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Bloggers pursue major fashion label
28/02/2011

While it is often the big corporates complaining of infringements, a recent case has the ‘little guys’ in pursuit. Inditex, the parent company of fashion chain Zara, recently pulled a line of t-shirts out of its stores after several fashion bloggers discovered that photos they had posted on their blogs were being replicated on the Inditex t-shirts without permission.

 

Amongst those whose photos were included in the range were Swiss blogger Michèle K (Beware of my Heals), and French bloggers Betty Autier (Le Blog de Betty) and Louise Ebel (Miss Pandora). Blogger Michèle K wrote: “They never asked me about my agreement so I'm a little bit angry about that. Not about the fact that they made a tee with my picture, just because of the fact that they did it behind my back.”

 

It is uncertain whether the infringement was through ignorance of the law or a deliberate exercise in the hope that noone would notice. There are some common misconceptions about the use of third-party materials, including the following:

- material on the internet is ‘free’,

- it’s ok to use other people’s work as long as you ‘make a few changes’.

 

According to a report in The Guardian [1], Inditex commissioned an outside designer to create the designs. A spokesman for Inditex was quoted in the report saying, "We are trying to work out exactly what the situation with these shirts is. The company we used should have got the rights. That would be the norm."

 

This case serves as warning to businesses that commission external designers on the importance of having a close working relationship with such contractors. Companies need to ensure that commissioned designers work within the relevant laws, otherwise they might be held liable and ultimately suffer the consequences.

 

For the full Guardian news report see:

[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/feb/15/spain-fashion-inditex-tshirts-bloggers

 

To view some of the offending t-shirts, see:

http://www.leblogdebetty.com/en/2010/05/22/zara-we-have-a-problem/

http://www.misspandora.fr/zara-we-have-a-problem-la-suite/?lang=en

http://beware-of-my-heels.blogspot.com/2011/02/we-have-problem.html