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Content Theft - It's Not Just SL

I am little miffed. OK, that was a bit tame for what I am feeling. I just perused an article about the danger of the overusing of Photoshop on photos. While I don't particularly agree with the article in question ( I like pretty pictures), I was definitely put out by the author's use of Victoria Secret graphics.

I went to the Victoria's Secret catalog and found one of the exact photos here. Please note that at the bottom of the page there is a clear copyright statement: " ©2009 Victoria's Secret. All Rights Reserved". I am guessing that was there when the author of the above document took the photos from the website. I am guessing that they did NOT have permission from Victoria's Secret to do this.

This is STEALING folks. Things on the web are not public domain unless they say they are free to use, and they are clearly NOT free to use when there is a copyright statement at the bottom of the page.

The terms and conditions of the Victoria's Secret website state in part:

Victoria's Secret Web Site and all of its materials, including, but not limited to, its software or HTML code, scripts, text, artwork, photographs, images, video, and audio (collectively, "Materials" ) are protected by copyright laws and other U.S. and international laws and treaties.

... you may not copy, reproduce, publish, transmit, distribute, perform, display, post, modify, create derivative works from, sell, license or otherwise exploit this site or any of its Materials without our prior written permission;

I know that most of you would never think of doing this. To those of you that believe it's no big deal?

It is wrong.
It IS a crime.

Edit: Because of comments to this post, I have looked up the US Copyright Office's Fair Use Policy adjusted as of May 2009.


Chris Childs said…
In this case one could make an arguement for fair use. The authour has cited the source for the photographs (Victoria's Secret), and is making a comment on the publisher's editorial decisions.

The authour would not be able to demonstrate the point of his essay without using the photographs, and it's highly unlikely that Victoria's Secret would give permission for an article they can expect to be critical.

Assuming the blog has some journalistic merit, fair use would apply.
Softpaw Sommer said…
Actually, what Wunderlich did would be considered fair use under copyright laws and is legal for her to do so. She used them for an educational reason and gave credit to Victoria's Secret, and is not trying to sell her article. Under US Copyright laws, she is allowed to this.
Anonymous said…
Well I am not a lawyer so I can't comment on the validity of the "fair use" doctrine in this case.

I will say that the college I work at would never let an instructor use photos in this way. We have a long list of what we can and cannot do and this is definitely not in the list of can dos.

Laws can be looked at in many ways so for one person it may seem OK and for another not. Hence we have courts.
Anonymous said…
Me again. Sorry, I think I should have explained a bit more about what we would be allowed to do under the college's fair use and copyright rules.

We would be able to link to the photo (put the URL to the photo in our handouts or show in class).

We would have been able to take a small section of a photo to point to the area in question and print that in our handout.

We might have needed to contact Victoria's Secret and inform them of our use; I am not completely clear on that last point.

Thank you.
EE said…
I am going to cast my vote that this referenced use of Victoria's Secret's photos is NOT considered Fair Use.


Well, if you are staking your claim on the "nonprofit educational use" then it would be most proper to leave out the very negative and snide remarks regarding the images that very photoshopped by the folks at Victoria's Secret. It would be far better to be factual and not use phrases like "It’s a shame..." and "something really weird going on."

I would much prefer a "do this and don't do that" type of article and leave the supposition to the viewer. This might put the article into the category of nonprofit educational use. However, as written, I don't believe it is Fair Use.

Do keep in mind that copyright laws state, simply: The safest course is always to get permission from the copyright owner before using copyrighted material.

Just my 2 cents worth.

N. Wunderlich said…
I find it unbelievable funny that you link to my blog, basically question my ethics and thereby trash my article without ever having TALKED to me. Also, you're obviously too much a coward to actually comment on my article.
Great. I love cowards almost as much as I love people who cry 'STOLEN!!!' without having any idea what they're talking about.

That having said, here are a few links for you.
First, you'll want to get comfortable with - that's another site questioning heavy photoshopping in advertisements.

Then, when browsing the site, you'll eventually stumble over this article:
You'll of course definitely WANT to wikipedia a 'Streisand effect', and everything involved with one.

That having written, I'd like to add another term to the ones that have already been mentioned - 'fair use' being the one MOST mentioned - in the previous comments, and that would be 'humor'.

Because, frankly, YOU might find the photoshopped pictures "pretty", but I just think that they're a VERY humorous depiction of human bodies. As I've written in my article, NO human looks like that in real life - not even the models that were photographed.

And now, go ahead and bash my latest article, which also has to do with those Victoria's Secret photos. And, of course, you probably won't mind that I'll link from my article to yours - and I'll include this comment in my article, in case it doesn't pass your moderation ;-)

Best wishes,
N. Wunderlich
N. Wunderlich said…
Oh, and by the way...

I am guessing that was there when the author of the above document took the photos from the website.

No, actually, that's not where I found the photos. Actually, I found them in the German Yahoo's picture gallery, here:

As I said, don't 'assume' because otherwise, as already said in 'The quiet of the lambs', you make an ass out of you and me.
EE said…
Oh, great!!! Wunderlich is now admitting that she didn't "steal" the photos from Victoria's Secret but that she actually stole them from a German web site on Yahoo.

This certainly negates all the Fair Use defense. Just because someone else stole the images from Victoria's Secret and then you, Wunderlich, steal from them does NOT make it right.

Any way you admit to it, what you have is stolen content. I don't see where ANYBODY gave you permission to repost any of these photos for whatever reason.

Paula S. said…
Nobody is talking about the photographic aspect of these images. Missing shadows on bra straps? The shadows can be "removed" simply by some very fancy lighting techniques. And, if you put in a shadow, that shadow only will only be visible if the light is coming from a certain direction.

The original blogger, N. Wunerlich, wants shadows (in SL)on bra straps as a permanent part of the bra? That is just as unrealistic as the "never a shadow" on the V.S. pics.

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