This week it was alleged that online media publication PopSugar stole and repurposed 'millions' of pieces of content created by independent bloggers.
The content in question was uploaded by each individual blogger with corresponding affiliate links through LIKEtoKNOW.it and RewardStyle, programmes which allow bloggers to make a small commission when users click through their content and purchase an item through the apps.
According to Fashionista, it is claimed that PopSugar removed the affiliate links from the content, and re-uploaded them to the site using new links through which PopSugar made a profit.
— Pamela (@PamelaNicole84) April 17, 2018
@POPSUGAR why are you stealing my Instagram content and using your own affiliate links instead of the ones that I selected when I created the post?!?! This is unacceptable!! @rewardStyle @LIKEtoKNOW_it @AmberVenzBox
— Becca/Peaches to Pen (@PeachestoPen) April 16, 2018
'As an influencer myself, I am fully aware of the investment required to create original content and it was disappointing to see more than 1,800 of my personal images displayed on PopSugar.com, stripped of all RewardStyle commissionable links and instead monetized by ShopStyle affiliate links,' RewardStyle Co-Founder and President Amber Venz Box told Fashionista
'Our legal team continues to review the matter and we will circulate updated communications once we're able.'
Some bloggers are claiming copyright infringement for the use of the images without consent, and others are voicing their disgust at the repurposing of the content for profit.
Both PopSugar and ShopStyle have responded to the allegations.
ShopStyle released a statement, saying: 'We are conducting a thorough investigation.'
'As part of the investigation, PopSugar's ability to create ShopStyle links has been disabled effective immediately.'
— Brian Sugar (@briansugar) April 17, 2018
PopSugar CEO Brain Sugar responded with a statement via Twitter yesterday evening.
He claims that the shopable programme was a tool used internally within the company to analyse blogger fashion trend.
He said that the tool was mistakenly available to the public, and that they made a total of $2,695.00 through the links.
Sugar wrote that PopSugar will be reimbursing the profit to the bloggers who earned the money through the use of their content, before apologising for the incident.