friday finds ~ something a little personal for all subscribers.
a long story about a big conundrum in the world of blogging and what i'm doing about it moving forward.
as i mentioned last week, i have been going through a difficult personal issue, but it actually primarily pertains to the blog. i’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching on how to handle it, and what to share with you, and my gut tells me to share as openly as possible with you, as that’s what i’ve always tried to do here.
so my situation is that I've been threatened with a lawsuit for some images i used on the old, original blog, going back as far as 2014. as you know, i've removed my old blog and moved to substack, but i was contacted after i’d already decided i was shutting down the original blog, so i didn't shut it down because of the lawsuit — it was simply just strange timing.
there's a new (and awful) business model that's been started wherein a company starts a stock photo agency utilizing old archival images from photographers. these agencies buy up photographers' old stock images to include in their stock photo inventory and then go after anyone who's used the images for copyright infringement. mind you, i don’t believe the photographers see a dime of this money — it’s strictly a money-making machine invented by someone, which is what has been happening to me. some of these images were approved by the photographers way back when but it was always done informally and i have little or no record of correspondence, because sometimes it was just simply a direct message, or it was an image used in online magazines, who literally asked me to share their featured stories. and as i said, in this case, some were used almost 10 years ago. and i don’t even know if these stock companies owned the images at the time i used them. i don’t think they did.
if you’ve followed here for a long while (i’ve been blogging since 2006), you’ll know it’s important to me to always hunt down the original sources for photos and give full photo credit on each and every blog post, but these agencies don't care. there’s no cease and desist warning you and asking you to remove the images in question, they just threaten you with a lawsuit for terrific sums of money. this has happened to me on a smaller scale a few times, this time, though it was almost triple digits in dollars that this agency wanted from me. to wipe me out, essentially with an amount of money i don’t even have. and not to benefit the artists — it’s pretty much just extortion.
after a lot of back and forth and me making my arguments, i got them down to low double digits, but still a lot of my savings. i don’t have the time or money to go to court with a large company like this one, either. basically, they just want whatever they can get, so i probably should have offered them less. i won’t go into all of that here — it’s too depressing, but if you have questions about this issue on your own blogs, i’m happy to try and help, so just drop me a line. i can tell you, it’s happening with other design bloggers — many of my contemporaries have the same thing happening to them, so it wasn’t just an off-chance, one-time thing. it’s a business these people have created to make money going after bloggers. as i mentioned, i doubt the original photographers even see a cent of the payments made or even know of the lawsuits. and i cannot go through another lawsuit again or i will indeed be bankrupt.
so — what does that mean going forward for this blog? that’s what i’ve been trying to sort out. i know you’ve come to love my curations of decor images, color stories, etc. but i’m pretty limited on what images i can share with you at this point. it takes a lot of time and effort that i don’t have the luxury of, stopping and writing for image permissions that sometimes go unanswered or take weeks for a response, but again, i always credit the original photo source and link back to the original source. most photographers thank me for sharing their work and are thrilled, and many have reached out requesting i share their work. my goal has always been twofold — to share beautiful, inspiring design work with you, and to uplift the careers of the talented designers, photographers, and artists that i share.
so, this is what i’ve come up with moving forward.
i may have to post a little less, just for the basic reason that i’ll have less content to work with — at least at first. but my plan is to get back, in some ways, to my roots wherein on my original blog i shared a lot of home tours and art studio tours from artists, designers, and small makers. i like the idea of sharing design that’s more personal, accessible and hopefully relatable to you. that doesn’t mean there won’t be my usual eclectic and unique look at the professionally photographed design world, just maybe a little less of it while i take more time to gather permissions directly from photographers. i’m also going to try and shoot more myself — including travel and city guides, and home, studio, and shop tours. i also want to share with you inspiring books and films. i’m also going to try my hand at something brand new, substack chat — kind of like a group chat or live hangout here on substack.
i want to focus on small businesses and help lift them up, so sharing their creative spaces and their style should be fun and inspiring. i also want to continue, even more so, my love of vintage. so that means hunting down vintage shopping resources for you, featuring small vintage shops, both brick & mortar and online, and more about their creative backgrounds and studio spaces. i’m also planning on doing more vintage shopping round-ups for you, like this post which was happily so popular. vintage is the ultimate in sustainable shopping, and i love that. i want to promote affordable, achievable design that isn’t so consumer-driven. more repurposed and recycled — that is my goal.
i’ll continue with my wear this there posts and friday finds, as well. there are never enough great restaurants, hotels, and ensemble ideas to share! and friday finds have always been about my eye for what i find uniquely interesting and creative out there in the design world and hope you will, too.
so, that was a lot! the other piece of this news is that for any reason my new blog plan doesn’t resonate with you, you are free to cancel your subscription at any time. you will be pro-rated for the time you spent here and fully refunded for any subscription time you have left. substack does that automatically the moment you unsubscribe (although it may take a few days to your bank account). so no worries there. i was worried about that because i most certainly don’t want to leave any of you disappointed or feeling like you’ve been taken advantage of. but, if you can hang with me a little bit while i reinvent the wheel here, i naturally would love love love to have you. i’m rather excited about the new challenge and i really hope you will be, too.
thank you for reading this long and meandering explanation of what’s what. i continue to adore writing and inspiring you and hope to do it for a long while to come. and, as always if there’s something you’d like to see more (or less) of here, please do comment below. i’d love to hear from you. thanks so much for being here, for subscribing and supporting me, and for listening.
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Oh Victoria. So sorry for what you’re going through. It is simply criminal what this company is doing.
Your plan for the future, though, sounds absolutely terrific. Count me in.
Hope you get some much needed downtime this weekend. Take care.
What a cynical and predatory business model. It doesn’t seek a constructive remedy to a live complaint from the creator; it’s just a money-grabbing scheme. I’m really sorry this is happening. I know you are always diligent about crediting others when possible.