Polyvore.com allows users to swipe copywritten material from anywhere on the web and import it onto the site and then create collages or "sets" from imported images. Polyvore supplies the graphics application which can be used to create derivative works and remove watermarks and copyright information from imported images.
More often than not these images are not credited back to the original creator and in nearly every instance images are swiped without the express permission of their creators.
Here, http://www.flickr.com/photos/8504507@N02/3172837696/page2/ Pasha Sadri, owner of the Polyvore website, admits in a response to an artist whose original artwork was stolen and manipulated using Polyvore's graphics application to make illegal derivatives, "polyvore is meant to be a fashion website. people clip product images (from a site like gap.com) and use the images to create fashion layouts. that is why we have the clipping tool. we potentially earn money if someone goes from polyvore to gap to buy that product (eg: gap pays us a commision). we do not directly sell anything, like your images."
This means this service is a partnership with large retailers. This also means there is absolutely no reason why Polyvore should include an ability to clip any and every image from across the net if it is merely a "fashion website".
Polyvore has not actively educated its users on copyright and has not taken any initiative to aid in the protection of intellectual property, rather it has created an atmosphere that not only condones but encourages intellectual property theft. What's worse, Sarah from Polyvore stated last year on the Polyvore blog that they not only encouraged the printing of "sets" they were also considering setting up printing as a feature on the Polyvore website. ( http://blog.polyvore.com/2008/01/copyright-issues.html ) They are effectively encouraging the reproduction of copywritten work without the creator's ok, a guaranteed right to the copyholder via United States Copyright Laws. A right being unlawfully stripped away by Polyvore's encouragement of printing collages.
Coupled with the fact that the owner of the website has made his intentions clear, that the website is to be a "fashion website" and nothing more, this gross misuse of intellectual property that is so clearly outside the scope of the website's intent must cease immediately.
Cease and desist letters have been sent by droves of artists whose images were stolen from blogs, personal websites, portfolios, and venues through which work is sold and although images are taken down initially, many of the same images reappear on the site later on. A cease and desist does *not* expire and should not need to be sent more than once.
Images are taken from direct sources in an overwhelming majority of instances where the owner of the original work is easily accessible to reach regarding use of their work on the website. Users do not do this and simply import these images as they are found. Polyvore's system makes this a one click action aiding in the swift theft of intellectual property which is a direct violation of United States Copyright Laws.
Because this problem has persisted for the last year without a solution that satisfies both sides set in place as well as Pasha Sadri's apathy and subsequent income while artists original work become "casualties" of Polyvore's service and ultimate goal, we artists feel we have no other choice than to publicly call for the Polyvore website to be shut down.
If you would like more information regarding this ongoing issue, please visit the following links to see individual artists take on the matter -
And most recently....
We artists need to protect out intellectual property and will not stand idly by while our work is so clearly infringed upon. Thank you for your support.