IFBcon Workshop Live Blog: Law of Fashion: A Blogger’s Guide to Copyright and Trademark Law


Workshop 2: Law of Fashion: A Blogger’s Guide to Copyright and Trademark Law brought to you by Nicole Sallie Franklin, esq, at Thread Conscious


What is it and what it covers:

A bundle of rights (divisible):

1.) Reproduce (make copies)

2.) Distribute copies publicly

3.) Display it publicly

4.) Perfrom it publicly

5.) Make derivitate work

Your creation gets copyright protection as soon as you create it, so as long as:

1.) You made it

2.)It's original,

3.) It's written down or recorded on something, and people can see it or hear it too, for more than a few seconds

What it does not cover:

Names, titles, short phrases, ideas, an objest in the photo that you own (pet, car, including yourself), or if someone took a photo of you.

Other limitations: FAIR USE

Affirmative Defense:

Affirmative = Yes I infringed some one else's copyrighted work.

Defense – It's fair to use someone elses copyrighted work.

Fair Use Factors:

1.) The purpose and character of the use

2.) The nature of the copyrighted work

3.) The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work whole

4.) The potential market reach for the copyrighted work ($$$)

How to protect your work:

Copyright notice, terms of service, use of creative commons, or a federal registration $35.

How to protect yourself:

Be the writer/photographer/videographer, give credit, get permission in writing, and if you make $$ limit instatnces in fair use.


A trademark is any word, name symbol, or device, or any combination of these. It prevents customers from being confused about what they are buying. Word or logo + Goods or Services + Use = TRADEMARK

What it does not cover:

No monopolies, outside your territory of use or goods and services. Example: Delta Faucets, Delta Airlines – no confusion, no problem.  The more unique it is the more protection you will have. Genric descriptions will not have good protection.Food, colors, numbers, phrases, or something made up are the best names.

How to protect yourself:

Consistently use the mark, use “TM” or SM” after your mark, federally register your trademark, and create a terms of service. Do not use a mark that confusingly similar to an existing mark. Quick search online to make sure yours is unique. Do not use the circle R unless you have a Federal Registration.

Contracts & Licensing:

Contracts: Brands

Work made for hire: you create the work but they own the copyrights. Know the difference between Assignment vs. License, negotiate a license and get it in writing. Don't be afraid to say no and/or walk away.

Licensing: Social Media

Example: When you photos to social media you are giving that outlet the permission to post your photos on the web once you sign up with their account. It's a licensing agreement in their terms of use.

Q & A:

Q: Do you need to have a model release?

A: It's more of a privacy right and a contract issue. A standard contract between a photographer and a model is usually decided upon before hand.

Q: What about people in the background of your photo?

A: I dont think its a big risk factor. Its not practical to stop everyone and get a release. It's only inportant for the main model.

Q: When you see another illustration or photo and want to make a drawing of it, where does the law line fall?

A: Transformitive work that is original and unique is yours. It's not infringement as long as it is not exact.

Q: If you are linking the video or post from the original source is that enough?

A: I would also put the link underneath or state that the image/video is linked to it's original source.

Q: If you use a font you found online that says “for personal use only” for your logo is that infringement?

A: Technically it could be if you are selling things with your name on it. You would have to go over the terms of service to make sure.

Q: If we use photos from other people without permission and we make money off our post, is it still considered fair use?

A: There is a risk factor, but a lot of people are probaly using them. However, when you start making a lot of money off of them it could become a problem. It should fall under fair use as long as you are not copying their entire work exaclty and making $50 from a post.

Live-blogged by: Madison of Bare Bones.

[Image Credit:Dustin Fenstermacher]

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3 Responses

  1. Sheela Goh

    I appreciate that the speaker presented such a dry topic in an engaging fashion and, most of all, never once attempted to dumb-down the issue. Thank you, Nicole, it was a good session.

  2. Igor

    Protection of trademarks and copyrights is a serious problem in Russia. The Russian government is taking significant effort to legally protect the rights holders. It concerns the protection of trade marks as the leading manufacturers and smaller companies such as model agencies