A woman followed a blogger around the world posting exactly the same Instagrams

Social media popularity means having loads of fans who draw inspiration from your posts every day, but sometimes they can go too far. That’s what blogger Lauren Bullen found out when she came across an Instagram account dedicated to copying all of her photos.

Bullen runs the Gypsea Lust blog and Instagram, which chronicle her travels around the world with her partner Jack Morris. She discovered the unsettlingly dead-on imitation when a fellow travel blogger shared an image from an Instagram [email protected]_alexa that looked a lot like one she’d posted on her own Instagram and blog (@diana_alexa’s account is now set to private). More similarities emerged once Bullen compared a series of photos from her own and Diana’s Instagrams. Not only was Diana taking pictures in the same locations, she was copying Bullen’s poses, outfits, and captions, and had even enlisted her boyfriend or a male friend to imitate Morris’s clothes and poses in several images copied from both Bullen and Morris.

Understandably, the whole situation had Bullen pretty weirded out. In a Nov. 11 blog post titled “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” she wrote that the person was “copying and stealing someone’s art to a ridiculously creepy level” and potentially putting her and Morris’ livelihood at risk. She said, “A lot of what Jack and I do is work with companies and brands to create imagery & promotion – this is our business and how we are able to continue to create this for everyone.”

Gypsea Lust - Diana Alexa 2
CREDIT: Gypsea Lust

In the days since the story broke, Bullen has added an update to the blog post, stating that Diana has apologized and they “have addressed this entire situation together.” However, what remains unaddressed is the larger issue of intellectual property with regard to social media.

In Instagram’s Terms of Use, intellectual property and copyright appear to cover any original images that a user has taken and uploaded themselves, but Diana’s actions — taking imitations of Bullen’s photos rather than simply reposting them as her own — are in a gray area. To make things even more confusing, it is legal to make slight alterations to someone else’s Instagram or social media photos and then use those altered versions for profit, as in the case of artist Richard Prince who did just that in 2015; he got away with it because the court ruled his work was “transformative” rather than plagiarism.

Better to stay on the safe side by keeping your content original. Why spend all that time and energy imitating someone else? It’s so much more fun to make your own memories.

Tags: instagram