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Fashion Copious, a blog has been posting all sorts of magazine covers and editorial spreads from across the global fashion industry since 2008, was targeted with a cease-and-desist letter from Vogue Germany this month for the very practice that it has built its readership upon—posting magazine photo scans. Blog founder John Haro decided to go ahead and publish the letter while asking readers what they thought of Vogue's argument. The letter from Vogue Germany's lawyer reads, in part:
Accordingly, I demand on behalf of Condé Nast Germany that you immediately and permanently cease and desist from distributing, copying and/or making available the photographs as set out above on your website www.fashioncopious.typepad.com and/or in any other media and respond to this letter immediately to confirm in writing that you will do so.
Should we discover continued evidence of unlawfully distributing, copying and/or making available the aforementioned photographs by you, we will take legal action as we deem appropriate in co-ordination with Condé Nast's U.S. legal advisors.
Haro and his readers argue that Fashion Copious drives magazine sales by posting the pictures. "I've always viewed what I do here as promoting magazines, websites, models, agencies, etc," Haro writes. "And other entities have learned to embrace sites like Fashion Copious and use them to their advantage, but here we are with Condé Nast Germany."
In a follow-up post, Haro gathered reader comments and continued to post the email correspondence with Vogue Germany. He says that reposting photos shouldn't be punishable by law.
All this being said, there is the reality of things. Most other publications have since understood and settled with the notion that 1) it's practically impossible to fight this fight on the internet. A simple Google search, by Conde Nast Germany, will have shown them that their images are all over the web, including Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and the list grows into the thousands from there on. How can they fight this without an army of lawyers and high legal fees? And 2) why fight it when what sites like mine do is offer free promotion to their magazines. And actually benefit them, per the comments from the readers.