The luxury fashion house Dior has recently come in to the spot light for allegedly infringing the copyright of a popular Instagram influencer, ‘SwedishandStylish’.
With social media followers numbering anywhere from the hundreds of thousands to millions, ‘influencers’ are exactly that: they represent an untapped goldmine for brands seeking to deliver targeted advertising to already interested consumers. Moreover, given that influencers typically use social media platforms such as Instagram to share their content, brands will have a quantifiable metric (in the form of likes, re-shares, click through purchases etc.) by which to measure the impact of their advertising.
The arrangement is typically mutually beneficial: not only to brands get access to consumers they know are already interested in their goods because of a typical ‘image’ an influencer is associated with, the influencer will often receive free samples of the goods or services they are promoting, in addition to a fee. As an alternative career, influencers have gone from savvy individuals working out of their bedroom to generating whole agencies comprised of influencers on their books.
It comes as an interesting development against this backdrop to note thatSwedishandStylish has lodged a claim against Dior for allegedly infringing her copyright in the New York District Court. The influencer cited the use of two particular images from her account in the brand’s lookbooks:
“By failing to obtain authorization from the copyright owner to use the photos or to compensate the copyright owner for [its] use [of the images],” the influencer argues that Dior “has avoided payment of license fees and other financial costs associated with obtaining permission to exploit the infringed photographs, as well as the restrictions to which the copyright owner is entitled to and would place on any such exploitation, including the right to deny permission altogether.”
Briffa supports both brands and a number of private individuals in the public eye: we has been involved in this rapidly developing area of law since the outset.
We have particular expertise in negotiating influencer agreements, merchandise agreements, licensing deals and overall trade mark strategy. Whether you are an influencer or an established brand, it pays to give these issues serious consideration before embarking on what should be a mutually beneficial relationship.
Written by Tom Synott, Associate Solicitor