If you are just starting a fashion blog and are unsure what legal issues may arise, this blog will give if you an overview of five common issues that fashion bloggers face. Please keep in mind that each topic is quite complex and there are several other issues that may arise from your unique blog. If you have any questions about this blog or about blogging, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Permission from Photographer
Fashion blogs are all about images. When creating a blog, it is tempting to do a quick copy and paste from images that you find online. There is a misconception with bloggers that if you are creating a blog without the intent to earn money on the blog, then you are allowed to copy images without requesting permission. While there are instances where you can fairly use the photo of other without permission, we encourage you to always seek permission. It is best to assume that requesting permission should be the your governing rule, not the exception. To gain credibility, create professional rituals, even when starting an amateur blog. Many new fashion bloggers start their blogs for the love of fashion, and not as a business. However, you should always consider the future opportunity of your passion becoming your career.
While amateur bloggers tend to have a low risk of being sued for copyright infringement (in this case using a photo without permission of the owner), as your blog matures and gains popularity, you may find yourself accepting payments for marketing, advertisement, or promotional opportunities. When your blog becomes a source of income, it will also become more attractive for lawsuits. If this happens, you will won’t want to have to go back through your old posts questioning if you have permission from the photo owners to use their photography. Start your blog in the professional mindset, get permission for all your photos so that you know you have the rights to use the images.
2. Permission from People in Photographs
Once you have the permission from the photographers or owner of the images, you may also need to gain permission to use the photograph from those who are depicted within the photograph. Celebrities or other well known individuals may be concerned about their photo being used commercially, especially if your blog is becoming an income source. The right of publicity or personality rights allows individuals to stop others from exploiting their image for commercial purposes. Each American state has unique laws governing this topic. If you are choosing a photo based on the identity of the person shown in the photo, you may likely need the right of publicity permissions from the person shown. Chat with the photographer about ways to contact that person.
3. Promotional Disclosures
As discussed in length during a previous post, the Federal Trade Commission has regulations on how bloggers should inform readers of sponsorships or gifts. If you receive products from a company as encouragement to write a review, or if you are paid to write a blog endorsing a product or service, you must disclose these transactions, and you must disclose them in a way that conforms with the regulations set by the Federal Trade Commission. To discover more information on this topic, please check out our previous post on FTC Regulations of Native Advertising.
4. Sweepstakes or contest
Sweepstakes or contests can be a great way to increase reader engagement or interaction. When conducting either, you must create guidelines and disclose information on how on the contest or sweepstakes will operate. For more information on this topic check out previous post, “The Legal Challenges of Giveaways.”
It is important to let your readers know how they may interact with your blog and with each other. You may allow comments on your blog, but you should set up some ground rules on how readers can interact with the blog and with each other. You may also be concerned about protecting the content that you have created, much like the photographer protects his or images in section 1. Let people know what content is unique and what you claim ownership of. You may also want to let readers know how they can reach you if they with to borrow or copy your content.