After having written two articles this week on ethical fashion as it relates to environmental responsibility, my conscience wouldn’t allow me to pass over the issue of blogging responsibility, which concerns copyrights and the Internet.

For anyone who is not a lawyer or didn’t study law, the topic is complex. Although in my MBA program I took one course in business law, we only briefly dealt with the subject. So, far from being an expert on the matter, I merely seek to be responsible in my blogging.

The first principle I apply is “fair use,” which states that the public may use portions of copyrighted materials for educational and non-commercial purposes of reviews, commentaries, critiques, and parodies, as long as they do not financially hurt the source. Obviously, judgements passed on these matters tend to be very subjective.

For this reason I write all my article reviews from scratch, rarely quoting any source verbatim. When I do quote a portion of a work, directly or indirectly, I cite the source and place a link to site. Always avoiding parody and criticism, I attempt to portray the facts objectively so that the readers may judge for themselves. When possible, I like to inform the subjects of my reviews by sending them a notification link to the article.

Use of photos is a stickier topic and even less clear cut than the rules of fair use. When I write an article on an emerging designer, new label, men’s boutique, or fashion event, I normally try to obtain a relevant photo for review directly from the their website. When successful, I cite the source and place a link.

In the event I wish to obtain a photo from a source other than the subject of review–i.e., e-zines, electronic magazines or newspapers, newsletters, or other blogs–I begin by reading the terms of use and follow accordingly. When the terms of use are not clear, I write directly to the contact address, explaining my objectives and requesting clarification. Some grant permission, others require a fee; the replies are varied.

If you ever read my blog and come across an article in which you feel that I have infringed on your copyrights or those of others, please inform me. Although I hope this never happens, I will do my best to remedy the situation immediately.

The goal of my writing is non-commercial and educational: namely, to promote emerging designers, obscure labels, less publicized fashion events, and unknown men’s boutiques. So read on… I hope you enjoy it!

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