sites.

    I’m itching to just delete all my accounts there (it’s a pain in the ass anyway and actually doesn’t drive much traffic to my blog anyway) but I’m wondering if I should hold out and see if the top 3 will make some statements or change their TOS due to backlash. The best way to make a change is to stand together and be heard – our voice is what makes us so powerful, we are bloggers, after all!

    .-= Kristina | Pretty Shiny Sparkly´s last blog ..She Used To Tie Her Hair in Ribbons & Bows =-.

  24. megannielsen says:

    Gosh I’m so glad you wrote about this, I really had no idea… and honestly I’m shocked! you’ve really got me thinking seriously about deleting my profiles on Chictopia and Weardrobe. I just can’t decided whether it’s worth it…
    .-= megannielsen´s last blog ..forgotten treasures =-.

  25. Keiko Lynn says:

    I think this article has been really great – it’s something that has obviously been on everyone’s minds, yet no one has really done anything about it. I love open discussions like this…I think everyone (almost everyone) has made valid points. It seems like most people are not okay with their images being used. I don’t think it’s realistic to ask all of these companies to overhaul their terms of service – but we can encourage bloggers to be aware of what they’re getting themselves into. If you want full ownership of your images, sites like this should absolutely be avoided. But not just fashion sites – host your images on your own private ftp! Flickr also has some wonky terms of service. My images were used without my permission more than once, because I hosted them on flickr.

    Regardless of how anyone feels about this discussion, I just think it’s important that we start reading over everything and carefully evaluating the pros and cons of being so accessible on the internet.
    .-= Keiko Lynn´s last blog ..Come Fly With Me =-.

  26. annabel (blushingambition) says:

    What all of this boils down to is that, without these social networking sites, most of the bloggers mentioned would not have the opportunities that they have encountered thanks to the attention and readers that these platforms provide easier access to. I agree with Liz, since when did it all become about compensation? I’m not against people who receive revenue from advertisements (in fact, I have thought about finally opening up my blog to a certain amount of sponsors after turning so many down in the past few months) but if people are going to complain about companies supposedly taking advantage of them, the moment blogging becomes “all about the money” you’re merely a slave to a corporate structure of attaching a value to a creative outlet such as fashion blogging. I find it sad when many bloggers today can talk about is gaining compensation for exposure and increasing their amount of readers just for more sponsorship opportunities. Whatever happened to genuinely writing for an audience interested in what you have to say or photograph?

    In any case, read the terms of service before you sign up for anything since it is, in fact, a contract.
    .-= annabel (blushingambition)´s last blog ..finding a balance =-.

    • The Greyest Ghost says:

      As someone who doesn’t even have ads on her blog, I think it’s safe for me to say that no, I would not be happy if my image was used by chictopia and payless with out my permission or with out crediting me. Maybe it is about money for some bloggers. But it comes down to the fact that Chictopia is gaining something financially, while NOT EVEN LINKING BACK TO the bloggers involved.”

      “What all of this boils down to is that, without these social networking sites, most of the bloggers mentioned would not have the opportunities that they have encountered thanks to the attention and readers that these platforms provide easier access to.” –How do you think people find said blogs if links aren’t included???
      .-= The Greyest Ghost´s last blog ..Nathalie Lété at Anthropologie =-.

    • Corks + Caftans says:

      “Whatever happened to genuinely writing for an audience interested in what you have to say or photograph?”

      I actually totally agree with this, Annabel. I get really disheartened by the whole compensation thing, like it’s a barometer against which we measure our blog’s success. I measure mine by the awesome interactions I get to have over email with complete strangers that make my day!

      I went to the Chictopia conference in NYC and it was a total bust. I left before the first hour was up. The conversation/panelists discussion went almost IMMEDIATELY to “How to handle PR companies sending you tons of free s**t, oh man this is so tiring, no more free stuff pls…” and I’m in the audience thinking, “what? how is this even relevant?” and that right there is the whole problem. You could tell half the women in there were DYING to get sent free stuff. It was really disheartening. I thought it’d be this great inspirational meet-up, but it was canned and sounded like a PR person actually organized the event.

      Que sera sera. What can’t be turned into a business in the end, anyway. Other than, like, a machine that gives you papercuts for fun.
      .-= Corks + Caftans´s last blog ..Bring back the Dough-boy! {updated! For real!} =-.

  27. Kristina | Pretty Shiny Sparkly says:

    Just in case anyone’s curious, I’ve read parts of the TOS on Chictopia and you can request your account be deleted (thus voiding their TOS any any power over your content) by emailing !
    .-= Kristina | Pretty Shiny Sparkly´s last blog ..She Used To Tie Her Hair in Ribbons & Bows =-.

    • Robyn says:

      Does that mean you’ve decided to delete your account, Kristina? I’m still on the fence, waiting it out, like you mentioned earlier. I’m interested to see what happens over the next couple of days and weeks.
      .-= Robyn´s last blog ..Did you miss me? =-.

      • Kristina | Pretty Shiny Sparkly says:

        I am still undecided but am considering deleting Chictopia since it’s kind of a pain in the butt to work with (vs. weardrobe & lookbook). I may delete that one and see how I feel. I honestly am not as impressed with Chictopia (a little too commercial in feel for me — chicpoints to buy things? ermm) as with Lookbook or my favorite, Weardrobe.

        • Robyn says:

          I agree with that, actually. I haven’t tried Weardrobe, but I find a lot more relevant and easy to use than I do Chictopia. Plus I thought that Yuri’s most recent comment was respectful and well thought out. I’d rather be a part of a social community that values its members!
          .-= Robyn´s last blog ..Did you miss me? =-.

  28. The Greyest Ghost says:

    I’m really disturbed by this. I’m no law expert, but I don’t understand how they could get around using model releases. We had to use model releases or permission forms for EVERY non-agency or non-commissioned photo we ran at every magazine I’ve ever worked for. TOS that they know no one likely reads is a very sneaky way to “steal” permission and get images releases from users. The Fashion Spot actually has a very similar note in their TOS, that once I read, prevented me from ever uploading any of my runway/fashion images to their site. Not sure if other people uploading my work (which happens a LOT) qualifies as giving them permission to use them though. That’s a very scary grey area.

    And way to be lame, chictopia. You could have at least notified the blog’s owners, and credited/linked. Being lazy just cost you a bunch of users. So glad I’m not, and will now not ever be a member.
    .-= The Greyest Ghost´s last blog ..Nathalie Lété at Anthropologie =-.

    • verhext says:

      Most sites like that make you check that you are the owner of the work you’re uploading, so if they used your work someone else uploaded, you could definitely make them take it down or compensate you.
      .-= verhext´s last blog ..calico & wingtips =-.

  29. Wanderlusting says:

    This is really interesting…I don’t think I have any images up there, so I’m good (not that they would use ME anyway)

    I’m also more interested in this “hullabaloo” about bloggers being unethical with their sponsors….. care to elaborate more on that? Seems like something I have always suspected…



  30. Wanderlusting says:

    ^^ I just don’t see why if a blogger is getting paid by say, Miu Miu or whatever to wear their clothes, why not disclose it??

    Anyway, that’s obviously another topic :)
    .-= Wanderlusting´s last blog ..Coachella (Clusterfuckchella) Festival – Day One =-.

    • The Clothes Horse says:

      You’re right on the money about the ethics. But I think the grey area is when Miu Miu sends you something for free but doesn’t pay you. You aren’t getting “paid” to say something positive, but you’re probably thrilled by free things and likely to say something positive, no? Some people don’t think they need to say it was given freely, others think that this is another thing that should be disclosed to the readers.
      I do have my personal view on it, but ultimately I think we need to acknowledge that it is a grey area with no easy answer.
      .-= The Clothes Horse´s last blog ..Winged Insects and Honey-Gatherers Of The Mind =-.

  31. Delightfully Tacky says:

    In my opinion, our generation does not take a lot of responsibility when it comes to watching out for ourselves. Pretty much every site we visit requires you to “agree to terms of service” and we click “ok” without even a thought to actually reading what those terms entail. While I’m miffed that I was not even alerted to this collaboration between Chictopia and Payless in which my image was used, I understand that it’s my fault for not being a more vigilant blogger.
    From my perspective, I get a lot of traffic from places like Chictopia and Lookbook, so I don’t foresee myself deleting my accounts. Plus, I enjoy the community. Yes, I would like to see a change in the TOS to be more blogger friendly, but for now I think it’s the blogger’s/user’s responsibility to be smart about their content and where they’re posting.
    .-= Delightfully Tacky´s last blog .. =-.

    • Catherine says:

      I certainly agree with you. The terms of service seem to be there just for legal purposes – who actually reads them? And that’s part of the “problem.” Sure, I might be a little angry if a photo of mine was used for the financial gain of others, but I happen to enjoy these communities and have personally benefited from them.
      .-= Catherine´s last blog ..And then there’s no mystery left… it’s bad news. =-.

  32. Corks + Caftans says:

    I’m o-v-e-r Chictopia anyway. I always felt like it was a little bit clique-y and certainly tends to reward a select few over and over… while I was throwing pebbles into the Mississippi with my photo posts and heartfelt comments to other girls. I’ve basically all but bailed out. It seemed like posting a photo of myself was taking 30% of my blog and whoring it out. But I’m a wordy mofo. My blog tends to attract a different kind of audience, I learned pretty quickly.

    In any event, I’m so turned off they couldn’t even CONTACT them! What is that?! I don’t think it’s biting the hand that feeds you to be upset about that, but dude. It’s not that hard to give them credit. A lot bigger feats on the web have been accomplished before than editing HTML to give you a link to a blog.

    Thanks for reminding me why I don’t post there anymore. I sincerely feel like it takes the heart out of blogging and promotes only the less visceral aspects of it. Which isn’t my bag, baby.
    .-= Corks + Caftans´s last blog ..Bring back the Dough-boy! {updated! For real!} =-.

  33. Robin says:


    I found this retweeted to me. This happens all the time. Constantly. It’s really simple.

    Anyone in the creative field, professional and novice, copywrite your work. As a
    published writer and artist, it is imperative. Do so before posting on internet.
    There are copywrite certifications for all genres. Visual arts and written
    works. However, you must take the time to do so prior to any public view. Time
    worth these headaches and stories as these. A woman in Iowa made a craft design
    at her local shop. Ralph Lauren stole the design concept. Graphic Artist’s Guild
    protected her, suit to Lauren, Inc. These unions handle millions and protect
    you. You have to do the homework and study your rights. Once certified, there
    are attorneys in the guilds of artists and writers. This is a law that social
    networks have NO authority over. Even if posted on your site. The government
    statutes of the copyright office secure you. From there, you have rights to
    cease and desist any entity. Even large corps from reproduction,etc. Check the
    guilds for photographers and writers. Make sure they are the national
    associations. I have done so for myself. Which I learned from my father who
    worked in the industry. (Vogue, being one). Even after 30 some years, if I post
    a silly cartoon, it has copywrite certification.

    Again, imperative in the business of creative field. Anyone even playing with their creativity in the beginning stages (poet, painter, fashion blogger, photographer, stand up comedian) Copyright your work with the National Copyrite Office and study the Guilds there to protect you.


  34. thefatandskinny says:

    Thanks for writing this article Jeannine. Once again you have brought forth an excellent debate/issue concerning blogging. I really don’t think this has to do with money at all like some people keep bringing up. I think this has to do with people using your photos without your permission. If I put a picture up on a website, and someone wants to use it, I would hope that they would ask me first.

    • Corks + Caftans says:

      it does have to do with money…. if Payless is making money from it and/or paying Chictopia for the collaboration….
      .-= Corks + Caftans´s last blog ..Bring back the Dough-boy! {updated! For real!} =-.

      • Ashe Mischief says:

        I think she meant it’s not about the bloggers asking for money, like people are acting like. I don’t think bloggers are upset they’re not getting compensated for it– many seem to think that a link to their site would be well enough.
        .-= Ashe Mischief´s last blog ..Links à la Mode: The IFB Weekly Roundup =-.

  35. Rosie says:

    This is a very interesting issue. As an attorney focusing on these issues, I think it is incredibly important for bloggers to protect their rights, whether it be trademarking their blog name, copyrighting all images and content, or simply reading the TOS. There is so much stated in TOS’s that no one ever reads – this is an excellent reminder to do so.

    I’m really interested in this and plan to do some research over the weekend about some issues that come to mind.

    • FashionAddik says:

      I think this is an important issue…Great Article Jennine… I think that bloggers are getting the raw end of the deal. I agree with Rosie we should look into protecting our brand. Now that blogging seem to be BOOMING we need to take the necessary steps in protecting ourselves. This is something that always made my blood boil because we as bloggers spend A LOT of time preparing and really taking the time out to produce quality work. I’ve heard TOP fashion editors and many people in the industry say “why do we even consider inviting bloggers to fashion shows they are not editors like us, or its such a waste of time”. However people fail to realize that we are all working for the same cause. Just look at how far blogging has evolved over the years; you have PR Firms reaching out and sending materials for US to post on our website. We are the next generation and we are just as important as the next man. xo

  36. Eli says:

    It’s kind of funny for the commenter to say her photo was used from a german mag w/o her permission because it makes me think it was taken from something like Chictopia where her permission wasn’t needed. We just need to connect the dots.

    These sites dont really drive more traffic except towards themselves. Why then would they make it so hard to link back to your own blog on your profile? Or on your photo without doing some digging? The bottom line is that it IS UNETHICAL. Not hard to understand. Bottom line is that it wasnt too much work to let these people know. Or to put a disclaimer “hey if you’re using Payless shoes you might be featured” And as bloggers we should care because it drives no traffic towards your blog. I just deleted all the photos I had on Chictopia, Lookbook, and Weardrobe. Adios.

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Much obliged.

    • Keiko Lynn says:

      About connecting the dots: I’m not 100% on this, but you are probably right. When I was featured on Vogue Germany, they took some pictures from lookbook. However, they (Vogue) were very courteous and emailed me to let me know they were planning on running a feature, asked for higher res photos, etc. So yes, in that case, they probably received permission to use her pictures from a third party.
      .-= Keiko Lynn´s last blog ..Come Fly With Me =-.

      • Eli says:

        Why wouldnt you want a hi res photo of yourself shown? or text showing your website? It’s a courtesy and sometimes law. I mean, what is stopping anyone from using any of the photos just by contacting Chictopia/Lookbook/Weardrobe. You lose your rights to yourself.

  37. Nickie Frye says:

    Just so I’m clear, Payless included a link to Calivintage’s blog, right? If that is the case, then I’m not completely horrified. If they just ripped off images & never said who the person was, or provided a link to their blog/shop, then that would be REALLY bad. Since the terms were clearly stated in (chictopia’s) TOU’s, it seems legit to me. Should the TOU’s be changed? Probably.

  38. Glendy says:

    You know I stayed away from these fashion outfit sites for a while since I was very distrustful, last month I tried to apply to and filled out my info and they didn’t even respond to me, now Im glad my blog and style was not good enough for them haha. I had chictopia and had only one pic and later took it down, I guess next time I should just trust my gut and stay out of them for good. Thanks so much for the info it really helps us fashion bloggers to understand how this works. Also please guys don’t undervalue your work, it is ok to e-mail back companies who want to be featured on your blog with your ad rates and press kit, your internet is not free, your electricity is not free, they have a bigger budget than you, if they’re interested in your site so badly they’ll be willing to become an advertiser.

    Much love,
    Glendy <3
    .-= Glendy´s last blog ..Nine West Fall/Winter 2010 Preview: Fred Allard’s World Tour =-.

  39. Madeleine Gallay says:

    Lots of points of view. Because things that we cannot possibly anticipate happen on the internet, I wonder if there is a way to simply leave a watermark on your work, yes another step, or add the name of your blog to the photo. Not sure of the technical things but you can, and probably should, stick certain keywords into the html of your uploaded photos to help those spiders that find you.

    It seems from a business point of view that chictopia et al would want to credit bloggers to get more traffic for themselves from happy users. Hmmmmm.
    .-= Madeleine Gallay´s last blog ..FIGS: FIGS and Bow Ties and School Uniforms in the Developing World =-.

    • Eli says:

      They would probably take down the photos with watermarks I would think. They are not in the business of brining you traffic, but bringing it to themselves. It makes sense when you put a badge on your blog, you bring them traffic, the equivalent would them having a huge blogroll of all the people who participate and have blogs. They dont link back, they dont care.
      .-= Eli´s last blog ..A Love Story =-.

  40. AlysonIsNeat says:

    In an ideal world, do you think this whole thing would be different IF Payless had incorporated links to the Chictopia users profile. That way at least the user would get recognition for it. A link goes a long way, but I’m guessing because Payless would prefer you to look at their shoes than someone’s blog… yeah.

    The thing is most of us if not all of us, blog for enjoyment. Heck, I blog for enjoyment, I just have adsense enabled so that after a month I can get a movie ticket, right? But when a company comes across your blog and first offers you that shiny piece of money… it is shocking, and scary and you don’t really know what to do… and you feel like you have to reply right away or else they are going to move on. The scary thing is in other niche blogs, people talk about this. In mommy blogging, product blogging, finance blogging, people talk pretty openly about this, I don’t think its ever reached the tipping point for fashion bloggers and I think an occurence like this one with chictopia and payless has pushed it to that point.
    .-= AlysonIsNeat´s last blog ..Fashion and SEO – Mix #1 – How sponsored content works =-.

    • Kelsi Smith says:

      I agree with much of what you said, I think the links would have made a big difference.

      My only niggle, and you’re not the only one who’s brought this up so please don’t think I’m singling you out, why does this have to be an either/or situation. Is their some rule about earning money for what you enjoy?

      I blog for enjoyment, but it’s also a job, I love doing it, but it’s also hard work. I feel that much of this thread has criminalised those bloggers who not only love what they do but see their site as a blossoming business and that’s not fair.
      .-= Kelsi Smith´s last blog ..Links à la Mode =-.

      • AlysonIsNeat says:


        I totally agree. Isn’t that the American dream? To be making money off of something you love. AND I see nothing wrong with having sponsorships. My argument and I think what is being pushed across here is that bloggers should give themselves a little bit more credit. This chictopia/payless thing has brought up so many good points that have the fashion blogging communtiy all abuzz! Finally people are expressing how the feel. And that’s good.

        Does all this make sense?
        .-= AlysonIsNeat´s last blog ..Fashion and SEO – Mix #1 – How sponsored content works =-.

  41. Nickie Frye says:

    Hold it! I just went to the Payless site to check this out for myself & alas THERE IS NO LINK to (Calivintage’s) blog/chictopia account. I retract my earlier comment. They should’ve added a link.
    .-= Nickie Frye´s last blog ..vintage Batik Romper with Fish Print =-.

  42. Rachel says:

    I have to agree with Liz on this standpoint – putting yourself out on the Internet entitles a multitude of people accessing your personal life, and HELLO, with a click of a button, can save your image to their computer. Yeah, kinda creepy. If you’re exposing yourself and expecting people to not act upon it, you’re being naïve. You will get creepy, bitter, or sweet people who get passionate about your blog for whatever reason. Filtering out the praise you want / don’t want simply is too much to ask for, and should you decide that “hey, I do want the attention, and I do want to showcase my style to the world”, you can’t cry to yourself at night if someone takes advantage of that – be it commercially or even psychologically.

    I also think it is silly that Liz is being put on blast simply because she interns for Chictopia, because in the end, the issue discusses *bloggers* being taken advantage of and Liz DOES have a personal blog. It’s like me saying, Jen can’t defend her own article because her opinion is biased. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Because this goes far beyond Chictopia and Payless – this applies to all companies that DO in fact take advantage of bloggers.

    I’m not going to lie; I despise getting impersonal emails from PR who uses an automated email service to spam your inbox asking you of favors and nothing in return. And technically, I don’t think companies are in legal trouble if they take images from your site if you have no disclaimer of copyright on your blog. Yes, it gets annoying when companies try to take advantage of the little guy and merchandises your image without permission, but read the fine print, read the invisible Internet do’s and don’ts pamphlet.

    All I’m saying is: don’t take this blogging thing too seriously. If a company steals your image that you posted on your blog without copyright, take it with a grain of salt and entertainment that someone out there finds you inspiring enough to be an image of their company.

    Thanks for the article. Despite my laissez-faire viewpoint, I do think this is an important issue that should be discussed behind companies to establish a more efficient relationship with bloggers.

    • Kelsi Smith says:


      “All I’m saying is: don’t take this blogging thing too seriously. If a company steals your image that you posted on your blog without copyright, take it with a grain of salt and entertainment that someone out there finds you inspiring enough to be an image of their company.”

      This paragraph upsets me – a lot.

      I’m not sure I have the energy to go into how destructive this sort of attitude is with regard to the internet. If a company steals my image, they’re doing just that. Stealing. Just because we’re “bloggers” doesn’t mean we can’t and shouldn’t be held to the same standard.
      .-= Kelsi Smith´s last blog ..Links à la Mode =-.

  43. Alicia - Sea Of Ghosts says:

    I think we’ve all learnt a valuable lesson – read the contract before selling your soul.
    .-= Alicia – Sea Of Ghosts´s last blog ..My Mum Thinks I’m Cool =-.

  44. grechen says:

    a lot has been said here…but i think the most important thing to take away, is that it’s not only about money, it’s about respect. reality is that when you demand payment for your time, efforts, and content, you are also demanding respect. payless respected chictopia enough to pay them for “their” content, but neither company respected the bloggers enough to include them somehow, either by linking to their blogs, or some other way of compensation that would be somewhat beneficial to the blogger, payless & chictopia. instead, chictopia & payless are benefiting monetarily from the people who they’re cutting out of the equation entirely.

    i’ve been posting outfit pictures since 2004 and never once thought about posting on any other site but my own…precisely for the reasons jennine mentions in the article…

    on a not-entirely unrelated note, bloggers who make money are not evil. you can be creative and independent & helpful to your community AND make a living from it; being able to support yourself AND doing what you love DO NOT HAVE TO BE MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE. bloggers who submit their images to social sites do need to read the TOS more carefully, and at this point have no recourse financially, but there is NOTHING wrong with their feeling a little miffed that their content is being used and they are not being compensated for it in any way. jennine has said it before here too, but you as a blogger are WORTH something. your time is your own, and if anyone wants to claim it, they should pay for it. be respectful of YOURSELF, your work, and your time.
    .-= grechen´s last blog ..25% off handbags at Zoe =-.

    • Ashe Mischief says:

      Grechen, I love you.
      .-= Ashe Mischief´s last blog ..Links à la Mode: The IFB Weekly Roundup =-.

    • Marie Denee says:

      You could not have said it any better! I have read, reread, and sat back in thought, and yes, the bottom line here is respect.
      Whether or not money exchanges hands with anyone, the common courtesy on either Chictopia and/or Payless should have been warranted!
      .-= Marie Denee´s last blog ..And the award goes to… =-.

  45. WendyB says:

    Great story. Shows how important it is to really read the ToS — of course, everyone knows they should, no one does, and companies count on that. I’m really scared of Facebook, Flickr and the like and am always wondering if I should delete my content from those places.

    In general, I’m tired of people who make money off my labor telling me that I should be flattered by their interest in using me. As Jennine knows, I just dealt with a PR company representing another jeweler that used my name and an image from my blog in their pitch letter…they added insult to injury by sending that letter to most of MY blog roll. So basically they used my design skills, my manufacturing skills, my blogging skills and my networking skills in order to make money for themselves. They told me I was unprofessional for complaining and that I should take it as a compliment. Fuck that! They get money and I get “flattery”?
    .-= WendyB´s last blog ..Non-Outfit Post: White Leather Jacket =-.

    • Eli says:

      Oh man, I was waiting to see what you had to say about this Wendy. And what it boils down to is the courtesy to link back to the blog, the creator of the content. It is misleading. Really, these websites make money off the labor of others. Blogging is work, hard work.
      .-= Eli´s last blog ..A Love Story =-.

  46. Heather says:

    Great article. I’ve had this happen to myself, as well. Went to the Payless website to check for a sale, and was greeted with an image of myself on the home page linking to the “style gallery.” I’d never submitted my photo for consideration, or was even aware of a gallery there, so to call it a surprise is definitely an understatement. Makes me wonder how often you show up somewhere without ever knowing.
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Tidbits from the past week. =-.

  47. Sonia says:

    wow….I have followed the strong debate of ethics and blogging for the last year but this argument really rang true. My blog is not profitable and I use it for my own personal opinion and content, but, if someone were to take that content and make $$$ off of it instead of me….well that just sucks.

  48. Unfunded says:

    I think everyone needs to realize that the reason one person started blogging may not be the same reason someone else started blogging. Not all fashion blogs are the same…we are not a cookie cutter bunch. Some treat theirs like a work of art, some treat it like a magazine or business, and some treat it as a mix of the two. If you started blogging because you wanted to turn it into a profit-maker then why is it so wrong that you want to get paid for what you produce? What’s so wrong with wanting your site to grow into something that supplements your income a bit? We should be applauded for our efforts…we’ve gotten the attention of an entire industry – why is it so wrong to want that to grow into something profitable?

    There is such a double standard between digital media and print media. Magazines inspire people and publish creative content and, holy crap guess what??, they get paid to do it! They receive daily shipments of a bunch of products from various merchants who hope to get their product featured. And I guarantee if Payless posted an article or editorial on their site that was originally published in a top magazine, with no credit back to that magazine, they would have hell to pay.

    Why does it have to be so different for bloggers? If we are going to be taken seriously then we need to step up and make ourselves known by demanding credit and/or compensation, for those who want it, for the content we work so hard to produce. Otherwise this ridiculous behavior displayed by Chictopia and Payless will never end and blogging, especially in the fashion industry, will never evolve into something greater than it already is.
    .-= Unfunded´s last blog ..Need a dress? Blow out sale at =-.

    • Vinyl says:

      So…….. did you ask for permission to use all of the photos from other brands that are all over your blog? You would like to “demand” credit and/or compensation for the ability to right-click and post other companies’ work when something that you’ve taken from somewhere else is then in turn taken from you?

      You see, nobody here is responding to that issue. You need to think about the hypocrisy.

      • Jillian says:

        I think that most people would agree that it is proper to cite your sources for images – certainly there some legal standards for this And many companies have been upset when their images, particularly ad campaigns, are leaked on the internet. It’s and issue of control – control over how and when their images (ie property) are being used. Even though it is easily argued that the added exposure is free publicity for their brands. Remember the Susie Bubble / Pam Hogg incident. Brands, just like bloggers (who can become/act as brands), can have very strong feelings about how their “property” is being used.

        Obviously if you agree to the ToS, your legal rights are negated but I do think that this explains the FEELINGS that people are having in response to this issue. It definitely makes me rethink my relationships with social media networks and if enough people are turned off by this type of behavior, it becomes less about feelings of respect, which are very important anyway, and it becomes about business. Is this a good business practice? Is this the way to build strong relationships with users? I think these companies will find that it’s not.
        .-= Jillian´s last blog ..The Oxford Chronicles: Christian Louboutin =-.

        • CocoJones says:

          That’s a really interesting comment. Reading this I’ve realised it would be better for me to include links to all my sources, rather than just cite them by name (which I always do, but to be honest with you, sometimes when an image has been re-posted, I might use it without even knowing the original source – I think I should really try and find the original source in future). It might be good if we could have some standard ‘best practices’ for things like this, or at least as an agreement between bloggers about how we use each others images.
          .-= CocoJones´s last blog last week darling… =-.

          • Citizen Rosebud says:

            Agreed. I try to link, and definitely name original source of images culled from the web, or otherwise. HOWEVER, it would be UNTHINKABLE to use such a borrowed image and profit from it the way Payless has used blogger’s ie Calivintage. Any other medium and a law suit would be done quicker than a sneeze from a flower.
            I don’t believe its hypocrisy to speak out against a corporation APPROPRIATING “cool” and profitting from someone’s elses’ image, images, whatever. They should pass on some compensation (it’s in an advertisment, fer chrissakes) since they are making a killing from it.
            .-= Citizen Rosebud´s last blog ..the Rosebud Romper =-.

      • Gleenn says:

        Oh, that’s very good question Vinyl. However, my answer is very simple. Some companies approach me to write about their products – of course I can use their photos – to create buzz and traffic and THEY PAY ME for that. So when I use the photos of a brand that I so like and blog about it without getting paid, that is what I call FREE BUZZ. Why would they be upset about it when they get free advertising from me? But what about this poor bloggers whose photos were used for such ad? They they get any benefits from it? Who got the buzz? The blogger or the shoes?
        .-= Gleenn´s last blog ..How short do you wear shorts? =-.

  49. Helen says:

    Hi Jennine,
    Sorry I didn’t get a chance to reply to your questions yesterday. I’ve been super busy working on some major site improvements for our users and haven’t had time to catch up with email. We just did a major release to the site a few minutes ago and I just got up to speed on the topics you’ve covered in this write up.

    It’s great to see so many Chictopia members voicing their views on the community here on IFB. I cannot express how valuable their feedback is to us. Erin’s thoughts on getting her Chictopia profile linked by our partner is heard, and we are currently working on a solution to address this and make our community happy :-)

    As far as terms and privacy policy is concerned, Chictopia is a social network to help bloggers get noticed, just like how Youtube is a platform to help filmmakers distribute content. Chictopia’s terms of service is no different than that of Twitter, Facebook, and many others. The Twitter widget on the left column of IFB’s blog pulls in tweets done by you, and sometimes you retweet content submitted by a third person. The third person may or may not realize that his/her tweet is seen on IFB, but people who submit to Twitter understand there is some level of public visibility involved in participating in a social network, both within the community and beyond. The third person may never know that his or her tweet was displayed on IFB, but I would not assume that the intent for IFB or Twitter is to exploit the third person user whose tweet got retweeted by you and displayed on your website.

    The same rule applies to Chictopia. Members and bloggers post photos, comments, reviews, or other content to get noticed. The contribution material may get tweeted, reblogged, and pulled on retailers’ sites for further recognition. If members would like to reduce their level of public presence, they can simply change their photo setting to “friends only”, or private.

    As far as our future partnerships and site improvements, this article on Chictopia summarizes it all. Thanks for stopping by Chictopia!

    • Kelsi Smith says:

      A tweet is VERY different to a photograph… a tweet is also always linked back to the original source. So this is not a valid comparison.

      The article I read on Chictopia suggests this is something we can expect more of in the future. If that is indeed the case I shall be shutting down my Chictopia account.

      I have no interested partaking in a community that lacks community values.
      .-= Kelsi Smith´s last blog ..Links à la Mode =-.

      • Ann says:

        Tweet or photo, you are giving that site permission to use that content, the only difference is what the site has specified to be their content. Terms & Conditions are all the same. As far as linking back, Helen addressed that concerning Erin’s comment. So, don’t get why you say Chictopia lacks values. I for one am happy that the issue is being acknowledged.

    • AlysonIsNeat says:


      Thank you for responding and clarifying the Chictopia side of this issue. Although, the widgets that are avaialable to view tweets, replies, and retweets are rampant upon a lot of blogs, they do provide a link to access the tweet as well as the twitter profile. I think the main problem with the Payless/Chictopia partnership is that the images do not provide a direct way to access the users Chictopia profile (and sorry I do not even know if you can view someone chictopia profile without being a chictopia member). Which in turn means that the people viewing these images are just viewing images and the users who bought the shoes, wore them, styled them, uploaded them to Chictopia, are not receiving a backlink. The additional issue was that no notification was provided to users that this partnership was occurring. A simple e-mail to the users announcing the partnership, would have given users a heads up about the fact that their images were being used, but also allowed for some of this public conversation to be had in private.

      The fashion blogging world is still new and evolving, but I think the conversations like this that we have, the better fashion blogging will be.
      .-= AlysonIsNeat´s last blog ..Fashion and SEO – Mix #1 – How sponsored content works =-.

    • Amy says:

      I’m so confused by the youtube analogy, because essentially you’re saying that musicians who put their music on Youtube agree to the possibility of their songs being lifted by Youtube, sold to a 3rd party company/website such as 1-900-PORN (for their theme song), but it’s OK because it’s in the terms of service and 1-900-PORN listed the musicians name on their website and they should just be happy for the exposure?

      • Sarah says:

        i feel like this comment is a little exaggerated. it’s not as if chictopia took the images and put it to a site that was like… “pictures of people that are nazis”

        payless pulled relevant content of people wearing payless on chictopia. if these users don’t want to be associated with this brand they shouldn’t wear it, period.

        if a musician put a song on youtube about 1-900-porn, then maybe 1-900-porn would contact youtube – if youtube owned that music – to use it. anyway many times record labels own the rights so it isn’t ever up to youtube or the musician but i don’t know the terms of service for youtube since i don’t use it much. don’t know much about copyright law either, but i’d assume if the music is copywritten then youtube does not have the right to distribute it for monetary gain but that isn’t the case with these photos.

  50. Kelsi Smith says:

    So I guess we can expect more of this in the future then…

    Looks like I’ll be closing my account after all. : (
    .-= Kelsi Smith´s last blog ..Links à la Mode =-.

  51. Catherine says:

    I don’t think the actual argument at hand is about Chictopia vs IFB… admittedly, I’ve been a member of Chictopia for far longer, and I’ve won a contest, receiving a “prize” (trip to NYC) which must have cost a considerable about of money. So perhaps I’m biased? But I’m not going to blast either one, or more importantly, any individual person.

    The concept of blogging being a job for me may seem ludicrous, considering my lifestyle, but I understand that for many, it is indeed a source of income. But this isn’t a matter that pertains to just money. I understand that having your photos being used in places other than the original spot can be anything from surprising to disturbing, but keep in mind that you agreed to let that happen.

    I quite like fashion website communities – such as that of Chictopia and Lookbook – they’re not just about trying to get your images out there and post a link to your blog. And yes, there may be some motivation that lies in money. Maybe I’m not doing something right, but blogging doesn’t feel like something I should be paid for. Again, each case is different, I suppose, but if I agreed to it though I did not realize it, I wouldn’t really care. I guess Payless is a bigger company than some that bloggers team up with, and the reach of Payless’s website is pretty large, but it’s not like I haven’t seen my photos on various blogs while browsing. Underneath the photo, something such as “via Chictopia” or “from Lookbook” was posted, excluding a link, but I was still flattered to see it.

    I don’t feel that I’m making too much sense… it’s a Friday night and I’m considerably tired. But come on – personal attacks are completely unnecessary. I also find it rather petty and a bit ridiculous, especially since the moderator seems to be encouraging it. And I apologize if I’m making false assumptions, but there’s just some implied insults. Not cool.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..And then there’s no mystery left… it’s bad news. =-.

  52. Huma says:

    Look, ignorance of the law is no defense. These deals are perfectly legal because users agree to them when they sign up and click “I Agree” to the terms. Yes, few people read the terms. That doesn’t make the contract any less valid or enforceable. It’s no one’s fault but your own if you cant’ bother to read these terms, or know beforehand what they say, since they’re pretty standard. If you don’t like it, don’t sign up. All this ‘this has got to be illegal, blah blah, make them take it down’ stuff is seriously annoying. As a law student and imminent-lawyer, nothing annoys me more. Take personal responsibility for the things you sign or otherwise agree to, be informed, and stop thinking that anything that is wrong/unfair is something you can sue over, because that’s just not the case.

    Okay, rant over! 😛

    • Jillian says:

      I don’t think that many people are saying that ToS should/can be ignored. I think this article was a reminder to read the ToS and was helpful in showing readers what can happen if you don’t. I also think that many people are voicing their desire for a change in the ToS or at least increased communication between social networking sites and their users. I think all of the users implicated in this story has taken responsibility for their actions and now we are all wondering how to proceed from here.
      .-= Jillian´s last blog ..The Oxford Chronicles: Christian Louboutin =-.

  53. Kasey says:

    The retweeting comment was not a defense to the fact that you are not crediting someones work. The retweet gives the persons name and links back to their profile, and even their website, twitter widgets, and using someones photo without notifying them for profit are two totally diffrent things!

  54. Kid Couture says:

    I haven’t seen the Payless spot first hand, but did notice that they used Erin’s alias “Calivintage” as well as her photograph. The ToS clearly states that you surrender the right w/out royalities…blah blah blah to use photographs (as stated early nobody reads them and only a few understand legalese).

    BUT!! Had Calivintage been a registered trademark or copyright I wonder if there would be grounds for a suit? What do you guys think?
    .-= Kid Couture´s last blog ..What They Wore: Coachella =-.

  55. Regina Dixon says:

    Thanks for a great article! This was really educational and I hope that more blog readers read this and take it seriously…

    .-= Regina Dixon´s last blog ..GIVEAWAY!!! =-.

  56. Kid Couture says:

    If Calivintage is or had been a registered trademark or copyright wouldn’t there be a legit cause for a legal action. Not because they used the picture, but because they used her name without permission, and attempted to profit from it?

    Every blogger should copyright and or trademark their intellectual property when time/money permits. Just my two cents. What are your thoughts on how we can better work with these companies?
    .-= Kid Couture´s last blog ..What They Wore: Coachella =-.

    • CocoJones says:

      That’s a really good point, I will def find the time to do this for my blog. I think the ‘Creative Commons’ license is the easiest one to use, and it’s free
      .-= CocoJones´s last blog last week darling… =-.

    • Patriciann says:

      FYI, you may want to bookmark the US Copyright site and spend some time this summer making it your best beach buddy. The touchy situation here is the Disclaimer in the Fine Print. Companies know they cannot swipe content from your site (not that a few haven’t tried) but have themselves covered when you post to a social network.

      Here is a case of Fair Use gone wrong

      • Kid Couture says:

        From what it looks like above, Lookbook has the right to use any IP you post. So if you post images only and not your copyright registered name in this case (Calivintage) then they’d have no right to correlate that name with her pictures…but I guess there’s no point in doing that.

        All of this could have been avoided with a “congrats you’re in our website” email and a link to her site by the photograph. I mean good grief, the length these losers will go to shit on people is despicable.

        New solution, boycott and delete your Chictopia and account…send them a clear message that we are not to be fukd with.
        .-= Kid Couture´s last blog ..Phoenix Live at Coachella 2010 =-.

        • Gleenn says:

          Oh, I’ve just been thinking about your solution. But I don’t have much photos to delete from chictopia. I was always wary about this fact that I am not comfortable uploading a lot of outfit photos there nor in other social networking sites. But I’m guilty of doing so at fb.

  57. Empress says:

    Wow I can’t say I’m not surprised, Companies are finding sneakier ways to cut out the middle man. And it really sucks that the middle man has to be us bloggers. Bloggers who by their own love and dedication give these companies free advertising, in my opinion one of the most powerful forms.

    This article was very enlightening, and I’m sad to say it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Not by what the author has to say, but how bloggers continue to be cheated, and in such a brazen fashion.
    .-= Empress´s last blog ..Lookbook: McQ by Alexander McQueen F/W 2010 =-.

  58. FASHION SNAG says:

    Lesson learned.

  59. Vinyl says:

    I’d like to be a polemicist and bring up a few points because this discussion is a bit self-insulated…
    There also seem to be two points being hashed out: are bloggers able to monetize their work, with the other being the protection of the work.

    As a business owner, but not a blogger, I can only point to something regarding the second issue. There’s discussion in this thread, including a comment from someone claiming to be a lawyer, about copyright and trademark issues.

    As a general rule, one thing that bloggers do not seem to comprehend is that merely linking to the original source, or crediting, an image of content that you have included in your blog falls short and, in legal actuality, would be a violation of copyright. You must ask for permission to reproduce material that is copyrighted – and the permission can be denied. Do all of you contact each and every rightful owner to ask for permission to reproduce what you include in your blogs?

    Having had images and content taken from my business as long as blogging has existed, which is now many years, I can count the number of times that permission has been asked on one hand.

    Please, all of you, take at least three deep breaths before you get all in a lather about my comment, and think about everyone’s part in this. Whether for better of worse, the internet has made content a lot less precious – not just yours.

    • Ashe Mischief says:

      Vinyl, you should look up the IFB article on Fair Use, which many blogs actually would probably fall under.
      .-= Ashe Mischief´s last blog ..Links à la Mode: The IFB Weekly Roundup =-.

      • Vinyl says:

        Thanks for the suggestion – could you provide a direct link? Can’t respond until I know what it references : )

        • Ashe Mischief says:

          There’s a search box at the top of the page. All you had to do was type in Fair Use.

          And if you don’t know what fair use is, I think you shouldn’t go around making legal arguments and defenses without knowing the law.
          .-= Ashe Mischief´s last blog ..Links à la Mode: The IFB Weekly Roundup =-.

          • Vinyl says:

            Ashe Mischief –

            Thank you for the link. I, in fact, did use the search button at the top with the phase “fair use” and nothing constructive appeared. I’m mystified where the animus in your tone comes from…..? Regardless, this should be a factual discussion.

            I am well aware of fair use – and more importantly copyright and trademark law. My brand is trademarked, and I have fought to protect (always successfully) copyright and trademark infringement of my company, content, and brand.

            The information in the link provided appears elsewhere, originating on wikipedia. All well and good – it doesn’t include anything new that would change my point being made : )

            Again, the point being made is that bloggers are wishing to have it both ways – crying foul when many (perhaps not all) have appropriated the work of others. Getting back to the original point of this thread: users on chictopia, whether they’ve read the TOS or not, have agreed to it. In the case of a blogger taking someone else’s work, there is no agreement, explicit or implicit.

        • Ashe Mischief says:

          No, the information in the link I shared did NOT originate on Wikipedia. That post was written by a friend of mine, who is a practicing lawyer (along with her husband) in IP law.
          .-= Ashe Mischief´s last blog ..Links à la Mode: The IFB Weekly Roundup =-.

          • Vinyl says:

            There is text in that post that appears on wikipedia – perhaps your friends contribute to wikipedia. Of course everyone could be pulling it from the same case : )

    • Ashe Mischief says:

      here is where your argument breaks down– a blogger using your image without permission sucks. But they are not directly making money off the specific use of your image. If they were selling copies of your images, then they would be in violation of your copyright law. Which, as most blogs I read go, that is not the case.

      When a user uses your image to illustrate a post and sells advertising space, the money earned has nothing to do with the inclusion or exclusion of your image, because your image is a small, small percentage of a whole– hence the fair use argument.

      This is what Chictopia has done– they are taking other people’s pictures and selling them for their own benefit. Yes, people should be aware of the TOS– I’m not saying they shouldn’t. But the images that they have created, and may have protected under Creative Commons copyright are being sold as is.
      .-= Ashe Mischief´s last blog ..Links à la Mode: The IFB Weekly Roundup =-.

      • Vinyl says:

        There’s a lot of information freely accessible on the Stanford law site, UTexas, and many others.

        Good luck everyone!

      • CocoJones says:

        Thanks for this info Ashe, really informative! Definitely a good point about the profit issue, to me that seems really clear cut.
        .-= CocoJones´s last blog last week darling… =-.

        • Gleenn says:

          Oh, I’m with you Ashe! Even if referencing the source of the photo isn’t sufficient, but if you speak about those products without getting paid, why would the owners like trademark cry foul? I guess the only time they cry foul about seeing their images on your blog and your words about them if and only if your readers did not turn out their buyers!

          You made great points in the issue of fair use.
          .-= Gleenn´s last blog ..How short do you wear shorts? =-.

  60. Sonia // Dozen Dresses says:

    I agree with most of what’s been said – I blog for fun not money and I also join those fashion sites for fun, and any exposure that comes out of it is great. However the law is the law, and yes if you don’t read the rules then it’s kind of your fault that you didn’t know that… but I really do think that it’s just polite, courteous and ethical to at least let the blogger know that you are using their content and link them (not just the fashion network) at the very least.
    It’s really just impolite not too, and a small thing like that doesn’t take time. Losing a couple of minutes to shoot a few emails off is far less trouble than losing the trust of your members.

    From now on I think we’re all going to be a bit more careful! And while I know I am a bit uncomfortable using these sites now, I want to see how it all plays out.

    But can anyone tell me how exactly I can copyright my stuff?? :) xx
    .-= Sonia // Dozen Dresses´s last blog ..Once Upon A Time There Was A Magazine… =-.

    • Vinyl says:

      Unfortunately, you cannot claim a copyright for things that you didn’t create, which includes a lot of images that you have copied from brands and designers and posted on your blog. You aren’t the person who originally created those works – someone else did, and they have legal claim to copyright.

      • The Clothes Horse says:

        No offense Vinyl, but she didn’t ask how to copyright your materials, she asked how to copyright her own and if she’s uploading pics to Lookbook/Weardrobe/Chictopia then she is generating/producing those images.
        Now, work you produce: literary, pictoral, intellectual property, etc is automatically copyrighted whe you produce it.
        However, if you want to get legal about it you should register your work(s). Here’s the page for the US Copyright Registration of Online Works:
        .-= The Clothes Horse´s last blog ..Blue Elephants On Parade =-.

        • Vinyl says:

          No offense taken, I’m sure : )
          I understood Sonia’s question – she asked how to claim copyright on her materials. I looked at her blog. She has materials that are not of her creation.

          Are you suggesting that she put copyright symbols on her pictures only….. and leave the borrowed ones alone? I suppose that’s a solution. Generally, a website or blog uses the boilerplate language for claiming copyright on its entry page, or as some sort of footer, or both.

          I can assume, of course, that when you recommend that people file copyright protection you’ve read the entire form and calculated the financial cost of taking those steps? It should be noted that material that has already been published, ie, a blog, that’s in the public domain, cannot be submitted for copyright after the fact. Again, it’s not always a necessary step, and for some bloggers, who are in their early teens, the filing fees might become burdensome (isn’t it $35/item, approximately, that’s registered? You can correct me on that if that’s the incorrect amount).

          Have you considered the time frame for approval and registration of copyright? If someone wanted to start a blog, not already in the public domain, and copyright, how long would they have to wait to hear back from our .gov to find out if the claim has been granted?

          • Kelsi says:

            Vinyl, I’m having trouble responding to you when you seem inept to read others posts, but here goes.

            Any original material she has produced is ALREADY copyrighted, in that SHE produced it.
            .-= Kelsi´s last blog ..Lookbooker of the Week: Kristania P =-.

          • The Clothes Horse says:

            Vinyl, obviously those are factors to consider, anyone who reads about copyright in-depth knows that. I don’t feel like arguing about it, but I don’t think cost or time should prevent someone who is determined to protect their work.
            A person asked how to do something and I feel that that is the only question that needed to be answered here. Other queries are off topic and unnecessary.
            .-= The Clothes Horse´s last blog ..The Terrorist Rabbit =-.

          • Gleenn says:

            I am actually curious Vinyl if I’m guilty of using your images that you had laboriously protected and mainly referenced you? I am eager to know. But why do you hide your link from us? You seem to be reading everyone’s blog on here and we would like to see your copyrighted stuff too.
            .-= Gleenn´s last blog ..How short do you wear shorts? =-.

      • Lauren says:

        Vinyl – the images in question are her own outfit shots, which she is asking how to copywrite. Not any images that may or may not have come from other sources.
        .-= Lauren´s last blog ..A Catch Up =-.

    • CocoJones says:

      I think you can set up a simple, free copyright using Creative Commons (I have yet to look into it fully myself tho) –
      .-= CocoJones´s last blog last week darling… =-.

  61. Amber @ Ambersmouthwash says:

    Honestly, I see glimpses from both sides of the argument. I see it from Liz @ Late Afternoon, and I see it from the IFB point of view.

    I personally do no see my fashion blog as a means of making money. If it brings in a few pennies, fine. But when I began my blog it was because I wanted to join in on the FUN and learn. I have found my passion. HOWEVER at the same time, I do not want to be treated as some over eager fashion blogger who will allow herself to be taken advantage of simply for the “exposure”. And, personally that is what seems to be happening. These magazines who just harp on a “trend”, and don’t even pay out pocket for it.

    Almost like those companies who make their entire existence off of interns, and never actually hire an employee. (Not a stab at Chictopia. I personally have no idea how they conduct business with their interns.)

    • Eli says:

      Wouldn’t you want these floating photos of you to at least link back to your blog? It would bring you traffic and comments, and then you would know you were featured. Instead of brining you no traffic and finding out you were featured via third party?

      • Amber @ Ambersmouthwash says:

        Right. I wouldn’t mind if they did give credit and link back -with my permission. But in the example of Payless and Vogue, these companies aren’t doing that.

        If they did, it would be another situation. But still: the ethics of them not asking for permission is disturbing.
        .-= Amber @ Ambersmouthwash´s last blog ..All a-flight // Miu Miu =-.

        • Gleenn says:

          I learned from my friend, a photographer who’s working on his protfolio, how big photo studios work. His service was free because he was on the quest for improving his portfolio, the models where also free and were told that if they do good they might earn a modeling assignments. When the shoots were done for “World Fashion”, the outcome was magnificent. The only capital the owners spent were the plane tickets and food. And guess what? They sold the photos for more than 2 million baht. No model landed a job.

          I guess that works the same in fashion blogging.
          .-= Gleenn´s last blog ..How short do you wear shorts? =-.

  62. Fia says:

    Great post and discussion. Hmm, so many things to think over. I JUST recently started getting into the fashion networking sites because my blog has been up for 2 years and aside from a handful of other fashion bloggers, I felt sort of disconnected from the community. Now that I have joined a few, I find out about this issue. I’ll admit, I skim the TOS on most sites. Pretty unfortunate.

    I think our society is at a crossroads with bloggers. There is still a lot of holdover of the old days where people think of blogging as a person’s online diary. However, there are a lot of amazing blogs out there with top notch content and should well be compensated for the work they do, and yet, there are still bloggers out there doing it solely for personal enjoyment. I agree with others that those two don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

    There are some parallels in the music industry. People get upset when they think a band has “sold out” because it should just be about the music not the money. However, the bands are saying, “Someone is profiting from our art, why shouldn’t it be us–the ones who created it?” I agree there are ways to sell out (i.e. working with a company who go against your values), but making money off of content that you create is not selling out. I think this is very similar to where bloggers stand. There are people profiting from bloggers’ content, why shouldn’t it be those who are creating it?
    .-= Fia´s last blog ..222 =-.

    • Fia says:

      My husband said I didn’t give proper attribution because he was the one who came up with the music industry parallel. :)
      .-= Fia´s last blog ..222 =-.

  63. Retro Chick says:

    Wow, look what happens when I’m not paying attention.

    I have accounts with a few of these sites, but I don’t really use them, and I also applied to Lookbook and didn’t even get a response, I guess I’m not trendy enough for them!

    I really don’t understand why people seem to think it’s not possible to both focus on producing good content for readers AND get compensated for it? My blog didn’t start as a way to make money, but it did start as part of my business, so I certainly won’t turn down the chance to make money from it! If anything the prospect of it being a revenue producing part of my business has spurred me on to create better and more frequent content than I otherwise might have done if it was just a personal news stream.

    As bloggers we need to value ourselves as a brand and as a person, and that means demanding that the material we produce is valued appropriately and can’t just be stolen by anyone who feels like it because we’re “just bloggers”
    .-= Retro Chick´s last blog ..Not Just a Cocktail Cabinet…. =-.

  64. Citizen Rosebud says:

    SIGH. Thank you for writing about this; for bringing it to our attentions. REASON # 187 why I love and am glad to be part of IFB. Wondered about the mentions. Have read on peoples’s blog that they got a mention in a magazine that they didn’t know about, that a reader told them about…and I was thinking: shouldn’t a publication tell the blogger that they were mentioned? And to be used and cashed in on without compensation is EXPLOITATION. pure and simple, the man appropriating people’s content for profit. I do believe blogger’s should have some say whether or not they are to be associated with an ad campaign AND they deserve to be compensated. Calivintage’s image and style just sold Payless who knows how many shoes to people who like her. She deserves some of that profit, she deserves her say in the matter.
    .-= Citizen Rosebud´s last blog ..Graphic Novel =-.

  65. Brow Raised Beauty says:

    I had a feeling that this was going to be an issue when I read the terms and conditions of joining Chictopia. Thank goodness I did not sign up!
    I have a copyright on my content and I encourage all others to do so especially when you never know if the person browsing your blog is ethical or not.
    .-= Brow Raised Beauty´s last blog ..Plaid Wool Skirt Revival =-.

  66. Eli says:

    Right, it brought Payless sales and Chictopia some $$ for letting them use the picture, a cut of the sales. Or they could have done it for free, who knows?

    I pondered about this last night – and many people who use these fashion networking sites do not have blogs, or maybe started blogs after joining. So perhaps exposure like this would be interesting to them. But bloggers have something to lose, and it is not about money. You are losing traffic and citation. On the Fashion Spot forums you cant link any photos without sources without having the moderators hounding you about it. These people were not contacted to see if they want to opt in or out.
    .-= Eli´s last blog ..A Love Story =-.

    • CocoJones says:

      I personally think a link back to the bloggers site would be reasonable, and then if the store wanted to work further with the blogger personally, they could pay them. As a free service I guess Chictopia needs to make money, but it just seems a bit underhand they way they’ve done this.
      .-= CocoJones´s last blog last week darling… =-.

  67. Sarah says:

    This is a tricky one! I must admit if it were my pictures being used i’d be pretty annoyed that i hadn’t been informed, but wold see it as my fault for not checking the terms properly.
    To be fair, by blogging our own personal images we’re all at risk. Pictures from my own blog had recently been taken and posted on tumblr without permission even though i have a copyright notice on my blog. They then were ‘reblogged’ to over 100 other tumblr accounts- some of which were quite ‘unsavory’ you might say. I came across this completely by accident- none of us really know where our pictures are going. Luckily i contacted tumblr and they swiftly removed my images from all these sites.
    I also had a similar problem with the pictures being posted on chictopia’s tumblr and reblogged, but again i contacted chictopia and they agreed to remove them- no problem.
    I think my point is- we’re all complaining about re-use of pictures from Chictopia, but we agreed to it in the terms! you don’t even realise that your pictures can be taken anyway and posted all over the place. This is one of the risks we have to accept by blogging. Yeah it sucks. i watermark all my pictures now even on chictopia, lookbook etc. who knows if it helps- i’d like to think it does a bit! xxx

  68. Sonia // Dozen Dresses says:

    Vinyl – I meant for photos that I have taken, not other peoples, but I see how it came across that way :)

    Clothes Horse – Thats exactly what I meant, and thank you for the information :) I’ll try and find the UK copyright stuff too, but I think they should be similar. Thanks!
    .-= Sonia // Dozen Dresses´s last blog ..Once Upon A Time There Was A Magazine… =-.

  69. Kelsi Smith says:


    Since there’s been a request to deal with facts…lets do that.

    – Yes, Chictopia are covered under law by their TOS
    – Yes, we should have read them.
    – In my opinion the TOS of Chictopia are unethical, if they choose to use them in the manner the article has outlined.
    – IFB’s purpose is to educate and inform (one of them) This article has done that. We are all free to make our own choices with the given information.
    – Blogs that use others copyrighted pictures, NOT covered under fair use, should always ask permission first.
    – Blogs may use others copyrighted images under the fair use.
    – Blogging provides authors with the freedom to do with their blogs what they please. Just because someone wnats to make money off their hard work doesn’t make a blog lesser than another – and vice versa.

    We’re a community, and we should respect one another as such. In my opinion this is where Chictopia falls short.
    .-= Kelsi Smith´s last blog ..Links à la Mode =-.

  70. Spray says:

    I guess everything that is not registered and protected by law in some way is prone to abuse. Internet as a whole is still a mess, and your rights can be violated online in so many ways!

  71. F (For All The F's) says:

    well, terms of service are terms of service, and the fact that you don’t read them only makes it your own problem, because they are there FOR YOU TO READ (and know, and act accordingly).

    however, someone should check if it is legal for them to do so. because, if it isn’t, then it doesn’t matter, if it’s in the terms of service or in the toilet.
    .-= F (For All The F’s)´s last blog ..: The Thing About Film And Fashion, Is Tom Ford Unbelievable, Or What? =-.

  72. precilla says:

    Well…this is a difficult situation. First of all let me clear out that I do think it is wrong to post a copyright image and use it to gain money without permission.

    We blogger don’t always ask for permission when using a image for a blog post, but we’re not making money of it. this as a reply to Kidcouture , If Calivintage had been a registered trademark or copyright she could have prest charges or something like that.

  73. michelle says:

    Selling photos or not selling photos, Chictopia could at least just ASK the blogger directly rather than having them find out for themselves.

  74. GLOWINGDOLL says:

    It amazes me that some people would think that bloggers are unethical. Clearly the people who stand to gain the most are always going to be the corporate entities.

    I am constantly getting emails from companies who do not have my best interests in mind (or any of my interests in mind) another problem I have had recently are spam comments from Sketchers UK and GHD.

    Maybe they thought that by leaving me a sappy comment it would be OK for them to advertise for free on my blog.

    In the case of GHD I did email them with a link to the comment that was left but they couldn’t be bothered to reply to me.

  75. Jessu says:

    I understand the frustration of having one’s content published without one’s knowledge, and the fact that businesses need to have more courtesy…but I think the main question should not be whether bloggers are hypocrites but rather how do we stop being the “middle men” that get cut out? When an employee at Payless finds a blogger’s picture on Chictopia, instead of paying chictopia for the picture, how would we get them to SKIP CHICTOPIA (the “middle man” in the traditional sense) and contact the blogger directly? That’s what I’d like to read about.
    .-= Jessu´s last blog ..Alice + Olivia @ Payless! =-.

  76. Yuri Lee says:

    Hello Jennine and IFB readers,

    I am the founder of the online community I unfortunately did not see the email that was sent regarding this article because I have been traveling for the past week, and regrettably only just today was this brought to my attention by some of our followers on Twitter.

    We are mentioned in the article primarily because we have a similar clause in our Terms of Service to that of another site, so I would like to clarify what we use our clause for in particular.

    First, the clause quoted from our Terms of Service was originally added in late 2009 for our then newly launched partnership with the German ( The clause allowed for us to grant permission to Vogue to create editorials on a regular basis using content that our members have posted to our site. These editorial articles all credit and link back to the authors of all photos that are referenced, and we do not directly profit from these articles being written.

    Second, we also use this clause for posting images of our users to our Facebook page ( and our Tumblr blog (, where we always link back to the author’s original page.

    Third, we also often receive requests for images from magazines like Elle and Vogue which ask for specific photos from LB members to be included in upcoming issues. The clause allows us to grant permission to these publications so that they can print the images that we send them. In these cases, it is standard for us to email each member personally to ask for their highest resolution photo(s) and let them know about the opportunity before sending. Though our request is not always honoured, we always make a point to fight for photo credits for each individual author, not just a reference to

    Fourth, we use this clause for collaborations with major brand partners who we screen and carefully select based on their existing popularity and reputation among our community members and what they can offer our users. The Lookbook by American Apparel which was referenced in this article is a good example of such a collaboration, and I would like to highlight a few facts on how it was run:

    – Neither nor American Apparel profited directly from the the printing and distribution of the lookbook.

    – The collaboration was launched as an opt-in contest, where it was made clear that all entries were eligible to be included in the print lookbook, and by entering the contest the user acknowledged and gave permission for their content to be used for this purpose.

    – 3 winners of the contest were flown to the American Apparel headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles for a special photoshoot that appeared in the lookbook, all expenses paid.

    – Both the print version and the online version of the lookbook ( include photos which credit the authors of every single photo. The online preview version includes photos which link back to the author’s original look page on

    – The lookbook was distributed to 280 stores in 20 countries, giving each member included a significant amount of exposure.

    – American Apparel is and has consistently been among the top 5 tagged brands in our community, so we knew all along that we were working with a brand that was already held in high esteem.

    The bottom line is that we are grateful for our talented members and the amazing quality of content they contribute to our collective gallery. We fully acknowledge the fact that we depend on our users in order for our site to be a success (what social site doesn’t?) and this is why we know that we need to do right by our users in order to flourish both as a community and a business.

    We always do everything in our power to give our members recognition for their talents (that is the entire point of the site) and we always try our best to give credit where credit is due, especially when it comes to bloggers. And we are very careful in screening and selecting brand partners to ensure that they are a good fit for our audience and have something meaningful to offer our community before working with them.

    If anyone has any specific questions about our policies or cooperations with third parties, I am happy to address them! I can be reached at yuri [at]

    Thanks for reading,


    • Ashe Mischief says:

      Yuri, thank you for taking the time to comment and share with us both Lookbook’s explanation/use of that particular bit of TOS and how much you value your community.
      .-= Ashe Mischief´s last blog ..Links à la Mode: The IFB Weekly Roundup =-.

    • CocoJones says:

      I think this seems very clear and reasonable, and I personally feel very comfortable with how you use contributors images in this way, it seems like a fair, two-way relationship, which is as it should be. Thanks!
      .-= CocoJones´s last blog last week darling… =-.

    • Robyn says:

      Thank you for taking the time to address this issue, Yuri! Your comment was respectful and thoughtful, and I feel better already about continuing to post pictures on my account.

      .-= Robyn´s last blog ..Did you miss me? =-.

  77. Lilly says:

    Yuri Lee,

    I am happy to hear about the high standards of how Lookbook treats it members. In my eyes, there is fairly a difference to Chictopia. My conclusion will be to leave the latter and concentrate on Lookbook. I will post about this on my blog and let my readers know about the reasons for this decision.
    It may seem as if the Payless campaign is just a small case. But it is not. As the founder of Chictopia already pointed out, there are more plannings in this direction and I decided it’s not what I want to happen to my photos.
    I highly appreciate your answer and will be looking forward to stay active on Lookbook.

    Lilly Rose
    .-= Lilly´s last blog ..Out of Reach =-.

  78. TheShoeGirl says:

    Great post! I had no idea…
    .-= TheShoeGirl´s last blog ..Weekend Gettaway =-.

  79. Victoria says:

    wow thanks for the article! I was really unaware of this!
    its quite shocking and sort of disrespectful!

    much love, Victoria.
    .-= Victoria´s last blog ..Acquiring Healthy Habits =-.

  80. Sonia // Dozen Dresses says:

    Yuri – That comment was very clear about how highly Lookbook treats it’s members (which i am very glad of because I practically live on LB! Haha) And I have no qualms about posting again on there.
    But I am closing my chictopia down. I know which site I’d much rather be on!
    .-= Sonia // Dozen Dresses´s last blog ..Designers Marketplace at Mbro Fashion Week =-.

  81. Denise @ Swelle says:

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Regardless of the fine print, I think it’s sneaky. As others have pointed out, this practice is incongruent with the sharing and trust that is largely inherent in the blogging community.

    Helen Zhu recently began following me on Twitter and then unfollowed me once I followed her back. It’s a little thing, and I simply unfollowed her once I realised, but it points in the direction of being prone to underhanded practices.
    .-= Denise @ Swelle´s last blog ..Scenes from Bristol, the Pastel Painted City =-.

  82. meg, reckless daughter says:

    wow, this is really something to think about. I like the idea of these social/fashion networks but I feel like there should be some protection or at least a mutually beneficial exchange when it comes to using blogger content outside of it’s origin and with out asking directly.

    thanks so much for this!
    .-= meg, reckless daughter´s last blog ..yes to scallops! =-.

  83. Pearl Westwood says:

    Such an imformative post, I mean does anyone ever read terms & conditions!! But yeah it would have been nice for the companies to actually include the bloggers in what was going on!
    .-= Pearl Westwood´s last blog ..When you have a Pair of Chanel Ballet Flats, Why Would You Ever Need More Flats? =-.

  84. Maggie says:

    I knew this about Chictopia with Polyvore, but I wasn’t aware they were using them on payless! That annoys me a lot actually!
    I use pics from chictopia a lot, but I always ask permission and promote their blog on the post. This doesn’t seem to be the case here.
    .-= Maggie´s last blog ..Featured Find: AmeriBag Metro Geneva Mini Backpack =-.

  85. Sonia // Dozen Dresses says:

    Vinyl – Yeah I do understand that, and thank you for the information. However I was just wondering how to do the copyrighting, not that I was definetely putting it into action, because I had no idea what it involved. I know I have got other material too, but I was just curious. But thank you very much anyway :)

  86. Sonia // Dozen Dresses says:

    Yuri – That comment was very clear about how highly Lookbook treats it’s members (which i am very glad of because I practically live on LB! Haha) And I have no qualms about posting again on there.
    But I am closing my chictopia down. I know which site I’d much rather be on!

  87. Nick says:

    Wow! Everyone is so serious. C’mon have some fun and be flatteredthat a HUGE chain thought your style was awesome enough to even use your pictures. I get it the point and all, but still, get over it–people probably know who you are with or without being mentioned in the ad.
    .-= Nick´s last blog ..Weekend Rewind: May 1-2, 2010 =-.

    • Citizen Rosebud says:

      You mean, the get over the they just made a big chunk of change off your image without crediting you part? that’s a tough pill to swallow, dearie. A big company just made a whole lotta money using an individual’s image and style, without compensating her. I think it has made me seriously reconsider my time spent on Chictopia, for sure, and plan to take action for blogger’s to benefit from their content if someone else benefits too.
      .-= Citizen Rosebud´s last blog ..the Rosebud Romper =-.

  88. Veronica says:


    thanks for the review

    great – informative read, V.
    .-= Veronica´s last blog ..Fern Mallis LLC =-.

  89. Christina of Profresh Style says:

    Taken via my blog post today:

    Late last week, IFB posted a great article regarding the recent partnership with Chictopia & Payless. As a majority of you know, I intern for IFB so I was made aware of this partnership. Of course it made me angry because of the way Chictopia went about it; it seemed entirely sneaky. And yes, I agree that bloggers should be made aware when photos are used, just like we request from people who want to use our images via our blogs. There should of at least been a clickable link to trackback that individual. However, that is not what I’m trying to address here.

    The article was great, expressed something that definitely needed to be brought up in the blogging community. We do need to be more aware of the ToS. What happened IS OUR FAULT. However, in the comments section, it seemed to go extremely downhill from there. It is absolutely, 100% true, that we are all entitled to our opinion. It seemed that the commenting turned from the actual issue to personally bashing bloggers. I was appalled at what people were saying, considering we are all in this blogging community together. We should all be on the same side. I found it extremely rude that instead of people discussing the issue at hand, which is companies discrediting/taking advantage of bloggers, it seemed to take a turn for the worse, singling out bloggers just because they spoke their opinion. I do believe in the multiple ways we do business but it is so inappropriate to bash someone for the way they handle their own.

    We should be coming together as a community to make awareness. The private opinions you have about other bloggers should definitely remain quiet and if you do have an issue with someone, speak directly to them via email, in person, etc…not via Twitter, on public forums, or whatever nonsense your choosing to hide behind.

    PS. Also, yes, my widgets for chictopia & are gone but not because of this issue; it’s due to tech errors with Typepad.

    To view discussion, check the IFB website.
    .-= Christina of Profresh Style´s last blog ..when we fell in love, it was the summertime =-.

  90. Alison aka. Advice Sister Alison says:

    I have been providing online content for 17 years. When I started out, I got paid (better) than an average, print columnist. But now online journalists are mixed in with bloggers, who write for fun. I think that is part of the problem. And, furthermore, the idea that if you can “right click and save-as” it should be free for the taking, is ridiculous. On the Advice Sisters Blog I have a copyright notice (in several lanaguages) on every blog post I write. Every time I do a search (and I do that, often), I find my content, photos, videos, just about anything available, used by others without my knowledge, approval, or compensation. I think the issue is that most people really do not value what they see online. It is up to everyone who posts, even comments like these, to protect their intellectual property. If someone walks into your house while it is unlocked and steals your stuff, it’s still theft.

    • Vinyl says:

      Amen, Sister Alison!

      This is the point that I’ve been trying to make. There’s a lot of commenting on here about “fair use”, which people don’t seem to understand isn’t law. It’s a loophole that is *sometimes* usable – but not a term or practice to rely upon.

      I understand that some feel that the thread gets off-topic when discussing this, but it’s really the crux of the matter. I think it indicates a future piece for which, perhaps, Jennine could get an intellectual property attorney to respond to some helpful questions. Someone who’s been practicing for many years – I mean the kind of person that I pay to do I.P. work for my company, not a law student…..

      Thanks for your concise and honest comment.

  91. Devon Poer says:

    Loop hole… it is quite possible that what Payless and Chictopia did is illegal. First off, the copyrights of an image belong to the photographer taking the photo. Therefore, if the person posting the photo on a site, like Chictopia, doesn’t have a licensing agreement to publish the photos then the photos are being used illegal by the blogger. Therefore, Chicopia would be providing images which they don’t have the legal rights to the terms then become void. However, I think this is something that Payless/Chictopia legal department probably know about but then dismissed the idea because that means the blogger is condemning themselves (how they is no legal ramification if the photographer and Chictopia don’t come after you). So potentially a photographer could go after Payless for not getting permission from the actual copyrighted owner and Chictopia would be legally responsible for providing unlicensed images. But in all likelihood it depends on how good your lawyer is and if your willing to putting yourself on the firing line.

    My honest opinion, companies and people will always do things that are unethical, we can come together as a community to improve our rights and fight for what is right. But until that perfect day where all negative things no longer exist we as professionals must educate ourselves as best as we can to protect and respect each other.

    The issue of intellectually property and the internet is a very dark place that has yet to be properly explored and I’m very interested to hear more about this topic from IFB and thank you for the post and everyone’s comments!!! Good stuff.
    .-= Devon Poer´s last blog ..Generosity Water Charity Event – Video =-.

  92. Shannon says:

    Wow not happy to hear about this! I saw the payless photos awhile ago but just assumed the bloggers had been informed they were selected to be featured and gave their consent.

    Sorry if this has already been mentioned but perhaps we should think about watermarking our outfit photos when uploading them to one of these sites. Then if another site or magazine wants to republish the pic, they can contact the blogger directly for the unmarked photo

  93. Ivânia Santos By DIAMOND says:

    hey honey… great post!!!

    LOVE IT <3

    a hug, from Portugal*
    .-= Ivânia Santos By DIAMOND´s last blog ..Lady…what?!! =-.

  94. miss cavendish says:

    Without that clause, Chictopia would be breaking a privacy tort–appropriating one’s image for commercial gain. But the way the clause is articulated is sneaky.

  95. roni says:

    that is precisely why I don’t use any of those sites and I bought my own URL and I pay for hosting on my own blog. I don’t have to worry about any of that!
    .-= roni´s last blog ..Han Cholo =-.

  96. Kate says:

    Wow, that really bums me out…at the least they could have told her that hey used her photo…at the very very least. It kind of makes me not want to go on there anymore which is too bad because I really like the site.

  97. Jing Pei says:

    This is a little terrifying. I just uploaded pictures from a photoshoot of me and my friends to facebook the other day, and I just created a chictopia account today; now I’m second guessing wondering if I should delete the photos. But at the same time, I do have a desire to share things, and I want them to be seen, and those social networking sites are powerful tools. I really don’t know what I should be doing now!

  98. Kate says:

    I have to say I mainly use, but I think a lot of style bloggers are weary since they find they get their photos used. Here is my perspective on that. Copywrite law is a slippery slope online. If you an upload a photo anywhere you do it at your own risk. If you don’t want someone to use it watermark it. I hate to say it, but some fashion bloggers under mind themselves. When I go to work and a someone just happens to be a blogger tells me I shouldn’t pay for a blogger and we can exchange clothes that makes me sick because I use to do editorial and that just under-appreciates the whole idea of becoming a full time writer. The fact is though if you submit your photo to any site or anywhere online people can use it and not get in trouble for it. Too bad more people don’t know this. Even youtubers had this issue that’s why the huge ones watermark their videos now. I say just use common sense and don’t under mind each other and you’ll be okay.

  99. Neka says:

    I always knew there was a catch. Chictopia works with a lot of brands. When you post your pic, they tell you to “tag” or just write where you got a certain garment from. I would assume thats to let companies know that goodlooking people are styling and modeling it for free!and then boom free authentic advertising that goes in their newsletter. But to me its exposure and after all, its their responsiblity to read the fine print.

  100. Morgan Tovey says:

    Wow! what an thought ! What a concept ! Wonderful .. Incredible ? I generally don?t submit in Blogs but your weblog pressured me to, wonderful perform.. gorgeous ?

  101. Jennifer Sica says:

    I thought this article was really informative. As someone who doesn’t know all of the ins and outs of the legal blogging world, I do find it daunting that so many people are giving up their rights involuntarily and unknowingly. It’s really a shame. I guess this means people have to really read the “fine print.”

  102. Madeleine says:

    This was really an informative post. I will keep track of what photos is mine. I am curious, if you have a copyright clasul on your blog, does it help?

What do you think?