While some brands are openly transparent with bloggers and the projects that they work on together, others seem to skip over them. Probably, you already know this from Betty's blog or from Pandora's, it is case of Zara using illustration of bloggers on their t-shirts.
When I saw this on Betty's website and read that she was very disappointed because she was not even asked for permission, the first thought that came to my mind was that Zara made a huge mistake and definitely Betty has a strong case against them. But then I did analyze the situation and realized that probably the artist that made the illustration was contracted by Zara and probably payed for the use of his work. Or at least, if they didn't, he would be entitled to be pissed off about the situation.
It is also he case of Pandora, who has a problem with both Zara and Pepe Jeans for the same situation. There's no doubt that these girls are the subject of the illustration, and all resemblance are obvious.
If I found out that someone had drawn a cartoon version of me and put it on a t-shirt, especially a company as big as Zara, I'd feel excited, then confused and probably pissed off that I wasn't at least informed. However, that's probably as far as it would go, since an illustration is the intellectual property of the artist who drew it, and as long as I am going public posting pictures of myself on the internet I surely am aware of the consequences.
The illustration is an original work. Does she have the right to complain? Of course! I'd probably complain too. Is it illegal for Zara to do this? Of course NOT!
Contrary to what many people apparently think, it is NOT ILLEGAL to draw an illustration from a reference image, a photography, another piece of art or illustration. I did a little research on the internet and I found out that: this kind of thing is like a "derivative work", protected and described under the Copyright Act as “a work based upon one or more pre-existing works” such as an “art reproduction”. So, this illustration is a reproduction of o photography that did not even belong to Betty in therms of copyright policy.
The creator of the derivative is entitled to the copyright of the parts of the new work they created so if they draw a totally new drawing, they are legally entitled to use it as their own, even if it's based on a photo or another piece of art. The original photo is the intellectual property of whoever took it, the drawing is the property of the illustrator who drew it!