Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thievery

Leopard Flower

Being a creative person, the issue of creative theft comes up a lot, in design and in blogging. While there is the obvious theft, such as when Unique Vintage ripped off a Trashy Diva design, there's also a lot of grey areas. The reason I opted to post this post is thievery seems to be coming up a lot in the internet sphere of fashion and style websites and blogs. This post explores two recent issues I came across.

Blog names and personal identities on the web. With the internet as popular as it is, there's bound to be two independent people who come up with the same name. Look at any popular membership-required site and see all the repeat names with numbers behind them. Within individual sites, it's handed with crazy spellings and adding numbers and words, but what about with blogs?

When I selected my current internet name, I made sure that it wasn't a popular name. I hate numbers in names; it's kind of like Prince changed his name into a symbol. The uniqueness of my name is one of the reasons it's stuck around with me for years and adorns pretty much every website account I currently use. It's also why I bestowed it upon my etsy shop and clothing. In all the years I've been using it, five now, six mid-January, there's never been another Ivy Frozen out there.

There are other Ivy's out there. Since Ivy is a real name, there are those truly named Ivy. In the fashion blogger sphere I know of Ivyology, Fashion Ivy, and several commenters who use Ivy to identify themselves with. On account based sites, Poison Ivy is usually taken and often Frozen Ivy is too. I feel my name is distinct enough as Ivy Frozen. Likewise, there's two Punky's writing popular blogs, but one identifies herself as Punky B while the other is simply Punky. I also think their names are distinct enough.

With all the years I've had my internet name, I feel a sort of ownership over it. I'd feel cheated and stolen from if someone else happened to use it for something. So what does happen when someone new on the fashion blogging scene uses the name of a moderately to highly known fashion blogger who's been blogging for years? The official titles of their blogs vary, but they identify by the same name. Is it laziness on the part of the newcomer?

When I selected my name, I googled it. It's actually the result of me googling the name I originally wanted, which turned out to be fairly popular and then playing off associated ideas and what I wanted until I ended up with this name. If you google Ivy Frozen, you'll get all stuff related to me, and the occasional site that happens to have both of the words.

Is it outright theft of the newcomer? The original blogger has been blogging for years, is fairly well known, and recently gained much deserved recognition in a very popular magazine. While the newcomer still might have been clueless when she started, she's now been informed by at least several bloggers of the mishap and doesn't care. Would she care if the roles were reversed?

So what do you think readers? It's okay, because while we may feel we own the names, we don't really. Two people may independently of each other come up with the same name, and as long as they aren't copying and pasting.

Or do you think it's just lazy, rude, and/or disrespectful. For bloggers, our names are like a brand. If you make a new toy, you don't use the name of a similar existing toy for it. While there is no law against it, it's just the tactful--and smart-- thing to use an original name when you opt for a pen name.

Now, to case two. A thread on wardrobe remix recently pointed out a site that takes a lot of streetstyle sites from other sites without permission or even informing the owners. A good portion of the photos on Whatthewear.com came from Wardrobe_Remixers. I recognized photos from Franca (you!me!dancing!), SwanDiamondRose, Strawberry Kitten, and Ranna right off the bat. A lot of people use photos from Wardrobe_Remix and street style sites on their sites; what makes this site different is that the photos are allowed to be rated. This is very against Wardrobe_Remix, which is against the rating of outfits and photos. While if you click on the photos you can find a link to orginal photo, the credit is unclear. The names' of the owners of the photos never appear on the site. In response to a query about using the photos in this way without even informing the owners of the photos, the owner of the site said that people should be "honored" to have their photo up there. They also state that in posting photos to Wardrobe_Remix, people give their permission for the photos to be used on the site in question.

When I use photos of Wardrobe_Remixers or bloggers, I always ask first. I also always make sure to give them proper credit and use their photos in a positive way. I'm also sure to send them a link once I have the post up. And when I post photos to Wardrobe_remix, I'm posting them to wardrobe_remix, not to other sites.

So, once again readers, illigal, merely frowned upon/kinda douchy, or a-okay in your book?

Some people use the internet to spread kindness. Others use it to be total dickwads. Where do you think these idividuals stand, and what about yourself?

Always trying to keep on the good side of right,
Ivy Frozen


4 comments:

Paisley Girl said...

Wonderful post. Now on the topic of names, if its a commonly generic name I don't see a problem with people using it. Paisley Girl is used so much on the net as well as other common net names. Its bound to happen. I don't know who I would side with on the blog issue. I am sure people would not confuse one blogger for another if one is highly popular, but it doesn't seem right to force the other one to change their name if they picked it unknowingly. So I am on the fence with that one. However with unique names like yours, I would understand being upset, but it could just be a situation with great minds think alike. I have another persona I use online so I don't have to worry about having a million other names to sign up to forums. If you google that name more than likely its me. And I would be upset too if someone used it. It could be a thing where it was purely innocent and they just thought of the same name. But is it fair to make them change just because you had it first? Its a confusing thing because I can understand fully wanting to have ownership of your unique name, but heck there are people walking around with the same first and last name as me. So I guess its to be expected net names would be taken by other people too. Would love to hear a debate on that topic.

As for the picture theft, oh shame on them. For one thing that's not their property, and the rating thing is just wrong. I would not want my pictures rated and I would be so angry if someone took my pictures and put them on a rating site. I saw some pictures on there I recognized the people because I learned of them through your blog. I feel angry for these people. There should be a way that the pictures can be forced to be taken down. You might want to mention contacting the website host and explaining the picture theft if the pictures are being used without permission. Most website hosts are big on their TOS and I'm sure would take action.

Ivy Frozen said...

Eh, I still think they should have done their homework first, but I can be unforgiving on things like that. Names have always been important to me, even when I wrote short stories. I would spend considerable time finding the perfect name for a character. And if it wasn't right, I wouldn't be able to keep writing.

Anna-Maria said...

It's a strange combo, florals and animal print but you make it rock!:)

Ivy Frozen said...

Thanks Anna-Maria!