The Mexican photo community is up in arms after a photographer and his wife claimed to have trademarked “Boudoir” and took down scores of photographer’s pages on Facebook and Instagram that mentioned the term “boudoir.”
Jorge Lara and Maria Moscoso have received serious backlash with sponsors dropping the opportunistic pair forcing Lara to backpedal and explain his actions.
Boudoir photographers in Mexico who had worked hard for years to build their social media pages suddenly found they had been deleted after Lara and Moscoso issued takedown notices claiming to have registered the term “Boudoir” with the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI).
“Having a registration gives you the exclusivity of using that name or signs to differentiate yourself from the competition,” Lara first wrote on Facebook.
“Having registered the Boudoir brand I have the right to use it exclusively, therefore, through a procedure, I uploaded my trademark registration to Meta and I am requesting that all accounts, profiles, etc. that use the name as a trademark be canceled.”
Data Noticias published screengrabs of direct message conversations over Facebook between Lara and an affected photographer that appear to show him threatening people to not use the term boudoir.
“It is important that you do not change the name again because right in the message that Facebook sends they mention that if there is information again, they will definitively cancel your accounts,” he writes.
“You can’t carry the word Boudoir. That is precisely the registered word.”
The anonymous photographer who took the screengrab argues back: “Oh really? But why? It’s a global term I don’t think the IMPI says that…I just want my clients back.”
Despite Lara’s claims that he had registered the word “Boudoir” as a trademark, it was later revealed that the name IMPI approved was “Boudoir in Mexico” and not just the term “Boudoir.”
“He believed that registering his trademark makes him the owner of the word ‘Boudoir’ and of what it means and represents, he couldn’t be more wrong,” says Mexican boudoir photographer Carlos Dorantes.
“According to the law in Mexico, you cannot register the technical or common use names of the products or services that are intended to be distinguished by the brand.”
In other words, while Lara and his wife may have a claim to the name “Boudoir in Mexico” they cannot shut down photographers such as one called “Victoria Boudoir” who had her Facebook page deleted by the Machiavellian duo.
“They threw my Victoria Boudoir account at me,” writes Victoria on Facebook. “What is being done on Meta (Facebook and Instagram) is unethical,” she says.
“These people decided to have someone look for all the pages/accounts that included the word ‘Boudoir’ in their name, to report them [to Meta] and remove them without prior notice. In my case, my account was 7 years old and almost 10,000 followers — it was deleted overnight.”
Lara and Moscoso have received strong condemnation from the photo community in Mexico. PetaPixel readers will be aware of just how catastrophic losing a business social media page for a photographer can be — for many, it’s how they pick up business and clients.
For what they have done, Lara has found his sponsors queuing up to drop him. Foto Distribuidora Vyorsa, a major photography store in Mexico, announced on Facebook they would not be working with Lara any further.
“Given the controversy that has been generated with the photographer Jorge Lara, we have decided to cancel all collaboration with the aim that the affected parties find a prompt solution to their requests,” it writes.
Meanwhile, Master Class Photographers, which provides learning courses across Latin America including some taught by Lara, also cut ties with him — deleting his online tutorials from its website and offering free courses for the people affected by Lara.
“There has been a copyright dispute surrounding the word ‘Boudoir’ that has led to the suspension of several Facebook and Instagram accounts,” it writes on Facebook. “This is not right and we do not support it.”
Rectifying the Situation
For his part, Lara has accepted some culpability and in a Facebook post, he offered to help affected photographers get their accounts back. He claims nine Facebook and Instagram accounts were suspended.
“We accept the way in which the protection of the brand was made with the Meta platform, but we were always open and respectful with those who came to ask about their accounts and were released in a positive and timely manner.” Lara writes.
“The word Boudoir is obviously free for any photographer to use as part of their services, advertising, or promotion.”
In another post, Lara claims to have received death threats over the situation and is taking legal action against the offenders. His personal social media accounts have now been deleted.
He did share the email for his legal team so those affected can contact him and resolves the release of their accounts. The email is [email protected]
Note: Most of the correspondence in this article was machine translated so PetaPixel apologizes for any nuance that may be lost in translation.
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.