Lyndar the Merciless

a personal beauty + lifestyle blog

. .

Talon-tastic Thursday: We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to let off some steam.

Thursday, June 07, 2012   |   16 comments

(Make yourself a cup of tea - this is going to be a long one.)

Over the last few weeks, a number of eagle-eyed readers have let me know that one of my most popular nail photos was appearing on the Glamour magazine website and on e.l.f. cosmetics' blog without proper accreditation. Most often it's individual, personal bloggers that are guilty of offering "source: Tumblr" or "source: Pinterest" or - my personal favourite - "source: Google" by way of image credit, usually linking to that site's homepage rather than the actual page on which they found the picture.

{my photo}

When hobby bloggers do it, I assume that it's because they're not familiar with intellectual copyright and don't really stop to think about how discourteous it is to post someone else's work without giving them due credit; as far as they're concerned, they're just sharing pretty pictures. This actually happens quite a lot and when you guys spot it and let me know - for which I really can't thank you enough x - I'll usually just leave a comment or drop them a quick email, at which point the vast majority of bloggers have the decency to add full credit and a link.

When it's people who make an actual paid day job of writing for online publications and should therefore know better than to use a photo without (a) checking that they have permission to publish it and (b) providing credit and a link to the verified original online source, well, I really start to see red.

To be fair, Glamour were great about it, immediately updating the article with proper credit and a link to my blog post when I got in touch to let them know that the image was mine.

The response from e.l.f. cosmetics was a little less stellar.

{oh hai, my nailz! screenshot of the original e.l.f. cosmetics blog post}

For several days the company simply ignored repeated attempts to contact them via Twitter and failed to respond to several comments on their blog post pointing out that they'd used my photo. (The very first comment on the blog post is actually from the lovely CherrySue, letting them know the error of their ways!)

When I emailed their director of e-Commerce requesting that they add proper image credit and a link to my original post on both the blog post and their Facebook page - a very simple operation, I think you'll agree - the e.l.f. solution was to have someone paint their nails like mine, take a photo of their paint job, remove my image from the blog, and insert their new photo instead.

{photo credit: e.l.f. cosmetics

Given that e.l.f. used my image to help pull in over 800 Facebook likes and garner more than 60 comments between their blog and Facebook page - which I note is about 10 times the activity that they usually enjoy on their posts - I really didn't think that whitewashing me out of the picture when I requested a simple photo credit was really an acceptable solution.

After some more back and forth, e.l.f. ultimately just added the text "This nail look was inspired by a look we saw on Pinterest by Lyndar The Merciless" to the blog post.

{screenshot of the current version of the e.l.f. blog post}

Himself reckons that this muddies the situation even further and that it now looks like the new e.l.f. image is mine; that's what most of the comments, including my own, point to as they reference the original pic.

What a mess. 

As for how they came to use my image in the first place, e.l.f. offered what I'm going to christen the Pinterest defence - "well, our writer found it on Pinterest and it wasn't linked to your blog there" - which, frankly, is no defence at all. Leaving aside for a moment that fact that one of the comments on the pin in question is from someone pointing out that the image is mine and helpfully providing a link to my blog, the e.l.f. writer didn't even cite Pinterest as a source in the original post. My image was simply added as though it was her own.

I now watermark all my nail images but since there are several older versions floating around the Internet, watermark-free, I have no doubt these sorts of incidents will be repeated.

I guess I'll just have to hope that future offenders will be a bit cooler about sorting them than e.l.f. have been.

PS - I not trying to put anyone off Pinterest; I love seeing my nails on inspiration boards. I am delighted with how well-received my nail designs are and am so appreciative of the exposure they get, but seeing them credited improperly or not at all does break my little heart.

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  • At 4:29 pm, June 07, 2012, Blogger Kitty Catastrophe said…

    Such bad form of them. And so rude to just not reply and then change the image, confusing the issue even further. Gah. POOR SHOW, JERKS.

  • At 4:56 pm, June 07, 2012, Anonymous Sonya said…

    It's very bad form alright. I would be very cross. Plus that nail job they did is not a teeny tiny patch on the professionalism and general fabulousness of your work. I'm cross for you x

  • At 5:17 pm, June 07, 2012, Blogger Trendy Melbourne said…

    I find this whole credit thing with bloggers annoying. As a fellow blogger I watermark my images but couldn't care less if someone used it and not mentioned my blog. I guess I don't blog just to get traffic

  • At 5:25 pm, June 07, 2012, Anonymous Jennifer said…

    How rude!!! But I must say, your manicure is STILL prettier than their copycat manicure.

  • At 7:38 pm, June 07, 2012, Anonymous Maria said…

    So incredibly rude of them Lynnie!!
    At least Glamour eventually gave you credit, but e.l.f. have behaved in a digusting manner. :(

    And let's face it, your nail art looks waaaaaay better than their version of your look!!! ;)

  • At 10:35 pm, June 07, 2012, Blogger Andrea said…

    Lynnie their version is utter shite.
    and ps: i know for sure that I read a good while ago that temptalia had copyright issues with elf ( i searched until i found it :) )
    so they're at it for a while.
    keep up what you're doing you are brill at it xox

  • At 11:17 pm, June 07, 2012, Blogger SíleC said…

    Very, very bad form. And as everyone else has said, their version of your nails is utter crap.

  • At 12:19 am, June 08, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Lynnie,

    Seriously, your nail art is a million miles ahead of most other beauty blogs, "amaze nailz" :-)

    It is insulting and frustrating that other blogs wouldn't link you if they're using your images. Anybody who ventures into the world of blogging must realise that it is a step above pinterest and therefore new rules & etiquette must apply. If they graciously learn these lessons along the way then well and good - tally ho!

    As for the companies and websites that use your images without linking, I'm insulted for you. It says a lot for your talent that this is the standard they want to achieve with their products but I know it must be beyond frustrating - if they want your talent they should be contributing to the mortgage...

    You have serious talent, I love your writing and god dammit you got skills with nails...mad skills.


  • At 3:05 pm, June 08, 2012, Blogger Rose Eva said…

    That's absolutely awful! :( Hope it never happens again.

    ­Rose Eva

  • At 8:30 pm, June 08, 2012, Blogger Sabrina said…

    Lynnie that is so rude. Instead of just writing a quick note to say its your nail image, they replace your pic with some other shite, RAGE! Talk about being both stubborn and ignorant and the same time.

  • At 2:04 pm, June 09, 2012, Blogger Unknown said…

    You guys are flipping amazing *wipes tear.* Thank you all so, so much for your support and lovely comments; I really appreciate it x

    Andrea - oooh that's interesting, and thanks for digging up the link for me. They're obviously a dodgy biscuits kind of crowd!

  • At 9:14 pm, June 10, 2012, Blogger Unknown said…

    i think its so unprofessional of them. Its obv someone in an office who was just doing a half arsed job... Douches!!!

  • At 10:33 am, June 21, 2012, Anonymous Bethan davies said…

    So upsetting, especially as e.l.f is a fantastic brand and they usually have great customer service - replying to queries, sorting out any issues with products, being generally helpful etc, so its really disappointing to hear how rude and unprofessional they've been :( x

  • At 4:20 pm, June 24, 2012, Blogger Unknown said…

    oscarwells - totally.

    Bethan - I've heard that in the past; I think it's one reason why I was particularly surprised/disappointed by this whole incident!

  • At 6:00 pm, June 29, 2012, Blogger Carolyn said…

    I would love to see you have a beautiful watermark on your photos instead of just your site address. Especially with your etsy shop now, it might be a good way to tie in all of your online loveliness. - Carolyn

  • At 7:25 pm, June 29, 2012, Blogger Unknown said…

    Carolyn - that makes two of us :) To be honest, the biggest issue is a purely practical one: I'm just not sure how to go about actually creating/easily implementing one across all my pics. I'd definitely like to have a more cohesive online presence - I guess I should get on that!

    I'd be really interested to know what kind of watermark you think would look good, if you don't mind sharing?


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