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How To Protect Your Creative Content as a Fashion Influencer


Introduction

Fashion influencers, apart from attending shows, spend most of their time working on collaborations, creating original and engaging content, managing whole teams of professionals that work on the creation of this content, and… protecting their legal rights. Great ideas are worth their weight in gold, and, just like any other treasure, they frequently get stolen. How can a fashion influencer protect their content from copying and ensure they do not violate anyone’s intellectual property rights? Keep your shirt on and read out to find the answers!

Why Should Fashion Influencers Know Intellectual Property Law?

We all know that movies, songs, books, and even clothes designs are subjects of intellectual property law. However, when it comes to content posted on social media, such as videos, reels, posts, and podcasts, the borders between what is intellectual property and what is not become very vague. Instagram communities steal pictures from each other, YouTubers use unauthorized music in their videos, and digital journals post photos of models without their permission. All these are cases of intellectual property infringement, and all of them can be prevented or at least punished if one knows the corresponding laws.

So, if you’re a fashion influencer or dream of becoming one, here are the key reasons why you need to know what intellectual property law is:

  1. Influencers often create unique content like photos, videos, blog posts, and designs. If you understand copyright laws, you'll know how to protect your work from being used without permission or being replicated.
  2. When you protect your rights, you should also respect the work of your colleagues in the fashion industry. Using someone else's images, videos, or designs without permission can lead to legal issues. Besides, when using music in your videos, check whether it is not a subject of copyright. 
  3. Fashion influencers often collaborate with brands and shops.  During such partnerships, you should avoid misuse or unauthorized use of the brands' intellectual property. Otherwise, instead of fees, you’ll get a fine. 
  4. One part of a fashion influencer’s job is to talk about, review, or promote designer products. However, you should remember that not everything that looks fashionable and stylish is legal to advertise. The knowledge of intellectual property laws will ensure you do not endorse counterfeit products, which may harm your reputation.
  5. Influencers need to comprehend intellectual property rights to understand the legal agreements they sign. For instance, you may sign contracts that require you to yield your intellectual property rights to the brand. If you’re aware of property laws, you’re unlikely to enter into business deals that would be unprofitable for you. 

How Can a Fashion Influencer Protect Their Content?

Your content is the face of your personal brand. Therefore, it needs thorough protection. Here are a few ways to do it:

  1. Learn what copyright is. Once you create any original work, such as a photo, a text, or a short fashion video, it automatically becomes a subject of copyright. Consequently, if someone uses this material without your permission, you can file a lawsuit. At the same time, you’d know what materials you’re allowed to use for your work in order not to be accused of theft. 
  2. Register your brand. If you have a unique name, logo, or tagline, consider registering them as a trademark. It will give you exclusive rights to use that mark and protect it from being used by others in the fashion industry.
  3. Add copyright notices (© Year, Name) when you publish your content. It’ll remind others that the work is protected and cannot be used without your permission. 
  4. Use watermarks on visual content like photos and videos to discourage theft. However, be careful: watermarks should not detract from the quality of the content.
  5. Sign contracts in any collaboration or partnership. If any misunderstandings or changes in the terms of cooperation occur, an official document you can rely on will help to solve them. You can use professionally drafted legal contract templates for different types of business deals, which are available at the legal tech platform Lawrina.org. You can create a well-structured and reliable contract in several minutes and without the assistance of a lawyer. 
  6. Monitor social media to notice the cases when your content is stolen and posted somewhere without your permission. The sooner you report intellectual property infringement, the easier it will be to solve the issue. For instance, if you notice that some digital magazine has posted your article about the latest fashion show without referencing you, contact them immediately and ask them to either mention the author or delete the text. If they refuse, send them a cease and desist letter.

Why Do Influencers Face Infringement Issues?

Fashion is a very dynamic but, at the same time, tricky industry, where the slightest intellectual poverty rights violation may cause a great scandal and a long-lasting court hearing. Here are the most common situations when fashion influencers get caught for infringement issues:

Fashion influencers often face infringement issues due to the nature of their work. Below are some key reasons:

  1. Influencers may unknowingly use copyrighted material of other people in their content, such as pictures, music, designs, or even specific garments and accessories. Of course, the authors don’t like it when they suddenly find it out.
  2. Sometimes, fashion influencers might incorrectly represent, misuse, or falsely affiliate themselves with a brand. For instance, writing Guchi instead of Gucci in a video that promotes the brand may cost a fashionista a heavy sum of money. 
  3. Influencers, especially those who work on their own fashion lines, may unintentionally create something similar to an existing patented design. Using the same colors and patterns is not a crime, but if you create a dress that looks very similar to the one presented by another brand a few weeks ago, be ready to face accusations of theft. 
  4. In certain states, using the image of a celebrity without permission can be considered an infringement of that person's right to publicity. Therefore, before you decide to use Taylor Swift’s photo in your new post about evening dresses, check out local legislation.
  5. The promotion of counterfeit brand goods, knowingly or unknowingly, is illegal and could potentially involve you in forgery and infringement issues.

Conclusion

Whether you only enter the world of fashion or are an experienced fashionista, learning more about the legal side of your job is never too late. If you understand what a trademark is, when copyright is applied, and how to draft a reliable contract, you’ll minimize your risk of getting into a scandal, facing a lawsuit for intellectual property infringement, or losing your reputation for the advertisement of counterfeit items. Don’t let legal issues tarnish the glamorous shining of your career in the fashion industry.

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