The Etsy Blog

Etsy, I See Copyright Infringement

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

SarahSays

Copyright infringement is a hot topic on Etsy and in the media. As we see in the You be the Judge series, there are always at least two side to any infringement story. Many artists, lawyers and even judges may disagree as to what constitutes copyright infringement and alternatively what should be deemed fair use or otherwise allowed by law.

But what about items on Etsy?

If you feel like an item or material on Etsy violates YOUR intellectual property right, please send Etsy the information we need, as set forth in Etsy’s Copyright and Intellectual Property Policy. Etsy needs six pieces of information before we will comply with our policy and remove the material.

When Etsy receives proper notice from a copyright owner or a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner, Etsy, as a venue, complies with our policies and removes the material. Etsy treats all complaints seriously, whether the complaint is from a well known company, an individual, or from an Etsy member.

You may wonder, why not just flag the item? Why jump through these hoops?

This is because an allegation of infringement is a serious matter. In fact, if you materially misrepresent that a product or activity is infringing your intellectual property, you may be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys’ fees).

Under United States copyright law, only the legal or beneficial owner of an exclusive right under a copyright is entitled to take action. In other words, copyright owners are responsible for policing their own rights and bear the cost of policing. It must be the copyright owner — not a simply well-intentioned member of the Etsy community — who reports copyright infringement and ultimately decides what uses are permitted and what uses may violate rights.

If you were to discover that an individual had utilized your copyright protected work, it’s up to you to decide how to proceed. You may find that the use is absolutely fine. In fact, this use could bring you great publicity! You may choose to ask the person to enter into some sort of agreement to use your work. On the other hand, you may decide that you want the use to stop. The choice is up to you (and maybe your lawyer).

Here’s an example: a t-shirt on Etsy has an iconic cartoon character silk screened on it. The owner of the copyright of the cartoon character has the right to decide how to proceed. The t-shirt maker may have permission to use the cartoon character in their work. But if copyright owner believes that the use is infringing, the owner might ask a seller to stop selling the items. Alternatively, the owner might ask the seller to enter into a licensing agreement. The copyright owner might simply choose to allow the use.

If you see something on Etsy that you feel infringes on your intellectual property rights, you may choose to contact Etsy and provide us with the information as specified in our policies, found at this link: http://www.etsy.com/copyright_policy.php.

Let me know what you think about this topic!


This information is for educational and informational purposes only. The content should not be construed as legal advice. The author and Etsy, Inc. disclaim all responsibility for any and all losses, damages, or causes of action that may arise or be connected with the use of these materials. Please consult a licensed attorney in your area with specific legal questions or concerns.

NOTE: This was originally published on October 30, 2007. We changed the timestamp to bring it up to the top for a refresher!

Sarah Feingold is Etsy's in-house attorney. She is also a jeweler with an extreme sweet tooth.

  • HeyMichelle

    HeyMichelle says:

    Copyright law is confusing for a lot of people- thanks for clearing this up!

    7 years ago

  • wired

    wired says:

    Well-written and concise. Great article. I think that if people have agreements to use copyrighted material then it would benefit them to add that to their listings too.

    7 years ago

  • babastudioPrague

    babastudioPrague says:

    Very clear - thanks. We are actually currently in discussion with an Etsy jewellery maker who would like to use our images. It sounds like it could be an exciting and beneficial project all round if it works out!

    7 years ago

  • davewright

    davewright says:

    I would think that Etsy would err on the site of protecting an artist's work. I would venture a guess that less than one percent of the people on Etsy who are using copyrighted material in their works actually have the legal right to do so - and of course it's not possible for a copyright holder to police the entire internet, not to mention the physical world. I'd be happier to see a policy in place that required a seller to show proof of a licensing agreement before using another artist's copyrighted material. That would be an extra step for people who wanted to sell licensed works, but it's not unusual. Photographers submitting stock images are required to submit signed model releases, for instance. A policy like that would be a step towards protecting creative people.

    7 years ago

  • AmorDePlata

    AmorDePlata says:

    Great article, especially the part about some sellers having permission to use copyrighted material.

    7 years ago

  • dmriceart

    dmriceart says:

    Excellent step in the right direction, Sarahsays! It is so important for Etsy to be a positive role model site in this situation, and I believe the Etsy policy on handling this subject is moving forward in a great way! Thanks much for the article!

    7 years ago

  • PoPkO

    PoPkO says:

    i ahve never been able to flag ANYTHING because i dont have the program to send an email from that link. i wish there was a form it could take me to instead. i just dont have time ot go to my personal email account, copy info, paste, send etc. A form would be a lot more concise, wouldnt it? It would help answer WHY its being flagged immedaitely.

    7 years ago

  • crimsoncat05

    crimsoncat05 says:

    I guess I see a few things missing from this article... maybe you could expand on the process for people?? Like, for instance, if I had flagged that T-shirt to Etsy admin, would I get an e-mail from Etsy directing me to contact the copyright holder myself?? Would I get an e-mail saying that *Etsy* doesn't get in the middle of these things?? (*Does* Etsy get in the middle of these things?? my understanding was no... am I wrong??) Maybe you could include some information in this article about what, if anything, would happen as a result of the item in this specific example being flagged to Etsy admin... what are the next steps, and how does the *flagger* get their concerns answered??

    7 years ago

  • jmaccknit

    jmaccknit says:

    Why are there scarves under this article? Did I miss something...

    7 years ago

  • stellaloella Admin

    stellaloella says:

    The scarves have fringe. You know, for copyright inFRINGEment. (Come on, it's clever, really!)

    7 years ago

  • littlellama

    littlellama says:

    Omg, I love these pictures! And I figured it out all on my own :)

    7 years ago

  • SeaFindDesigns

    SeaFindDesigns says:

    EXCELLENT ARTICLE! I say to everyone EDUCATE yourself as well! Before I started on Etsy I did a huge sweep on copyright.gov and the TM websites to make sure I wasn't infringing on any names or descriptions I use for my sea glass. One week in to Etsy and I was notified by a non-Etsian that I was guilty of copyright infringement for intellectual property DESIGN. Logically, I asked for the registration numbers, which the party could not provide!!! They were deceitful. My point being that had I not educated myself, I may have believed the accuser and allowed myself to be bullied! So make sure you check before you accuse or just to arm yourself!! p.s. She called me an intellectual thief!! Which I plan to copyright and sell!!!!

    7 years ago

  • tiffanyharvey

    tiffanyharvey says:

    While only the owner of the copyright can take legal action, surely Etsy could have a rule against illegal use of copyright images? I find it sad that Etsy would not want to take more of a stand against this.

    7 years ago

  • MetalheartDesign

    MetalheartDesign says:

    great article. i'm glad to hear that etsy doesn't waste a ton of money trying to get into the middle of others' copyright issues, when it doesn't have standing anyway.

    7 years ago

  • miriam

    miriam says:

    excellent article... I'm really concerned about this questions... thanks for explain to us. ;)*

    7 years ago

  • cinemadeverre

    cinemadeverre says:

    excellent- thank you!!

    7 years ago

  • LAVENDERDRAGONHERBS

    LAVENDERDRAGONHERBS says:

    I agree with DavidWright and TiffanyHarvey And my question is how is a company or person that is having their copyrighted items illegally used on Etsy supposed to even know about it?? Some might not even know of or about Etsy at all. And I also agree that if a shop has permissionto use a said copyright that they should post it in their listing as to cut down on the # of flaggings and forum posts on the subject.

    7 years ago

  • anickascottage

    anickascottage says:

    BIG Brother is ALWAYS watching! Google searches bring them right to it. Great article

    7 years ago

  • CityPretties

    CityPretties says:

    It's also an option, if you find something you think is a copyright infringement, to alert the actual copyright owner. Like if someone is selling a t-shirt with Daffy Duck on it, instead of flagging it, contact Time-Warner and let them know that someone is using their product. They'll decide if it's worth pursuing. The most diligent copyright infringement hunters I've ever seen are Tom Cruise's lawyers and Tiffany jewelers.

    7 years ago

  • quirkybags

    quirkybags says:

    I would like to see this information added to Etsy's Copyright FAQ page. As I understand it, Etsy will enforce copyright only if they are asked to by the owner. It seems that we are needlessly wasting our time and Admin's time by flagging these items (unless, of course, we are the copyright holder).

    7 years ago

  • fadingflowers

    fadingflowers says:

    I not even sure if reporting items that are copyright works. I pretty much gave up reporting on an items that I see. Numerous of times I have reported an item that was copyrighted, but no one came to address this matter.

    7 years ago

  • SarahSays Admin

    SarahSays says:

    Thanks for the comments. Etsy's Copyright Policy is http://www.etsy.com/copyright_policy.php (the link is also at the bottom of the page). Sarah

    7 years ago

  • PocoMutts

    PocoMutts says:

    Great article! Thanks for the valuable information!

    7 years ago

  • davewright

    davewright says:

    From the copyright policy, http://www.etsy.com/copyright_policy.php "It is Etsy’s policy to (1) block access to or remove material that it believes in good faith to be copyrighted material that has been illegally posted by any of our buyers, sellers, members or users; and (2) remove and discontinue service to repeat offenders." From the above article: "In other words, copyright owners are responsible for policing their own rights and bear the cost of policing." Mixed messages. Which is it? Does Etsy remove copyrighted material, or does it wait for the copyright owner to contact them?

    7 years ago

  • davewright

    davewright says:

    "Intellectual property rights are very important to Etsy." Or so they say. However, they're taking a very weak stand on the issue.

    7 years ago

  • SarahSays Admin

    SarahSays says:

    davewright: The first piece of information Etsy needs is laid out in the Copyright Policy: 1. A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright that has been allegedly infringed; Etsy is a venue and complies with the DMCA. Sarah

    7 years ago

  • alexart

    alexart says:

    hey jmaccknit, I didn't get the scarves either. I did notice the fringe but thought they meant they were copying each other. Hence,copyright. Duh. Oh well, Just wanted you to know you weren't alone julie

    7 years ago

  • curlyfrysc

    curlyfrysc says:

    ...they haven't been illegally posted so they can remain on the site. anyway, this article needs to be posted on the forums so people will stop being "report-happy" and go about their business!

    7 years ago

  • randomsupplies

    randomsupplies says:

    what about if it's an infamous copyright issue that the copyright holder has previously pursued against etsy...like Hello Kitty...should we flag THOSE items?

    7 years ago

  • msotherdenartglass

    msotherdenartglass says:

    It bothers me that etsy is not more proactive about this. I've seen ebay auctions pulled for people violating licensee agreements, copyright infringements, you name it. I wish if all the evidence is piled in front of etsy that they would take the extra step to ask the flagged shop for proof of permission.

    7 years ago

  • babyagoogoo

    babyagoogoo says:

    What about "Pop Art"? Is it fair game to paint a picture of an iconic toy or doll? Is that copyright infringement?

    7 years ago

  • starbrightgirl

    starbrightgirl says:

    I'm curious about the above as well.. Also - what about the usage of phrases or quotes - would this be copyright inringement too?

    7 years ago

  • quirkybags

    quirkybags says:

    What are the legal repercussions for Etsy as a venue if it actively promotes unlicensed items? What are the potential repercussions for sellers? Not all artists will stop at a cease and desist letter; many take violators directly to court.

    6 years ago

  • carolinableu

    carolinableu says:

    i would rather address the issue of copycat "designers". i have had several since i joined etsy. no designer will be taken seriously if they copy other people's work.

    6 years ago

  • quirke

    quirke says:

    Good question, quirkybags. Especially relevant considering the legal wranglings eBay has gone through lately for exactly this issue.

    6 years ago

  • bencandance

    bencandance says:

    Sarah says "Intellectual property rights are very important to Etsy." Is this only unless they are proven or "in general"? Because it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see a LOT of items that are obviously infringing on copyrights and yet Etsy has endorsed these sellers whole heartedly.

    6 years ago

  • kylietyler

    kylietyler says:

    Great topic to discuss! Question...is it considered copyright infringement to use the names of songs, lyrics or such for naming your piece of art or actually using in your art? For example, can you title a yellow shirt or paint a picture and have the words 'Yellow Submarine' on it (the title of a Beatles song)? Very curious to know. Thanks!

    6 years ago

  • dottyral

    dottyral says:

    If someone does have permission to use a copyrighted character (or whatever) shouldn't that be noted in their etsy listings? I'd think so. If it's not, I would assume that they don't have permission.

    6 years ago

  • andymathis

    andymathis says:

    that seems simple enough to me too, Dottyral.

    6 years ago

  • TerraScents

    TerraScents says:

    Dotty, you are very perceptive. And yes, if two shops or two people have an agreement to use images or designs that customers may see and potentially be confused by, it would behoove them both to note that permission was given. I have such a cooperative agreement with TWO shops! One I take pics for and another likes to use some of those pics in jewelry. All three of us acknowledge eachother so everything's cool. I even have signed copyright agreements which were signed by the one shop who sells the jewelry with my images on it.

    6 years ago

  • curlyfrysc

    curlyfrysc says:

    Each shop is responsible for what it sells and to abide by Etsy's rules. Etsy is at no fault if a seller uses images without permission. This is a wonderful article that everyone on Etsy should be reading. Thank you, Etsy!

    6 years ago

  • wickedminky

    wickedminky says:

    thanks for posting this. i think its important for artists on etsy to know that their original artwork will be protected and that etsy WILL do something about infringement. I LOVE ETSYYYY!

    6 years ago

  • TwistedThicket

    TwistedThicket says:

    I actually agree with what DaveWright (his first post) and TiffanyHarvey both said. They make a lot of sense.

    6 years ago

  • staceyrebecca

    staceyrebecca says:

    best part of the etsy article (aside from the pertinent information)? Detective monkey.

    6 years ago

  • eclipse

    eclipse says:

    Etsy is not responsible for infringing items on the site at large- it's up to the copyright owners to police that. Etsy does not pre-screen items or sellers. I agree with you up to this point. HOWEVER, Etsy is 100% responsible for the juried content of the front page, Storque articles, gift guides, etc. These are all hand-picked by Etsy staff. Please use due diligence in choosing items that comply with all of Etsy's terms of use, do's and don'ts, and any applicable laws.

    6 years ago

  • gemmafactrix

    gemmafactrix says:

    "thanks for posting this. i think its important for artists on etsy to know that their original artwork will be protected and that etsy WILL do something about infringement" --- Etsy isn't able to do much (okay, anything) about copyright infringement between sellers here. Etsy cannot protect your artwork, or my artwork, from being ripped off by other sellers.

    6 years ago

  • justynhegreberg

    justynhegreberg says:

    another hypothetical copyright infringement situation might be a burgeoning internet marketplace performing publicly a popular copyrighted childrens book. then that marketplace features items on their website that imitate that illustrations from copyrighted work. then some members of the marketplace mention that it might not be completely respectful of the author's copyright. that is when the website says that only the copyright owner can do anything about it.

    6 years ago

  • justynhegreberg

    justynhegreberg says:

    [edit} then that marketplace features items on their website that imitate illustrations from that copyrighted work.

    6 years ago

  • ruhue

    ruhue says:

    i am so disappointed. basically it feels like etsy is turning a blind eye to make a buck. i know a company that sells music for thousands of different unsigned artists. they make sure permission to use copyrighted material gets squared away when folks sell their music through them. if something falls through the cracks, they totally, seriously, listen to people reporting infringement, original creator of the music or not. they keep it real. i hope etsy sees the wisdom in that thinking. i know it can be a pain, but what your customers (sellers, buyers) need to know is that you, etsy, don't just follow the law. that you are real, decent, human beings who follow the ethical business values of a community. i know you are, so it's very confusing to hear etsy admin people abruptly stating that they follow the laws and cutting off people's conversations. if you had a better moral - maybe not legal but moral, case for this policy, you'd be able to have a more open dialogue. without that dialogue, this is just another impersonal business place with a thin veneer of talk about being a community. perhaps not... i hope you all take this in the spirit of sincerity it is proffered with. i hope you are listening.

    6 years ago

  • ruhue

    ruhue says:

    all apologies for the duplicate.

    6 years ago

  • underthewire

    underthewire says:

    The article is helpful, but as it also mentions flagging mass-produced items I thought it would address this issue and it does not. I don't flag often, but a couple times it was too blatant an offense to ignore. In one instance the shop announcement even promoted the company as a "pre-eminent manufacturer, order supplier and exporter" of finished jewelry in addition to the supplies. This is clearly not an individual or an approved collaborative effort. My issue is that these items are still there; if they violate Etsy's "handmade only" policy on jewelry (not including vintage or supplies) why isn't the policy enforced? If there's no enforcement than the rules are meaningless.

    6 years ago

  • underthewire

    underthewire says:

    sorry on the duplication...Enter button sticks :)

    6 years ago

  • angelstuff

    angelstuff says:

    "Intellectual property rights are very important to Etsy." In what way? Perhaps Etsy's own IP rights are important to it, but the IP rights of the sellers and of other corporations doesn't seem to be. As eclipse said, please don't put items that could be infringing on copyright on the front page. A person chooses the front page, and it's easy to see if something might be infringing copyright. A little due diligence won't kill you.

    6 years ago

  • SarahSays Admin

    SarahSays says:

    Hello: Thanks for the thoughtful replies. I hope to clarify some confusion. As I explained in this article and as we can see in my “You be The Judge” articles, it’s up to the intellectual property owner to determine if there’s a problem and then to determine what to do about it. And it’s not always “obvious” if a use may constitute infringement (and if it MIGHT constitute infringement, it's not always obvious what will happen in court). Does Etsy ever pull items? Yes. Etsy treats all proper notices the same, be it from an attorney of a HUGE brand or from a brand new DIY artist. Just like Etsy complies with our policies, each Etsy seller must comply with Etsy’s TOU and other policies. I know if I were to see a piece of my art reproduced without my permission I would want the right to weigh the benefits and downfalls of the use. This could be great publicity for me, or it could be harmful. It’s up to me, the artist, to decide what to do next. It’s not up to Etsy or members of Etsy to decide if something might be infringement on my behalf. I hope this helps. Thanks for the intelligent discussion. Please feel free to Convo me anytime about anything. Sarah

    6 years ago

  • rockerbaby

    rockerbaby says:

    What get's to me is that ,you spend all this time comming up with unique designs ,and then you turn around and see your design all over , even if you are protected under copyright law , still can't stop anyone from doing what they have set their mind on doing , and that is making money and being recognize , with other peoples desings and ideas. What can you do about this?

    6 years ago

  • JessicaDoyle

    JessicaDoyle says:

    How does this work for international sellers? I am governed by Canadian Copyright Law not US law. Etsy is an international site. It may physically be located in the States yet I do not sell from the States at all. My products are mailed from Canada. I reside in Canada and our Copyright laws are very different than US copyright laws. I am just curious? Thanks :)

    6 years ago

  • magicjelly

    magicjelly says:

    "...under United States copyright law, only the legal or beneficial owner of an exclusive right under a copyright is entitled to take action." Yes, true. But Etsy making an internal decision to prohibit suspect material is different to instigating legal action. As a venue, you are profiting from copyright infringement on a daily basis. Taking this 'no questions asked' stance could lead you into very sticky territory - look at what has recently happened to Ebay. Out of respect to the artists who are your customers, & to protect your own reputation & interests, I believe you should investigate all potential cases of copyright infringement by asking the sellers in question for evidence of their license to reproduce a copyright holders' IP - & if they fail to do so, the listing should be removed. That would not be legal action, & would not be outside your jurisdiction as a venue. It would be a sensible, responsible stance that would deter & therefore minimise the copyright infringement rife on this site.

    6 years ago

  • hannahfaerie

    hannahfaerie says:

    Have to agree with you magicjelly! there is a BIG difference between legal action and removing a suspect item.

    6 years ago

  • crochetbayboutique

    crochetbayboutique says:

    This is a great article. I am a Crochet Clothing Designer and I also write and offer the Crochet Patterns for most of my Designs. Each of my Patterns is Copyrighted, however I do grant permission to USE my patterns to make and sell the finished items providing my name is mentioned either as the Original Designer or Pattern Author. Also the person must use their own Photo of their finished item. As the copyright holder, it is MY responsibility to police the internet for those who might be selling copies of my patterns and passing them off as their own, or using my pictures without my authorization. Why would anyone expect Etsy to be the expert at spotting copyright infringement?

    6 years ago

  • peaseblossomstudio

    peaseblossomstudio says:

    I would like to see Etsy clarify somewhere in the TOU that unless you have a licensing agreement with a company, you cannot use their images. I think this statement would clear up a lot of confusion. I read through the TOUs on copyrights last night and didn't see this. This would be a wording change that would make it clear that even though Etsy is a venue, they are against copyright infringement.

    6 years ago

  • peaseblossomstudio

    peaseblossomstudio says:

    Sorry for the double post.

    6 years ago

  • TheInvitation

    TheInvitation says:

    I think Sarah wrote another wonderful article for us all to consider & good to see that it raises a few voices to speak their minds too. As Sarah said on 7/25, "I know if I were to see a piece of my art reproduced without my permission I would want the right to weigh the benefits and downfalls of the use. This could be great publicity for me, or it could be harmful. It’s up to me, the artist, to decide what to do next. It’s not up to Etsy or members of Etsy to decide if something might be infringement on my behalf." The difficult thing to bear (for someone like me that not only supports, but also helps to promote other's creative works)...is the part of when any of us may recognize an infringement (say by an artisan who is not on Etsy) -- and does not want to drop the dime, yet hopes a bunch of other creative types will read Sarah's articles & realize the importance of the info she is sharing! (and reasons not to be one of the infringers ourselves!) In my opinion, as a good natured soul, copying others is a moral issue above all. Yet, not only can it hurt your reputation, but it can also hurt you legally & monetarily! And I just couldn't think of putting myself to such shame with my clients! I think that alone is an important consideration for us all. It's just a crazy world...so it pays to be diligent. But I do think it also is a reward to care & look out for others as well! God gave us our gifts to use and share...not to take from others & call them our own. Moral me...but I really do care & believe we all have a creative nature in each & every one of us...and those are the ones we are rewarded best by! :)

    6 years ago

  • MiniMonster

    MiniMonster says:

    This is a fascinating debate...I didn't know so many etsy artists were law school drop outs...really good points made on both sides. However, as the U.S. Supreme court justice said about pornography, I can't define it, "but I know it when I see it". Obvious cases of infringement are just that...obvious.

    6 years ago

  • badcatjewelry

    badcatjewelry says:

    I think that crochetbayboutique brings up a wonderful point: "As the copyright holder, it is MY responsibility to police the internet for those who might be selling copies of my patterns and passing them off as their own, or using my pictures without my authorization." and ends her excellent post with this question: "Why would anyone expect Etsy to be the expert at spotting copyright infringement?" Etsy is not an expert. And you are right, they cannot be for every case. That being said, there are some obvious copyrights from well known companies world wide that *are* being used and sold. It is Etsy's responsibility to make sure these sellers are licensed. I'm gonna hit send then kick myself for doing so.

    6 years ago

  • badcatjewelry

    badcatjewelry says:

    sorry about the double post...not sure what happened.

    6 years ago

  • basementsafari

    basementsafari says:

    What about things sold that are marketed as being handmade, yet they are obviously MASS PRODUCED? 'You know it when you see it.' I knew someone who had a horrible case of infringement. Before she could apply her copyright to the image, it was already being reproduced. She said she was aware of the infringement but could not afford to do anything. The design was a big deal and went international. Sales going to whoever copyrighted it first, I guess. I felt awful when I sold a pair of vintage TAXCO Mexico earrings just to see that the person who bought them from me went ahead and coated the TAXCO stamps, then recast those originals. The stamps of TAXCO and the artist and date symbols were very valuable; by a specific TAXCO artist, and this buyer just put a coat of wax (most likely), then went ahead to sell them as her own modern design! she did not design those!!! A note on handmade bead, chain, and findings- jewelry makers would be that if it looks like yours, that doesn't matter. It doesn't have the same designer and you cannot easily patent these designs that so many jewelry artists use with the same basic materials. For most of that stuff, it is not really intellectual property since these things are simple to make and easy to find the same materials. Moreover, what's wrong with when people claim that their items are made of top quality materials, but they are not top quality It's a lie. Be aware. Be very aware. If only I cared about flagging things, it would be very annoying for ETSY Admin, but I generally don't. It's like an accident in a big city is less likely to have quick help, because everyone thinks someone else will be the hero, but not them(they're too busy). I don't flag because it's a lost cause for some and for others I think Etsy is aware of, and possibly doing something about certain sellers. You know it when you see it!

    6 years ago

  • basementsafari

    basementsafari says:

    Oh, I did once flag a couple of aged, dying pugs for sale for $3,000.00 That was horrendous. No thought.

    6 years ago

  • momomadeit

    momomadeit says:

    when you contact abuse at etsy, i would like to see a bit more personal reply than just referencing the info we already have read. i would hope that etsy will, in the future, take a greater stand on upholding the integrity of the site.

    6 years ago

  • warmhart

    warmhart says:

    I do the same thing that crochetbayboutique does. When I sell an e-book I allow resale rights with certain books under the agreement that they must include my name and information in the resell. I have even had to take it a step further to get software that keeps the product from being altered and in some cases from being re-produced. I do not know the who's and what's of how it works. LOL I just create, my husband is the technical guru.

    6 years ago

  • goosegrease

    goosegrease says:

    i personally think flaggers should show a little more courage and care to convo the offender with their concerns, being sure not to attack. some people seriously don't even know that this is an issue. or at the least, do as has been mentioned. go straight to the copyright holder and let them decide. etsy can't very well read the copyright holder's mind and know whether or not they want their art on someone else's product. seriously, etsy should be very concerned about the integrity of their web presence, HOWEVER, they should not have to babysit all of us. we are adults after all. storque articles should continue to be posted and time stamps changed to raise awareness. thanks for your hard work etsy. i'm certain none of us realize the time and energy and money that goes into such a work horse like etsy. kudos to you.

    6 years ago

  • 12Step

    12Step says:

    http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6051187

    6 years ago

  • CwButcher

    CwButcher says:

    If you don't what to get ripped off keep your work to your self and out of the public you know its going to happen,

    6 years ago

  • callmechristie

    callmechristie says:

    artists make money off selling the rights to their work. it sucks when other people take away their income by ripping them off.

    6 years ago

  • ninamartine

    ninamartine says:

    I have been thinking about this a lot lately. There seems to be a lot of people that are okay with knocking off other artist/designers work. Some of it is quite blatant. I also know that when it comes to things like purses, and dolls, there are not an unlimited amount os shapes just new ways of looking at them. I really think if you see something you like, expand on the idea, make it yours. and you are right no one should have to police it.

    6 years ago

  • sagittariusgallery

    sagittariusgallery says:

    CwButcher - If you don't what to get ripped off keep your work to your self and out of the public you know its going to happen, **** That's exactly the attitude we need to work away from. Acting like it's the artist's fault for not expecting they'd be ripped off is like telling a woman who was raped it was her fault because she stepped out the door. Seriously.

    6 years ago

  • PeppermintDaydreams

    PeppermintDaydreams says:

    thanks for this article! serious stuff indeed.

    6 years ago

  • idyllhands

    idyllhands says:

    What frustrates me about all of this is when an item is pulled for certain outlined reasons. Okay, they make sense, so I change my item to fit within the guidelines. However, there are about 100 other items that fall within the same violation that are still up because the person filing the complaint didn't earmark those. This is relation to using trademarked words or images (in my case it was words) in an items description. It doesn't seem fair - I would think if someone provides the 6 documents/proofs needed for one item, that other items that fall into that category should come down too. Are we just keeping our nose clean here at the expense of us small time sellers?

    6 years ago

  • GetReadySetGO

    GetReadySetGO says:

    this is a great article and topic. i have lots to say on this subject but for me it's a very delicate matter. i don't want to offend anyone. thanks for posting this article again- it really is a thought-provoking piece.

    6 years ago

  • zombuki

    zombuki says:

    It would be nice if there was a NOI (notice of infringement) form on Etsy that could be easily accessed.

    6 years ago

  • worksofwhimsy

    worksofwhimsy says:

    Thank you for addressing this subject in Storque. I think it would bee a good idea to have a bold red reminder on the listing page before a seller hits submit that says something like, "Using copyright protected characters or images without the permission of the copyright holder is ILLEGAL"

    6 years ago

  • theprint

    theprint says:

    Like someone else said, it looks an awful lot like Etsy is making it as hard as possible for those whose rights are violated, in the name of profit. People who steal are scum. By being overly protective of these criminals, Etsy is lowering itself to their level. Way to go. Let's take a look at what Etsy is asking for, before they will take a claim seriously: 1 - Actual signature needed. This just serves to delay the process, nothing else. They want to elimintate e-mail as a way to file complaints. Gee, thanks. I say, if there are important documents to sign, they can be signed after the complaint is investigated. 2 - Sufficient detail needed. This is so vague, Etsy can keep asking for more detail indefinitely. This is a huge out for them and a way to further delay action. 3 - Information on the infringing material. Is it common that people file complaints without identifying the violating product? They're asking you to precisely point it out (down to the listing number), because heaven forbid they should have to look it up themselves. The philosophy: make it as painstaking as possible, to detour people from filing complaints. 4 - Contact information. Etsy is asking for everything short of your SSN. An e-mail address is more than enough for initial contact. Why do they need my address to look into someone stealing my stuff? Again, this only serves to delay and annoy. 5 - A statement saying that you really really think someone used your stuff without permission. Come on, Etsy! Now you're just being stupid. Remember to add as many outs as they have though, because of... 6 - A statement under penalty of perjury that you're not lying. So, you have to put yourself on the line, before they'll even look at your complaint? Great service for thieves, not so much for Jane Artist, whose work is being ripped. I don't think so, Etsy. If I ever need to push a lawyer on another Etsy user (which I sincerely hope will NEVER happen), I'll be pushing him on Etsy as well. I don't see a point in even attempting to talk to someone, who is so obviously biased on the side of thieves. In fact, seeing how Etsy just doesn't care about other people's rights, is making me re-consider being a part of Etsy. Do I really want to associate my name with this?

    6 years ago

  • Linotte

    Linotte says:

    I think it's important to say that "copyright is created as soon as a person puts pencil to paper. Any person who makes a doodle, takes a photograph, writes a letter or paints a picture (regardless of quality) automatically owns the copyright to that doodle/ photograph/letter/painting (provided that it's original and not itself being a copy of somebody elses work)." (quoted from The Illustrators Guide to Law and Business). Copyright lasts for the persons lifetime + 70 years. Many people are confused about how copyright works. It is automatic. Registering copyright makes it easier to prove, but is not necessary. It exists automatically. I completely agree with what Magicjelly is saying above as well.

    6 years ago

  • meredithdillman

    meredithdillman says:

    I have a good question. Lets say the copyright owner or artwork is dead and the Etsy seller is representing themselves as the creator of the art. The owner cannot be contacted about it because they are not living. Does the Etsy seller than fall under the reseller rules because they are misrepresenting an item as their own creation? theprint, Actually Etsy's required DMCA notice is the same as required by Ebay, photobucket, flickr, and most other major sites as outlined in the DMCA law. I agree the signature part is annoying if you have a lot of infringements to deal with or are not in the US. Generally an electronic signature suffices elsewhere such as /Your Name/. You can find DMCA form letters easily and just copy in the URLS and info for your evidence. The information required was not decided by Etsy, but the law.

    6 years ago

  • theprint

    theprint says:

    What it really boils down to, is attitude. Etsy's attitude is the opposite of erring on the side of caution. It's disrespectful to artists everywhere, and especially so to the little guy, who doesn't have legal representation. I am happy to provide whatever information is needed. If indeed it is needed. I won't placate people who support criminals, just so they can keep making money, while I am forced to jump through their hoops.

    6 years ago

  • meredithdillman

    meredithdillman says:

    Sarah, You say "1. A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright that has been allegedly infringed;" But it says only physical in the copyright policy. This is unfortunately because I have friends on the other side of the world with copyright problems here.

    6 years ago

  • sagittariusgallery

    sagittariusgallery says:

    I dunno. I was ripped off here and Etsy took care of it right away. *Shrugs shoulders*. All I can do is speak from personal experience. Everything else is just assumptions and speculation.

    6 years ago

  • SarahSays Admin

    SarahSays says:

    Thank you for the thoughtful replies. I know that this is an important topic to artists. Please note that the six pieces of information that copyright owners (or agents of the copyright owners) are required by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Etsy, as a venue, must comply with the DMCA. Sarah

    6 years ago

  • SarahSays Admin

    SarahSays says:

    Meredithdillman, We prefer a physical signature by fax or regular mail. However, as specified in our policies we will accept an email notice by prior agreement. If a person provides us with the requested information, but cannot mail or fax the notice to us, we most likely will agree that an email notice is sufficient. Sarah

    6 years ago

  • claireandjanae

    claireandjanae says:

    It makes sense for Etsy to require paperwork for copyright infringement. Their policies are meant to protect them more than individual sellers. The policy to simply remove the item gives the copyright holder more power than a site that claims to be a copyright judge. Just imagine the amount of money their patent attorney would make determining if each listing had a patent or copyright infringement that someone could prosecute. I think the policy makes sense. Everyone acts like this is a huge moral issue but copyright law doesn't care about people's feelings. Having links to copyright and patent databases would probably help people. there are lots of problems with dishonest sellers. It is interesting to read everyone's opinion.

    6 years ago

  • dkoss2

    dkoss2 says:

    Thank you Linotte, I think this is something that ALOT of people don't understand about copyright and it's an important point in all of this.

    6 years ago

  • BohemianThings

    BohemianThings says:

    I agree with SeaFindDesigns. Educate yourself. Do YOUR homework. Understand the business of doing business. I am still learning the business, educating myself while I work on setting up shop Great article!

    6 years ago

  • squambo

    squambo says:

    This is a great article. Very informative and concise.

    6 years ago

  • TreasureBoxJewellery

    TreasureBoxJewellery says:

    Really interesting article - i always wonder about this! I was in 2 minds about opening an Etsy store to sell my stuff, as when you're just starting up as a designer (im still at Uni, 2nd year jewellery and silversmithing student), and you want to try and get your work out there, i do worry that there are those people who will, and can because they know how, take you designs and use them as their own, which makes you wonder why you put all the effort in! I know there's always going to be someone copying your designs, but apart from getting designs copyrighted, what else can you do? If your sat making them one by one, then someone takes your design and mass produces it, because they can afford to do this on a larger scale and publicising it as their own, can you stop them? This is definately something i need to read up on a bit more! Steffi

    6 years ago

  • poppyswickedgarden

    poppyswickedgarden says:

    this is a very good article and I have had many people who do not quite understand the laws question my creations on my other site where I use licensed product and recycle it into something else which is legal according to the first sale doctrine. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-sale_doctrine read up and keep informed! If you do what I do, don't let some company bully you around, saying it is not allowed.

    6 years ago

  • lordslivingworld

    lordslivingworld says:

    Just my two cents; the article was very informative. But I want everyone to know that Intellectual Property is extremely hard to defend. Especially, when it comes to crafts and art. I have several patterns that I thought were my own idea, but go to another craft show and find the same idea only in a different wood, who's was first, since I make mine from pine and his is walnut does it mean that copyright is infringed or not. There are so many minute nuances to copyright law that it is not just cut and dried.

    6 years ago

  • RoyalPrincess

    RoyalPrincess says:

    Some of the store owners are weird, did you know to escape the copyright, that some users set up additional id's , list an item, buy it through the other id and claim that it's their design.

    6 years ago

  • AzitasSurprises

    AzitasSurprises says:

    this is a very informative article.

    6 years ago

  • rathina

    rathina says:

    It's not a hard process at all to have items removed from someone's shop if someone is copying you. I had this happen to me, and it took me approximatly 10 minutes to print out all 6 of the required peices of information and mailed it off to Etsy, within a week they had gone ahead and removed the items from the other persons shop. I will never understand why people whine about people copying them, when Etsy tells you exactly what they need from you to get the people to stop copying you. Etsy has made the process really simple and streamlined that anyone could do it if they just sat down and took the time to do it. If it's that important that people not copy you, follow Etsy's guidelines in getting it stoped.

    6 years ago

  • HistoryofArt

    HistoryofArt says:

    Very interesting article and comment thread. I learned so much!

    6 years ago

  • SarahSays Admin

    SarahSays says:

    Thanks for the positive feedback rathina. I'm glad to know that you found the process simple and streamlined. Sarah

    6 years ago

  • GemmaBeads

    GemmaBeads says:

    So is it enough to simply mention in your shop somewhere that your designs and photographs are copyrighted? Or, is there more to do. I've seen that mentioned in some shop announcements.

    6 years ago

  • odiliafu

    odiliafu says:

    Thanks for the very useful article! This topic has been discussed in the forum many times. Thanks for clearing up!

    6 years ago

  • jorgensenstudio

    jorgensenstudio says:

    I agree with what magicjelly said. This idea that you are held blameless as a venue because the copyright holder is the only person that you can take direction from will not hold up in court. Take what happened to Ebay as on example. Another, is if I had a b&m store and rented space to someone selling fake designer bags I would still be held culpable and liable and would got to jail. You could be opening a can of worms that will damage us all.

    6 years ago

  • GwenOttingerArtworks

    GwenOttingerArtworks says:

    I have the same question as GemmaBeads. I will start looking for the answer myself, but if anyone has a link with basic info that would be helpful. Thanks for the article.

    6 years ago

  • BluCille

    BluCille says:

    There's a knockoff for everything somewhere.

    6 years ago

  • coup

    coup says:

    If you are an artist selling on Etsy, you should have submitted a portfolio of your work to the US Copyright Office BEFORE offering the goods for sale online. Case in point, I had a woman buy one of my Obama paintings a few months ago from my Etsy store, and she started selling prints and knock-offs of the paintings in her own online store. This is direct copyright infringement, as I copyrighted the works before offering them for sale to the public and I never sign over rights to buyers (a signed form is required). Lawyers for the Arts in NYC is currently helping me resolve the case... Protect yourself. Visit the US Copyright Office site for more details.

    6 years ago

  • WingsDove

    WingsDove says:

    IT'S GOOD TO KNOW THAT ETSY TAKES ACTION IN RESPONSE TO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT CLAIMS. EVERY SYSTEM CAN BE IMPROVED UPON BUT I LIKE IT SO FAR.

    6 years ago

  • thehomebody

    thehomebody says:

    Actually, I find the article slightly misleading, since the example of using a cartoon character on a t-shirt is probably not a copyright issue, although it does relate to intellectual property. The character would most likely be some form of trademarked image, and it would be a trademark infringement. poppyswickedgarden hit the nail on the head when she brings up first sale doctrine. There's a good story at http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/trademarks.html about trademark and copyright and the lawsuit she won, which really was about the first sale doctrine. The idea is that if you sell a copyrighted or trademarked something to someone, you're done with it. What they do with it or what they create with it is no longer your business because you've already been compensated for your work when they sold it and it's not a copyright issue. As far as things like jewelry and clothing are concerned, you can't copyright that. You own the copyright to the photos or to the instructions, but you can't copyright an idea. I'm not saying you don't have any rights, I'm just saying that those rights don't fall under the heading of copyright.

    6 years ago

  • BauerDesigns

    BauerDesigns says:

    Whether you think you're in the right or not know this... if you're using, recycling or sampling art that has been trademarked or copyrighted by another company you're taking a risk. Period. There are 'not so legit' legal groups out there that make their extra change searching out little guys like us. They find out what you're selling that's possibly an infringement, and if it's a big brand name, they'll contact the company and offer to represent them in a lawsuit to reclaim profit, damages or anything else they can think of. Don't believe it?? IT HAPPENED TO ME. What did I make??? Just something out of an empty beer can. Just think.. you could be next.

    6 years ago

  • Lunatiger

    Lunatiger says:

    This is the biggest beef with many artists. Copyright infringement is no joke and it's still spreading like wildfire.

    6 years ago

  • bookwright

    bookwright says:

    maybe etsy should revisit whether google analytics is a "good thing"

    6 years ago

  • HansenSoapCo

    HansenSoapCo says:

    I agree with JessicaDoyle. If you are an International seller your Copyright laws are different from the US. I just don't like the generalization of it. What if you are a Canadian who had their design stolen by say an American, then what? And does Etsy even know how to handle the International aspects of Copyright Infringement?

    6 years ago

  • TheCottageCheese

    TheCottageCheese says:

    Interesting timing on this article, as there has been a lot of press coverage of the Shepard Fairey/Associated Press lawsuit and countersuit over the Obama Hope poster image.

    6 years ago

  • GemmaBeads

    GemmaBeads says:

    Thanks for the info coup! I hope you find favorable resolution for your case.

    6 years ago

  • blissified

    blissified says:

    Great information. I, for one, would hate to see Etsy be put into the position of being expected to police their customers. It seems like that would be a huge administrative burden, could possibly make them liable to lawsuits from unfairly accused sellers, and end up costing all of us in higher fees in the long run. I think the burden of protecting yourself from copyright violation has to fall on the individual. Educate yourself, follow the rules, and then step up and protect yourself.

    6 years ago

  • LoverlyMermaids

    LoverlyMermaids says:

    Thank you for writting this article. Very to the point. I am an artist who uses fashion dolls as a medium and this is always something I get caught up on.

    6 years ago

  • LoverlyMermaids

    LoverlyMermaids says:

    and thank you to all who posted, youve given me even more insight.

    6 years ago

  • tadpolecreations

    tadpolecreations says:

    I agree with rathina, it is critical to protect your intellectual property rights and well within your abilities. Once you have gone through the process of filing an alleged copyright infringement with Etsy's legal department, is it much easier to do successive times. Love the idea of a web tutorial on copyright infringement that would be required for all new sellers to take prior to selling on Etsy (kinda like the ones you take on recognizing phishing scams)

    6 years ago

  • beaneandco

    beaneandco says:

    I wonder about this subject alot...thanks so much for clearing it up.

    6 years ago

  • RozArt

    RozArt says:

    If they arent careful, what happened on eBay is what will happen here. Many overseas companies copying and selling reproduction paintings (bad copies) of well done work by mid-level career artists. I was on ebay for years, and even though they took them down when they were reported, they didnt keep up- and now you cant tell the real stuff vs. a chinese painting factory. I saw them popping up - shops with a supposed artist, a variety of styles - all copies. Location was overseas...china, for example. When I reported them, included the well-known artists work they were copying...the shops were closed. I was pleased by this and hope it continues! It must be difficult though - they quite literally will keep at it over and over again. Ive had a few of mine ripped off by companies like that- just from the jpg's here. They didnt even photoshop out my signature! Even though eBay shut them down, they just would do it again and again...opening new accounts. The only solace is that most folks can easily spot something like that, so you dont often see them making sales.

    6 years ago

  • laurebelle

    laurebelle says:

    We love the law - We hate the law - WE NEED THE LAW!!!!! Thanks....

    6 years ago

  • pearlbythesea

    pearlbythesea says:

    It would be really neat to see etsy take a heavier stand on this. Mickey Mouse onesies and things like that shouldn't be here, and when buyers see them, it muddies up the reputation of etsy.

    6 years ago

  • andymathis

    andymathis says:

    while it is up to the individual to protect their intellectual property, etsy does profit from the sale of the mickey mouse onesies and all. Some sellers do have permission to use licensed characters in their items. But how does one know? I agree that it does muddy up the credibility of the site. But it isn't my site. One thing that people can do, however, is report the items, not to Etsy, but to the property owner.

    6 years ago

  • AWEshop

    AWEshop says:

    Wow. So much information and confusion. It is a bummer if someone "steals" your design, but that can't make you afraid to put your stuff up, and really, it's a compliment if your item is so good and popular and salable that someone wants to copy it. -imitation is the best form of flattery!

    6 years ago

  • MeandMatilda

    MeandMatilda says:

    I agree that this issue is extremely complicated. I can imagine it is very frustrating to see one's original works of art copied and resold. For many artists it is a piece of themselves out there. It seems clear that reproducing an original work or art is copyright infringement. For me, the water muddies when it comes to clothing and jewelry and even soap or cupcakes since once a particular style becomes popular there are so many interpretations of that style it is impossible to tell who the true originator was. I guess most of us are inspired by something. It is frustrating when a new shop pops up selling something just like you at a slightly lower price that is for sure. At the end of the day, I try to focus on what I am doing. Offer the best customer service I can offer, focus on creating a quality product, keep innovating, keep promoting and networking and try not to worry about the other things. I see mass produced items clearly not handmade by the Etsy seller all the time. I see lots of new shops that look very similar to established shops. And in my head I hear that little fish in that popular kid's movie saying "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming" if that makes any sense. I do think individuals have the right to protect their original works of art. I am unclear on how Etsy can do that for them other than complying when infringement is proven. Etsy does a pretty good job of meeting most folks needs and the admin seems willing to listen. Running this venue has to be an enormously complicated job and Etsy is a business. If they weren't in business making money then the venue wouldn't exist for Etsy sellers to make money. Whew! This is a complicated issue.

    6 years ago

  • softshelterhats

    softshelterhats says:

    This is an important issue! Lots of valid questions and comments have been discussed above. As primarily a graphic artist, I have always had to be critically aware of copyright issues in my professional work. The internet has vastly complicated the field of copyright and intellectual rights protection, but copiers can readily be found through search engines, and companies conduct such searches. Etsy is a searchable platform. Don't ever use a Disney image on your wares, in other words!! You could find yourself bankrupt in quick order. Disney doesn't mess around with this. One recent copyright case made the headlines, drawing international attention to this subject: the Obama image use where a journalist's photo was adapted by a graphic designer and used extensively on campaign and inauguration-related products. There are certain "fine print" aspects to copyright law which allow some derivative use, but evidently this was not one of those. Many of my clients have had to be educated by me when it comes to usage of my graphic artwork. Most people do not understand copyright, nor usage principles. It is indeed a serious matter for artists and designers. Andymathis is correct about our ultimate individual responsibility to protect our work, and I agree with his other comments as well. While Etsy may be expected to be vigilant on behalf of its vendors, doing so would become a huge endeavor in my view.

    6 years ago

  • Atelier500

    Atelier500 says:

    I am relieved yhayt Etsy is concerned for us. As artists - me I'm a photographer too - we are always worried about our copyright beong infringed..it is a nightmare. Thank you Etsy for showing us you care and are concerened too..

    6 years ago

  • bhangtiez

    bhangtiez says:

    interesting article & good things 2 know...i know i'd b so upset cuz i luv my unique & original creations & don't want any1 2 steel my ideas...thanks 4 da thoughts...

    6 years ago

  • TheSillySpermShop

    TheSillySpermShop says:

    COPYRIGHT YOUR WORK, that's all I can say! Better chances of getting a lawyer on "contingency"...it happened to me! No one would touch me without it! I was only able to get a contingency lawyer because I DID protect my work. (I legally cannot talk about that situation). However, I am NOW dealing with some "BIG FISH" stealing my work globally. Again, because I DID copyright (& trade mark) my work I have lawyers interested in my case. I copyright everything now that I put in the public eye! It's expensive & annoying & time consuming...& believe me, this is NOT where I want to spend my energy! But I have to protect my work & intellectual property... I hate that we live in a world that we even have to worry about this stuff! I hate that on everything I post on Etsy (or anywhere else!) I have to put this long stupid infringement warning & let people know I'm protected & I seriously will pursue them! It seems so negative in a way but hey, don't rip me off! This is my life, my work & I work hard! My art is like my children...I'm protecting my children! I'm telling you from experience...protect your work! On a lighter note...I absolutely LOVE ETSY! It is so easy to me! So organized. It feels very sweet & homespun to me even though it's huge globally! I think if ETSY added a little "LEGAL" box for each item you post, to check, swearing this is your original work...it could stop quite a few people (not all) but most. They do that on FLICKR.com & somehow I feel safer...but a thief's a thief...so, protect yourself. Thank You Sarah & Etsy!

    6 years ago

  • FridaInHeaven

    FridaInHeaven says:

    Ok, another issue...I am also the above (The Silly Sperm Shop)...so,my dilemis...I paint Frida Kahlo, make t-shirts, pillows, magnets and cartoons & hope to have a coloring book soon...of my art of HER. Which I've heard is fine (her being a "public" figure and all)... However, I have an inner & outer conflict... 1) I actually WANT to pay her estate/family a royalty! (I mean right now it's not much money, laughable really!), but in respect of a great artist who inspires me daily, I feel that's the least I can do! She has family alive (and maybe they are crazy wealthy) but still maybe they have a cause or charity I can give 5% to 10%?? I'm using her name & her image...I just don't feel right NOT doing that! So, I actually in the last year have written her aunt in Mexico 2x's & finally her lawyer in DC...no response! It's weird too, because FRIDA KAHLO is a registered Trademark from her family. Go to www.uspto.gov & search Trademarks "Frida Kahlo"...her family has many! Strange...Oh, well, I'll keep trying. I would LOVE to know what to do if anyone has a clue! Thanks! And thanks again Sarah & ETSY for addressing this important & complicated issue!

    6 years ago

  • BabbidgePatch

    BabbidgePatch says:

    I'm glad to see this topic out for comment ~ it's a serious topic. Protecting your name, designs or patterns by trademark and copyrights are an important, but unfortunate part of business. Professional ethical behavior 'should be' the rule ~ but not everyone holds to that standard. Also, recognizing what is copyright and what is not is sometimes a fine line ~ Thanks for posting the article!

    6 years ago

  • softshelterhats

    softshelterhats says:

    http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5085221 Here's the URL for an Etsy seller: AttorneySarah. She offers ebooks on the subject of copyright for artists. As a new Etsy member, I am amazed by this community. Now I'm going to do some shopping of my own here for the first time!

    6 years ago

  • auntyanndesigns

    auntyanndesigns says:

    Good article. Agree with linotte. I did obtain a copyright back in 1993 and like she said it is good for the persons life time plus 70 years .. so what to do if it is infringed would be the $$$$$ question.

    6 years ago

  • LaLolla

    LaLolla says:

    This article and these posts are all very informative. My beef is as with some of you others. The obviously manufactured items. I think this is being overlooked. this is a hand made only site except for vintage & supplies. It is aggravating to see them all over etsy and nothing being removed. Also, very blatant..Disney images..hand painted on items or not.. I guarantee they do not have permission to use..I have a friend who was sued by Disney for copyright infringement because she owned a bakery and used to put Mickey on cakes..They don't give up their stuff freely..Anyhow thanks for the article.. I agree with others that if rules aren't enforced than they are useless.

    6 years ago

  • FridaInHeaven

    FridaInHeaven says:

    I believe my earliest copyright & trademark was 1986. I had a lawyer help me with one doll I designed, but then I did the rest on my own because of the huge expense,( I have 1000's of images registered Copyrights & about 23 registered Trademarks). One really important thing I learned is if you have a big seller, a great image/design, a character or a cartoon, or even something you have a gut feeling about being "a hit"...Copyright it ASAP...and as "PUBLISHED ~ VA FORM" (Visual Arts)...if anyone in the public has seen it. Early on I was told to copyright big batches of my work at one time, because it is cheaper under "UNPUBLISHED" because you can protect MANY images! Well, it's true you do have SOME protection that way but, REALLY, if you have a hot item...do the one image for $45.00. It's crazy expensive (& pretty much impossible for most of us!)to protect all of our work...(I don't know about you but I'm prolific, a cartoon factory...I can make 500 cartoons in one day...easy!At $45.00 a pop...not gonna happen!) So, I always protect my "characters" indivdually as "published"...and any variations of my character I put in a big batch as "unpublished". I have some self published booklets too which is a great way to protect many things in one shot (TX FORM (TEXT)but check box for visuals too). I'll be posting a bunch of my new zines with my cartoons soon...but I'm waiting for the receipt from the copyright office! ARG!!!

    6 years ago

  • TreasureBoxJewellery

    TreasureBoxJewellery says:

    Wow, FredaInHeaven - i'm so glad you've just put up the info you have! as i have a number of cartoon ideas too that i'm keen on protecting, again with variations of, which i want to copyright, so thank you for the added info with regards to this! Which is the best site to copyright with? can you go with any? and if i am from the UK, does the company need to be based here or does it not matter? I set up my website domain name years ago though i'm guessing this doesnt mean i'm protected for that?! :) Steffi x

    6 years ago

  • gretchenmist

    gretchenmist says:

    interesting! i've SO often thought 'that looks more than 75% like ----'s work' only to find examples in the same shop that look just like another etsy seller's work . . .

    6 years ago

  • miniaturecrochet

    miniaturecrochet says:

    I'll just wait until the creative minds prepare to add to their copyrights like the etsy pattern sellers do and that is to say outright you may not make and sell this item or product.Because when they do I will no longer buy these dictating individuals patterns!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And i appreciate it if you etsians would leave me alone about my work. I think these people are jealous and evil if they don"t own the whole market on selling their items they want to bully others and intimidate them from selling what they love to do and that isto make handmade creations no matter where they get the patterns.If you copywriters feel so darn conceded about your art why bother you bother because money. Its all about money greed and dictating to others don t put your work out their if you don't care to share!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    6 years ago

  • miniaturecrochet

    miniaturecrochet says:

    I love your piece thehomebody you are a true treasure to mankind thank you so much i with you 1000%.

    6 years ago

  • FridaInHeaven

    FridaInHeaven says:

    I'm thinking about buying Sarah's copyright book (attorneysarah)here on Etsy "Copyrights For Artists"...because I do know a lot about copyrights and I'm in this legal matter now & learning even more on how to better protect my work in the future...but some things are tricky and complicated. Go to themannlawgroup.com, there is an article there about a photographer who licensed a photo he took for a shoe co., they over used their license/agreement with him and when he mentioned it to them, the shoe company sued him!!! He in turn, filed a counter suit and won 1.3 mil! So, things are wacky! My work is my livlihood, so, yeah, I am a bit protective of it and don't think it's fair for people to make money from work I did! Sorry "miniaturecrochet" you feel artists should just give it away...Actually, I'm all about sharing, probably one of the most generous people on earth! Not "greedy" or "evil" at all. I'm also about LICENSING...that's "sharing" in the business world. I want people to use my work...as long as they give me a SHARE! A royalty. I like my work & honor it and it's not OK in my book to steal it...you want license, use it but pay me a little...no problem! Treasureboxjewellry, I don't know anything about the UK! Sorry. I do know that The US Copyrights are honored in most countries (China NOT one of them!), but usually the stuff made in CHINA is coming into an American or inland affiliate/company...so, someone has to take responsibility for accepting it/bringing it in. All I know for sure is, yes, your work supposedly is automatically copywritten when it comes into form, out of your body...but proving that is the tricky part in court. If you have a copyright in place...you have proof (and maybe even a lawyer on contingency)! It makes it a lot easier too. Also, there is a real common consciousness thing too! It happened with me with "You Are Buddha`Full", at the same time I filed my TM so did a guy in Seattle for "Buddhaful". He did not steal from me! We both just thought of it at the same time...like the phone & electricity & everything else...it's who gets to the copyright or patent office first! We both ended up getting the TM, which is very unusual in the same class! Sometimes I dream songs! I'm not a musician, and I swear I never heard them before, and I save them on my cell phone & hopefully, I'll produce them one day...but I have a fear maybe it's a song I heard as a child & I'll get in trouble! Great Minds Think Alike! What can I say!? Again...copyright your work...it does protect your work...I KNOW...it happened to me...don't worry, just DO IT! It's easy!

    6 years ago

  • FridaInHeaven

    FridaInHeaven says:

    OOOPS! The web site URL I gave for the article about the photographer winning 1.3 mil after veing sued for his own work is wrong...this one should work... mannlawfirmgroup.com

    6 years ago

  • DiegosHouseofSugar

    DiegosHouseofSugar says:

    This is always such a re-occuring theme for all artists and one of the most volitile. On one hand, myself and those around me, want to uphold our morals and standards as artists but I have noticed more and more that we get attacked when doing so. I'm not sure when it flipped and the wrong thing to do was frown at the copy-catters but it definitely isn't so black and white any longer. It makes me really sad not only to see that this is such a major problem with artists but the new found attitude I am seeing towards it more and more these days! How did we get it backwards? More than a few years ago I literally woke up and had an idea of making plaster skull angels. Now a skull angel isn't something new by far but what I had in my head was. I searched for a cherub mold and upon finding one, altered it and my babies were born. Now you can find the exact same ones across stores, ebay, even here. It really made me sad to see the others participating didn't want to contact me, rise to a friendly level to become a united group of angel plasterers (one did, and she's an absolute doll) and wouldn't even go find and make their own unique molds, literally themes and exact same styles. Same goes for several past paintings, paper goods and sketches years ago. But what can you do? They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but if anyone's ever had that monkey on their back it doesn't always feel that way. If the theme of late continues, I will probably get bad feedback for saying this but it's from an honest place. It would be so much nicer if we could all work together as a collective artist community so each party is happy as opposed to working against and ruining each other's fuzzy states of pride in their nurtured originated intellectual property. Run-on sentances and idealist fantasies galore..

    6 years ago

  • shonakulkarni

    shonakulkarni says:

    Well, I'm a buyer not a seller, but this is what Google spat out at me: http://painting.about.com/od/copyrightforartistsfaq/Copyright_for_Artists_FAQ.htm http://topics.law.cornell.edu/wex/Copyright http://www.law.cornell.edu/treaties/berne/overview.html And this book, "Art Law Conversations", link here: http://www.amazon.com/Art-Law-Conversations-Surprisingly-Readable/dp/0976648008/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236022832&sr=8-1

    6 years ago

  • dragonflydreamer

    dragonflydreamer says:

    I have been researching and preparing to open my little shop that I registered here on etsy just before my son became mysteriously ill. I love very old photographs and read online that if I buy vintage or antique photographs or ephemera and use them in my art without permission, it may likely be copyright infringement without tracking down the descendents of the people in the photographs and obtaining permission. How do I know if I buy a sheet of photos or ads, etc... to specifically be used in art for resale that I am not breaking the law? My Art History professor used to drill into us that "there is nothing new under the sun." He talked about a piece of art being the artists creative expression and interpretation of .... or all art being a derivative of something that has already been said, displayed, published or otherwise put into the arena of ideas. What is the difference between art that is deriative, inspired by, immitated or copied? I do not want to infringe upon someone's orignal design, copyright, trademark, etc... I recently came upon a few of the examples mentioned in this discussion and that is what prompted me to begin my research. I just want to create things of beauty and sell them. This discussion has been helpful and I hope to find answers to my questions through further research and contacting the shop where I plan to purchase some images to ask copyright questions.

    6 years ago

  • fruitsaladvintage

    fruitsaladvintage says:

    I sell vintage items and have purchased stamps & ink at a local craft store to decorate my vintage bags/purses, could I be in danger of copyright infringement from the maker of the stamp even though they are sold for use in the general public?? I found many sellers recently here on etsy that sell stamps that I can use for my items and I can always buy vintage ones that are not protected. Does anyone think that the actual process of dipping my stamp in ink the applying to my bag, purse, etc.. is wrong just beacuse a bigger seller tells me it is? I also hand wrote "I HEART VINTAGE" on one bag but am basically being called a theif.

    6 years ago

  • softshelterhats

    softshelterhats says:

    A bit of feedback for dragonflydreamer and fruitsaladvintage: I was commissioned to design images for the print market. I was specifically told to NOT use commercial rubber stamps for a repeat pattern that was part of my design. So, I designed the stamps and had them produced (about $20 each for line drawings) for this work so that the publisher of the prints would be 100% safe. I have also been on the flip side of this issue: I've designed rubber stamps for manufacturers, knowing that there's no way for me to control who does what with them. Pressing charges against someone using one of my stamp designs for an Etsy creation is out of the question for me; other more aggressive designers might have a more bulldog approach to protecting the use of their images, but it's very expensive to take legal action of any kind. Bottom line: artists don't like other people to make money from their images, period. About vintage: my understanding is that anything older than 90 years old is in the Common Domaine. The chances of current generations of people recognizing ancestors in vintage photos is so slight! And, I would question whether, after 90 years, they have legal rights to the image in the first place.

    6 years ago

  • firespice

    firespice says:

    I can understand the person who creates an items side of the story. I am always creating. And I have been copied many many times. But I must say I wish more people would take my attitude on this "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" Stop upsetting yourself and wasting your time (and everyone else’s) on someone copying you and take it as a compliment. Put your energy into your next awesome design. Remember the more stuff out there - the more people see it and the more you are likely to get more sales. You can always advertise yourself as "the original" Just enjoy your creativity and don’t stress yourself over this, especially if its not your copyrighted material.

    6 years ago

  • MagneticOriginals

    MagneticOriginals says:

    I use copy written material in my art all the time. I find images cut them out and use the actual image. I buy images (some bootleg) from other art sources. I love cutting up packages, anything goes! I was told by Starbucks Coffee to stop using their logos. I was cutting up the coffee packages I was buying. I found out about a law prohibiting people from embellishing copyrighted images and re-selling them as a different product. Flattened Liquor bottles or bottles with a logo made into drinking glasses are breaking copyright laws. So are all of us that make tiny miniatures of logos and pictures for doll houses. Some stickers actually say not for embellishment or resale. I did find using Starbucks gift cards or any gift card for that matter is OK. As long as you don't cut the card or alter it in any way, it can still be classified as a collectible. Collectibles can be embellished and resold for a higher price or whatever the market value is. As long as an image isn't copied or massed produced I think it is just fine to use other peoples art (OPA). I buy cards and images all the time that I resell on my art. I always give credit on the back of my pieces to the original artist. Cards, books, stickers and postage stamps are some of my favorites. I can't ask every artist for permission. I think it's just fine If an artist uses these images in one offs. Single, hand made pieces only pays homage to the original artist and creates a new collectible piece of art. Its is a new media which I call "Artvertising". Andy Warhol was really the pioneer in this area. It's free marketing for brands or logos we all love, but as the cease and desist letter I received said; the package I bought is mine, but the logo is still the intellectual property rights of the manufacture. We live in an image based society. The internet can make anything and anyone into a viral sensation overnight. Today more than ever, with upcycling and advertisers looking for new ways to find and keep the customer, I see more artist and companies being a little more open with their images and logos. Besides a law suit would bring a small artist wonderful publicity, that otherwise would never come their way. Shepard Fairey, the artist that came up with the iconic "Obama Hope" image is being sued by Associated Press for taking their image and manipulating it to make it his own. We'll have to wait and see what happens as this plays out. Until then, I'll keep snapping pictures and painting logos and using gift card in my art work. The government can't crack down on everybody. Freedom of expression is alive and well on Etsy.

    6 years ago

  • MagneticOriginals

    MagneticOriginals says:

    I use copy written material in my art all the time. I find images cut them out and use the actual image. I buy images (some bootleg) from other art sources. I love cutting up packages, anything goes! I was told by Starbucks Coffee to stop using their logos. I was cutting up the coffee packages I was buying. I found out about a law prohibiting people from embellishing copyrighted images and re-selling them as a different product. Flattened Liquor bottles or bottles with a logo made into drinking glasses are breaking copyright laws. So are all of us that make tiny miniatures of logos and pictures for doll houses. Some stickers actually say not for embellishment or resale. I did find using Starbucks gift cards or any gift card for that matter is OK. As long as you don't cut the card or alter it in any way, it can still be classified as a collectible. Collectibles can be embellished and resold for a higher price or whatever the market value is. As long as an image isn't copied or massed produced I think it is just fine to use other peoples art (OPA). I buy cards and images all the time that I resell on my art. I always give credit on the back of my pieces to the original artist. Cards, books, stickers and postage stamps are some of my favorites. I can't ask every artist for permission. I think it's just fine If an artist uses these images in one offs. Single, hand made pieces only pays homage to the original artist and creates a new collectible piece of art. Its is a new media which I call "Artvertising". Andy Warhol was really the pioneer in this area. It's free marketing for brands or logos we all love, but as the cease and desist letter I received said; the package I bought is mine, but the logo is still the intellectual property rights of the manufacture. We live in an image based society. The internet can make anything and anyone into a viral sensation overnight. Today more than ever, with upcycling and advertisers looking for new ways to find and keep the customer, I see more artist and companies being a little more open with their images and logos. Besides a law suit would bring a small artist wonderful publicity, that otherwise would never come their way. Shepard Fairey, the artist that came up with the iconic "Obama Hope" image is being sued by Associated Press for taking their image and manipulating it to make it his own. We'll have to wait and see what happens as this plays out. Until then, I'll keep snapping pictures and painting logos and using gift card in my art work. The government can't crack down on everybody. Freedom of expression is alive and well on Etsy.

    6 years ago

  • zombuki

    zombuki says:

    @fruitsaladvintage: It could be considered fair use, right? I always thought it was okay, but I had a company contact me for selling paintings that used a stencils, theirs, in it. Apparently some things, even at craft shops, are considered "personal use only" by their companies. It's all too confusing.

    6 years ago

  • MagneticOriginals

    MagneticOriginals says:

    I use copy written material in my art all the time. I find images cut them out and use the actual image. I buy images (some bootleg) from other art sources. I love cutting up packages, anything goes! I was told by Starbucks Coffee to stop using their logos. I was cutting up the coffee packages I was buying. I found out about a law prohibiting people from embellishing copyrighted images and re-selling them as a different product. Flattened Liquor bottles or bottles with a logo made into drinking glasses are breaking copyright laws. So are all of us that make tiny miniatures of logos and pictures for doll houses. Some stickers actually say not for embellishment or resale. I did find using Starbucks gift cards or any gift card for that matter is OK. As long as you don't cut the card or alter it in any way, it can still be classified as a collectible. Collectibles can be embellished and resold for a higher price or whatever the market value is. As long as an image isn't copied or massed produced I think it is just fine to use other peoples art (OPA). I buy cards and images all the time that I resell on my art. I always give credit on the back of my pieces to the original artist. Cards, books, stickers and postage stamps are some of my favorites. I can't ask every artist for permission. I think it's just fine If an artist uses these images in one offs. Single, hand made pieces only pays homage to the original artist and creates a new collectible piece of art. Its is a new media which I call "Artvertising". Andy Warhol was really the pioneer in this area. It's free marketing for brands or logos we all love, but as the cease and desist letter I received said; the package I bought is mine, but the logo is still the intellectual property rights of the manufacture. We live in an image based society. The internet can make anything and anyone into a viral sensation overnight. Today more than ever, with upcycling and advertisers looking for new ways to find and keep the customer, I see more artist and companies being a little more open with their images and logos. Besides a law suit would bring a small artist wonderful publicity, that otherwise would never come their way. Shepard Fairey, the artist that came up with the iconic "Obama Hope" image is being sued by Associated Press for taking their image and manipulating it to make it his own. We'll have to wait and see what happens as this plays out. Until then, I'll keep snapping pictures and painting logos and using gift card in my art work. The government can't crack down on everybody. Freedom of expression is alive and well on Etsy.

    6 years ago

  • wangtian

    wangtian says:

    how can I build my own blog?

    6 years ago

  • chubbycheeksweaters

    chubbycheeksweaters says:

    Excellent topic. Best I have read so far. One can always inquire to the copyright office located in Washington DC. They will send you "exact" information on copyright law. Very good information; useful to all. Blessings!

    6 years ago

  • solocosmo

    solocosmo says:

    i think I read almost every post! Whew...one thing I did see just briefly mentioned was art that is already in the public domain. I use lots of vintage ephemera and turn of the century prints...and i always make sure that every image I use is in the public domain...having it's copyright expired and never renewed. If I am ever even the slightest unsure of an image being available to use it's simple...I don't use it! Rule of thumb is that MOST things before 1930 are in public domain unless renewed. I also do my own original art and so I guess I feel its my personal responsibility to not make any mistakes when using other peoples art. I always do my very best! I even wanted to use a photo of my sister and her cat in one of my collages and called her across the country to ask who took the photo and see if I could ask them permission to use it in my work. My sister didn't understand why I was making an issue of it...But It turns out the friend who took it was a professional photographer and used the photo in her portfolio....she was very happy that I asked and gave me the freedom to use the image, but admitted that if I has used it without permission she would have been beyond offended even if it was a photo of my sister, it was still HER art.

    6 years ago

  • JenGillette

    JenGillette says:

    I get grumbly about copyright law, especially when artists who appropriate licensed images are targeted.

    6 years ago

  • prettyscruffy

    prettyscruffy says:

    Well it took me the best part of an hour to read all that, I feel better informed but still a little confused. I made the decision long ago to ignore and be flattered by anything less than a blatantly direct copy of my work. We meet lots of like minded people at craft fairs who make very similar things to each other and to us, some people get grumpy because they use buttons and so do we, all be it in a entirely different way. At the end of the day everything sells well and the customers choose. We just strive to make our work as unique and as 'us' as possible. The world is very small and the craft world is even smaller, I am not surprised when I find work similar to my own, I am often disappointed that it no longer feels like mine.

    6 years ago

  • SophisticateStyle

    SophisticateStyle says:

    Great article and great information.

    6 years ago

  • daveconrey

    daveconrey says:

    So I guess its ok for me to put Nike logos on my work and sell them, or create a handbag and call it a Kate Spade. Or better yet, I'll scan my Van Gogh poster, make prints and sell them because honestly, what are the chances that any of those groups are ever going to see it. And if they didn't see it, I obviously didn't do it, right? Not that I'm worthy of being copied, but now I have to be vigilant and wary of all the potential thieves because Etsy absolutely does not have my best interests at heart.

    6 years ago

  • Dimpleprints

    Dimpleprints says:

    What to do about a blatent knock off of a digital design? Any suggestions? I haven't filed copyrights for my designs. Carli

    5 years ago

  • QuiteContrary2

    QuiteContrary2 says:

    I'm not sure abouy anyone else, but as a new seller to Etsy and just generally, I would really find it very helpful if you coudl do an article on the basics of Copyright? I'm from the UK so that probably means it's different rules to the US...is there anyone on the Etsy staff team from the UK who could give us some of their gems from copyrighting their products? Tried to look at the official site for some help and it just really confused me, wasn't really aimed at us crafty sorts very well! Thanks.

    5 years ago

  • ColourHarmonics

    ColourHarmonics says:

    V. useful thank you !

    5 years ago

  • tinytins

    tinytins says:

    I see hundreds of etsy stores that are obviously profitting from reproducing copyrighted logos...just type in Disney, Twilight, Michael Jackson, NFL and you will find 1000's of items from jewelry to vinyl decals. Is it ok to take a book cover of a Twilight logo and turn it into a scrabble tile necklace to sell? Isn't that illegal? Love etsy, but their 'copyright infringement policies' are very fuzzy. One person's store can be flagged, but hundreds skate by selling their items. If Etsy is going to stand by the copyright priciples then they also need to enforce the rules on all stores selling bogus items.

    5 years ago

  • littledottydesigns

    littledottydesigns says:

    Glad to have found this article after spending a long, mind-boggling few hours trying to read up a little on copyright issues in the last few days. I was wondering if anyone could help clear up an area which is puzzling me, please? In my crafting, I like to make use of materials which would otherwise be thrown out with the rubbish; I was wondering, which instances could/would be considered as infringing upon copyright. For example, whilst I am certain that it would be copyright infringement to copy a picture of a famous cartoon character onto a charm (although I have see many instances of this on etsy, which has only added to my confusion!), if I have old books or magazines which are to be got rid of, so I cut them up and use an image - e.g. of a famous cartoon character - from the book/magazine, would this be copyright infringement? From my research, it seems to suggest that whilst it 'should be', it is somewhat a 'grey area', in particular due to the 'fair use' policy (e.g. if I have bought the book, I own the article, thus I am free to use the images within, so long as I am not (a) making copies of them, and/or (b) representing the copyright holder in a derogatory manner). In the same respect, if I were to take old sweet wrappers and make a pendant or badge from the wrapper (upon which the brand name/make is still visible - or moreso, is the main point of the accessory), is this considered recycling or copyright infringement? I ask out of curiousity, as I have many ideas and product prototypes; I am looking into setting up my own shop on etsy in the future perhaps, but I am very keen to ensure that I abide by copyright laws etc and avoid prosecution/legal pursuits! It seems to me that the line between copyright infringement and recycling/'upcycling' is far from being clear cut; when old products are remade into something else - as in the example of a sweet wrapper or book image being made into a piece of jewellery/accessory - is this environmentally-conscious re-use/recycling/'upcycling (provided that you acknowledge that the original logo/artwork/design/image is not your own, but from product x - e.g. book title '...' by author, or 'terry's chocolate orange segsations wrapper - which you are recycling, thus the copyright is owned by that company/brand/artist) or copyright infringement? If you create a collage or decoupaged piece using old magazine cuttings, are you going against copyright laws? Some things seem to have more obvious answers than others, but I am enthusiastic to find out more as to make myself as educated as possible on the subject before I dare to embark upon even considering selling any 'creations'! Thank you to everyone who has commented so far for the input - it has been an intriguing read! Best wishes to all..hope you have a good day, wherever in the world you may be! :-) Sam p.s. Apologies if this is repetitive / incoherent; I am typing this in a half-asleep state! :-P

    5 years ago

  • littledottydesigns

    littledottydesigns says:

    p.p.s. Sorry for the terribly long comment!

    5 years ago

  • mrandmrswelch

    mrandmrswelch says:

    I do think that you should not allow items that are obviously infringing on someone's copyright. There are many major celebrities that are not allowing crafters on etsy to use their image. I think by allowing these items, you are harming the integrity of the site as a whole.

    5 years ago

  • paperpixiecrafts

    paperpixiecrafts says:

    I purchased a clip art cd that has tons of images of cartoon characters ( I've also used some from online) and I use them to make rubix cubes. I have a big craft expo coming up and I'm wondering if I can get in trouble for selling these? If you buy a cd, are you buying the rights to use the images? If you are not mass producing it, is it still infringment? I'm not sure what is ok and what isn't.

    5 years ago

  • NorthwestBridal

    NorthwestBridal says:

    Unfortunately, etsy is really not taking care of the sellers here when it comes to copyright infringement. I love etsy, but I am becoming very disheartened by their lack of support to sellers. Why is it that etsy took almost 2 weeks to respond to my help request in regards to a seller that is copying my descriptions word for word, and what they sent was a copied and pasted response that told me absolutely nothing except that they were not going to do anything about it! This week I contacted eBay twice in regards to pictures of mine being copied, and they were removed within 6 hours of my complaint. The only information they needed was my item number and the offenders item number and a brief statement. Now, I really don't like eBay, they are really awful to their small sellers, so it is a very sad day when I can say that etsy is now worse than eBay! I am sure eBay is governed by the same rules, so why is it that they are taking care of their sellers, and you are not?

    5 years ago

  • maidenlysimple

    maidenlysimple says:

    I am so confused! I have been tossing around the idea of opening an etsy shop, but I'm not really all that creative. If I see something, not necessarily on etsy, that I like, I can think of variations or different designs for the same thing. Take for instance a diaper bag (all hypothetical). If there was one that a seller had posted on etsy with unique pockets and accessories and if I copied it exactly, then I know that would be stealing even if she didn't have it copyrighted. But would it be wrong to see her design and think,I could do that,but make the strap shorter/longer, add pockets here or there, change the shape a little, add an waterproof umbrella pocket or something to make the design unique to me, etc. The variations would be totally different than the other seller's. Added to that, different fabric choices, etc. Or if there is more than one seller selling the same basic design, but each with their own variations? Who is right? I even had a hard time with my username. What if there is a seller that used "simply" as their user name and someone comes along with "simply1"? These are just random examples, but I'm so confused. I asked the etsy help people, but I was told to contact a lawyer with specific questions. I won't be able to do that, but I still need specific examples. According to the comments about stamps above, I take it that I couldn't take a plain notebook and stamp it using a stamp that I bought at a craft store and then sell it on etsy. If someone could please give me some specific examples or tell me where to go, I would appreciate it.

    5 years ago

  • Prairieology

    Prairieology says:

    I sell crocheted items and have been thinking about copyright lately. I found this article today. It states that patterns are not copyrightable once they are sold, essentially that the seller does not have the right to tell you what to do with what you make from a pattern after they sell it to you. It also states that there has never been a federal court case for copyright infrigement in this area. I would like to now if this info is true! I have been wondering how much you have to change an item to be able to sell it, and now I am wondering if all the hard thinking I have been putting into this is for not. I design a lot of my patterns myself and if I ever sell them I will allow items to be sold once finished (I think it's so stupid to limit a pattern to personal use only!) But now after reading this I think patterns are all able to be used as you please once sold? Someone please read this page and weigh in on it for me! http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/CopyrightLaw/Patterns.shtml

    4 years ago

  • Prairieology

    Prairieology says:

    Here is another page that clearly states that useful items (such as cuffs, hats, shirts, anything that exists to be used and not just looked at I guess) are not copyrightable. Doesn't that mean that all clothing and accessory patterns are not copyrightable as a finished product? http://www.bitlaw.com/copyright/unprotected.html

    4 years ago

  • Prairieology

    Prairieology says:

    Why are my comments not showing up?

    4 years ago

  • Prairieology

    Prairieology says:

    This is copied and pasted from http://www.copyright.gov/docs/regstat072706.html, a government website. "First, copyright protection for the designs of useful articles is extremely limited. The design of a useful article(11) is protected under copyright “only if, and only to the extent that, such design incorporates pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article.”(12) According to the House report accompanying the copyright revision bill, the test for separability can be met by showing either physical or conceptual separability.(13) The purpose of the test is “to draw as clear a line as possible between copyrightable works of applied art and uncopyrighted works of industrial design.”(14) In keeping with this congressional intent, courts have applied the separability test in a way that excludes most industrial designs from copyright protection.(15) The Copyright Office has been similarly restrictive in its registration practices.(16)"

    4 years ago

  • Prairieology

    Prairieology says:

    Also a government website says this about what is NOT covered under copyright: http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.pdf "Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a description, explanation, or illustration" Isn't a pattern a procedure, method and process for making an item?

    4 years ago

  • Prairieology

    Prairieology says:

    Okay now I found another thing that contradicts the previous. It states that crochet, knitting, needlework and sewing patterns fall under the category of "visual arts" http://www.copyright.gov/register/va-examples.html This still leaves me with questions though. If the pattern is for clothing or a useful item is the finished item covered by copyright (since clothing and useful items are not) and also, is a finished item considered a derivitive work from a pattern? Or would just changing the pattern itself a little and selling it be a derivitive work? So many questions...

    4 years ago

  • PoochyCouture

    PoochyCouture says:

    What if another seller has a broadly based copyright and targets a particular seller, saying that I have committed copyright infringement. I have NEVER done such a thing and when I pull these items from her site, it's like comparing an apple to a Buick!! In no way shape or form, similar. Her copyright says Gold collection washer...etsy goes into my site and takes down all that say "washer". Someone please help!! I have been up for 48 hours worrying that etsy has the power to completely destroy my life by deactivating my items. I have done NOTHING wrong and have been treated like a pariah.

    4 years ago

  • miniaturecrochet

    miniaturecrochet says:

    Copyright on the Finished Piece I learn new things about copyright all of the time. This article about pattern copyright, is related to selling your finished crochet pieces upon completion, when the author says you may not sell your finished piece. The actual written pattern is copyright and may not be sold or redistributed, unless you have permission from the author. The only place I have seen authors do this is on the Internet. Copyright does not cover the finished work. You are not required to ask permission to sell your finished piece. If you have an opportunity to make some money from your crochet work, sell it. Before the Internet, I had never heard of a statement like that attached to crochet patterns. Maybe that is why the statement does not exist in crochet magazines. Copyright only protects your body of work like pictures, graphics, video, recording and writing that you have done yourself. It does not protect an idea or finished piece. http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/CopyrightLaw/Patterns.shtml

    4 years ago

  • miniaturecrochet

    miniaturecrochet says:

    Copyright on the Finished Piece I learn new things about copyright all of the time. This article about pattern copyright, is related to selling your finished crochet pieces upon completion, when the author says you may not sell your finished piece. The actual written pattern is copyright and may not be sold or redistributed, unless you have permission from the author. The only place I have seen authors do this is on the Internet. Copyright does not cover the finished work. You are not required to ask permission to sell your finished piece. If you have an opportunity to make some money from your crochet work, sell it. Before the Internet, I had never heard of a statement like that attached to crochet patterns. Maybe that is why the statement does not exist in crochet magazines. Copyright only protects your body of work like pictures, graphics, video, recording and writing that you have done yourself. It does not protect an idea or finished piece. http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/CopyrightLaw/Patterns.shtml

    4 years ago

  • niktrine

    niktrine says:

    I closed down my shop because of an accusation of copyright infringement. At first I thought maybe I made a mistake in innocence but I did some research through the US copyright office and found the following which put my mind at ease: "What Is Not Protected by Copyright? Several categories of material are generally not eligible for federal copyright protection. These include among others: • Works that have not been fixed in a tangible form of expression (for example, choreographic works that have not been notated or recorded, or improvisational speeches or performances that have not been written or recorded) • Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients or contents • Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a description, explanation, or illustration • Works consisting entirely of information that is common property and containing no original authorship (for example: standard calendars, height and weight charts, tape measures and rulers, and lists or tables taken from public documents or other common sources)" So if you put something together that incorporates information that is common property or a procedure or a method, you have NOT infringed copyright. I hope this is useful information to other etsy members who are either accused of something they haven't done or unsure of where they stand. My experience was enough to scare me away for good.

    4 years ago

  • gwinc

    gwinc says:

    New to the "Etsy" world here... I found some neat ideas on the site and for lack of a better reason contacted the sellers of certain items hoping to get patterns...Not so that I could make items to resell on here but to make either for my own use or to give as gifts... Was basically told NO!!! LOL... No biggie I figured I'm an intelligent person and could figure it out on my own which I have in most cases...

    4 years ago

  • MiniareMiniatures

    MiniareMiniatures says:

    A seller on Etsy is currently selling Old Masters art images as miniature framed art for profit. These are clearly owned by the Metropolitan or the Art Institute. Etsy has a responsibility to use some common sense here....

    4 years ago

  • TripleMoonMagic3

    TripleMoonMagic3 says:

    There are tens of thousands of Twilight-inspired items being sold on Etsy every day. This is, apparently, intellectual property infringment. However, Twilight items are posted almost every minute on Etsy. Would be nice if Etsy removed all of these items and treated all sellers the same.

    4 years ago

  • flutterbycharlie

    flutterbycharlie says:

    I was dissappointed to find that an Etsy seller was using stolen images and claiming them as their own for a baking business, at first they said it was an honest mistake after i found them using MY personal images! Then i did a little research on her other images and found over a dozen images were taken from fellow food bloggers had been used claiming to be "her own" without permission. I checked the blogs for any reference to her and there was none. This person now claims that people have done it to her so does that justify doing it to others? What has this world come to? I know it happens, people have used my images "FOR SHOW" and not claimed them as their own, but to be running a whole business through false advertising at our expense? I was told by legal etc that i was to take it up with her and after trying to get it through to her that false advertising is illegal as well as using our images! She has taken "some" of the images down, gulty conscience perhaps? Although i still see some more....over a dozen blogs with photos she had stolen found in 30 minutes, thanks Google Images! People like me enjoy baking and sharing but this ruins it for us when people are dishonest and after being confronted still deny it is happening! This person claims they are an honest, bible reading, jesus loving girl...i don't think she heard of "thou shalt not steal"!

    4 years ago

  • LivvyMeade

    LivvyMeade says:

    just want to vent,.....apparently, etsy has thrown sellers under the bus, (MY OPINION, IF YOU WILL) when it comes to copyright infringement. Is etsy policy in line with the law? (MY PERSONAL QUESTION) Because you use a blue flower, I cant use a blue flower. GIVE ME A BREAK! You report me, I report you, where does it end. Riddle me this, etsians: if a seller repeatedly reports that other sellers are "copying" their "ideas", their "colors", their "material" (ALL sold commercially), and you place the two items side by side to see what.....that there is absolutely no comparison, etsy takes the "infringed" sellers "word". Again, you pull my stuff, i pull yours, whats the point......who's laughing all the way to the bank!

    3 years ago

  • bittybirdys

    bittybirdys says:

    what about books Sarah? there is an entire shop i discovered today selling 60 and 70 page copies of books that are obviously terrible photo copies scanned in and sold for $3 as "ebooks". this seems like a possible huge scam to me not only for the poor women who wrote all these craft books but also potentially for the person dumb enough to buy them. there are no feedback comments on the 42 sales made. is this because along with the pirated copies of the books came computer viruses????? where exactly do you report something like this?

    3 years ago

  • mytshirtpillow

    mytshirtpillow says:

    How would the first-sale doctrine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-sale_doctrine apply to me making pillows from recycled thrift store t-shirts? I purchased all of these shirts legally and the originaly companies profited from them already, so shouldn't I be covered by first-sale rights?

    3 years ago

  • ShymaliLlamas

    Shymali from ShymaliLlamas says:

    I had items for sale that were clearly marked "will fit pandora style add a bead bracelets". Every single one was deactiviated by Etsy because they were in violation of copyright infringement. Etsy said they were told by a rep of pandora that they had to be removed and Etsy was in the middle. Ok, I can go with that. BUT, if Etsy knows that using that term is in violation of the pandora copyright, why aren't all of the sellers using that same term inactivated? Why just a few that the rep targeted? So, Etsy is saying that you can't and they can? My sales have dropped in the toilet since then. Why? Because sellers who've been copying what I've had for 2 years are still allowed to sell with mention of fitting pandora and I'm not. Plain and simple. You tell me how that is fair of Etsy? Good business practice?

    3 years ago

  • airlobster

    Elly Sketchit from EllySketchit says:

    Etsy really is making it difficult to report users that gain revenue from drawing and/or creating obviously ripped-off work. Let's face it, if it's difficult to do, people aren't gonna do it: and you're telling me I can't flag anything? I have to go through a process so convoluted I had to try and Google how to do it (and thus found this article)? Let us flag violations, Etsy. Really, now - no one has the rights to draw Mickey Mouse, My Little Pony, and obvious things like this I see -every- day in shops. You don't need a signature or legal crud for this. You -know- the person is violating copyright.

    3 years ago

  • HiLLjO

    HiLLjO from HiLLjO says:

    So you're OK with people using Thomas the Train, Hello Kitty and Elmo until Fisher Price, Sanrio and Sesame Workshop get involved... Naughty Etsyers, reporting fellow shop owners for getting an illegal leg-up! TSK TSK! *snork*

    2 years ago

  • acutefox

    Wen Duan from AcuteFox says:

    Ummm... So I guess it's alright for people to sell CHANEL logo trademarked things all over the place? http://www.etsy.com/search/handmade?q=chanel&view_type=gallery&ship_to=US&page=4

    2 years ago

  • sdjurado84

    Shannon Jurado says:

    Zazzle actually monitors what is sold from their site. Someone can't even create something for themselves that will be used for personal use only that has copyright material. They will email you to say they canceled your order. I don't use copyright material, but the reason I know this is, believe it or not, the US Marines have lots of copyrights on their stuff and i didn't know that. Disney is famous for going after people using their stuff. And they always win. You can't tell me that Etsy can't take the Disney stuff down? It doesn't take a genius to figure out these are copyright and these people don't have permission to use it. Sorry Etsy, the reason you make your money is from the ARTISTS you promote. If it wasn't for them you wouldn't have a site. One would think you would protect their rights to create their own art. Not steal from others.

    2 years ago

  • pohkoon

    Poh Koon from NeueGraphic says:

    I hopefully Etsy will do something for this issue to protect the artist works. Just found out many shop here is copying (100%) and transform the design into others products such as copy from an illustration and make them into t-shirt, pillow, and many more other products without the agreement of the origin artist! this is shameful for a community like ETSY which for handmade / artist works! I hope Etsy able to make protection of artist works easier! Please take property infringment seriously, shame for the "fake products" sellers.

    1 year ago

  • featheredshoppe

    Quinn and Shalayna from FeatheredShoppe says:

    Sarah, if you are still in the Etsy legal department, would you please send me a message or provide me a way to contact you? I have a very important question regarding copyright infringement and tags

    1 year ago

  • kateconsiglio

    Kate from kateskraftsgifts says:

    I paint spare tire covers and have a request for the styx logo with the words relax on the top and take it easy on the bottom... will I have a problem with copyright laws if I make this? please advise kate911@yahoo.com

    1 year ago

  • NV4Beauty

    Nicole Varanavage from NV4Beauty says:

    i see a lot of posts about people saying that Etsy should be more proactive in stopping infrigement. While I think this would benefit many Etsy store owners and others, there are several big problems with that. First it would take massive amounts of man hours to police every shop to ensure that infringement is not being committed, which would be passed onto - you guessed it - store owners and their customers. Basically you would see massive mark-ups in item and shipping prices. The other side to that coin is that Etsy.com is not the seller of an item, in which the infringement is committed against. Not to mention Etsy cannot determine if an item, concept or design has been infringed upon because they do not have first hand knowledge of the items being developed by the seller. Sometimes infringement is not blatantly obvious. In fact, sometimes it is very difficult to see it done, because the accused is usually being very careful to make sure what they have created doesn't look like an exact copy. And a third item, infringement is not committed unless the item, concept, or design has absolutely been copyrighted. If a seller has not submitted applications to the US Patent and Trademark Office, then no infringement has been committed. Which is why any seller not wanting their items, concepts, or designs being stolen should pay the money and send in the applications. If that isn't done, a seller cannot take the accused to the judge. It will get thrown out, and any lawyer in the copyright business will even tell you that the crime was not committed if the seller doesn't have that piece of paper showing a copyright. Now I know some sellers may look at this post and say, well, what does she know. I do, only because I'm a musician (I understand what copyrights, trademarks, and public domain entail) and my father has been working for the US Patent and Trademark office for as long as I can remember. I interviewed my father for a project in college about the ins and outs of copyrighting and trademarking. Are there loopholes? Sure, laws can leave gaps that lawmakers never saw coming - as the technology world gets bigger, there will be holes that will need to be looked at and evaluated. But the lesson here is - if you don't want someone else using your designs - go the extra mile, without it you are stuck without a paddle. LOL

    1 year ago

  • Cscraftedcreations

    Cynthia Weaver from 3Csshop says:

    A customer sent me a link to a pair of slippers which were knitted and in acrylic yarn. She asked me if I could make a pair of wool for her - I crochet, I don't knit. If I am successful in coming up with a pair of slippers for her that are similar in style to the picture she sent me, am I committing copyright infringement if I sell them to her? I hope someone can answer this for me. Thanks.

    1 year ago

  • farragobags

    farragobags from farragobags says:

    What should I do, when somebody does copies and uses of the logos of big names, for example Cartier, Louis Vuitton, and so on? Actually it doesn’t violet MY intellectual property right, however they violates the International Copyright Law There are a lot of shop on Etsy selling fake items

    1 year ago

  • karenferency says:

    Can I be sued for posting an image of an antique photo which I have for sale on Etsy? I do not own the copyright. Can I be sued for posting an antique photo I found online onto a site like Pinterest or findagrave by the person who owns the photo but not the copyright?

    1 year ago

  • Debikay913 says:

    I am thinking of making fitted cloth diapers. I have tried two or three online patterns and then I bought a pattern. I have decided I really like the pattern I bought. If I make diapers using that pattern and sell them on Etsy am I Infringing on their copyright? Can I give credit to who came up with the pattern and keep from infringing on their copyright?

    1 year ago

  • gozonuts

    gozonuts from GOZONUTS says:

    If someone copies YOUR work, that is one thing. But I find that there are more than a few assholes on Etsy that act as self-appointed cops that have nothing better to do than find sellers who are selling something that isn't really kosher. The internet doesn't need more idiot with torches and pitchforks! Mind your own business would be a great fucking idea, unless it is impacts you directly.

    1 year ago

  • 2OldDragons

    2OldDragons says:

    Is it copyright infringement if a designer uses prints (from postcards, magazines, wrappers and so on) of deceased artists' artwork (say, Kandinsky or Van Gogh for example) in their products (jewellery, bags, accessories, etc.)?

    1 year ago

  • URL says:

    ... [Trackback] [...] Informations on that Topic: blog.etsy.com/en/2009/etsy-i-see-copyright-infringement/ [...]

    355 days ago

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    337 days ago

  • SuzEdesigns4U

    Susan Mazlum from MerlinStones says:

    * 2OldDragons says: "Is it copyright infringement if a designer uses prints (from postcards, magazines, wrappers and so on) of deceased artists' artwork (say, Kandinsky or Van Gogh for example) in their products (jewellery, bags, accessories, etc.)?" It depends. Some images, prints and/or quotes from musical pieces, etc. , by deceased artists are now in the 'public domain.' You could run a search, say on Van Gogh, such as: what Van Gogh prints are in the public domain? Hope this helps

    290 days ago

  • philipwalker3

    Phil Walker from WalkersCustomLeather says:

    Alot of people are mentioning patterns and if they are copywritten and can you sell items you have made from a pattern. I know from a leatherworking stand point that any pattern used for belts, holsters, sheaths etc. are copywritten and you cannot reproduce the PATTERN and sell it. If you purchase the pattern and make the item from that pattern then you can sell the ITEM that was made from the pattern. Public domain is a main factor also, its a little confusing but if the item is recognized in the public domain then it is not copywritable. If someone purchases a pattern for knitting a bag, and knits it in the same color as someone else that other person cannot ask them to stop making the bags because they look like theirs. And don't confuse copywright with patent. In Pandora's case their jewelry is patented not copywritten, and the name is trademarked. Trademarks don't have to have a "T" or "R" to be trade marked the "R" in a circle means the owner actually registered it, and a "T" means you are using it to identify your items but havent formally registered them. Basically as sellers, and this is regarding GOZONUTS comment, you have to do your research so that as a maker and a seller you DON"T copy somone elses work because if it IS something that is patented or copywritten and you are making money from it YOU can be in fo a lot of legal issues, especially if it's a major corporation such as the NFL, NBA or NCAA which there are alot of items with team logos on Etsy and no mention of "officialy licensed" gear. The NFL...well i dont think anyone could afford to be llicensed, the NCAA, is in the neighborhood of a grand and you have to submit photos and an explination of the items then purchase the holographic stickers. So pretty much if someone asks you to make something with their favorite sports team, college logo etc, don't do it because if the coproations catch you you may end up in the poor house.

    286 days ago

  • philipwalker3

    Phil Walker from WalkersCustomLeather says:

    Oh one more thing about original artists and their death, a copywrite is good for 75 years after death, a good read on this topic is located on Jay Fisher's website. He hand designs knives, sheaths and has a very extensive page on this exact subject as he has had people try to copy his works of art and sell them for far less.

    286 days ago

  • CardCastle

    scott busbee from Buzzbeedesigns says:

    Yeah some people actaully follow the law and rules and find it hard to complete with people who don't. Search disney on Etsy and you will find 250,000 hits. That is a ton of people who are problably just ripping off Disney. I search the internet for items that a clearly in the public domain or use my own work. I think it is ridiculous that Esty allows this blatent breaking of the law on their site and makes is very difficult to get something removed. Jumping through hoops and even to the extent where they say we should love the fact that artists are getting ripped off its publicity.

    264 days ago

  • bonnieburgess01

    Bonnie Burgess from RedPearls says:

    crochetbayboutique s, I agree whole heartedly with what you said. That is the truth, and the way it should be. Why should anyone else have to be responsible for the artist's copyright material? Is everyone on here reporting all the music and video infringements that happen on a daily basis? Is everyone in the world getting paid to watch for an infringement? That is not our job or Etsys. It is the job of the creator period. If the creator would like to start paying everyone to look out for any infringements against there stuff, then you would have a right to say something. Etsy is within the law and are complying like they are supposed too. It is not their fault if someone is infringing. The people who try to blame the venue are the one's who are trying to get free infringement policing at others expense. Do it yourself like the rest of the world. That is the same as the music industry trying to get all of America to police others for infringement, so they do not have to do the work themselves. In case you are wondering, no I do not condone stealing others work.

    253 days ago

  • lennyxpoe

    Dani H. says:

    How come no one is discussing the MANY scammers on etsy? Most of whom are copying images under copy right law, printing and trying to sell said images for a massive amount of money. When the images were actually free to look at online. Seriously, it would be better if etsy didn't allow porn at all because that's usually what the scammers use. That or the promise of other items they copied an image to from another etsy member's page. While I like the idea of etsy... they shouldn't allow so much garbage on their site.

    245 days ago

  • lennyxpoe

    Dani H. says:

    I agree with some of what the lady above me had to say, in the fact that others should not have to police anything. but regardless of infringement. I think it's wrong that they want us to look for anything that should be reported at all. That is what the websites STAFF is for, They are not doing their jobs at all. They do not have a simple Monitor section of staff. Staff that is specificly set to ALLOW or reject content that is added. If they had staff strictly for that most of the violations wouldn't be happening period. it's just a poorly run website no matter how you look at it.

    245 days ago

  • PrincessMom08

    April Butler from SimplySpecific says:

    I'm curious....if you make something that has no copyrighted/trademarked images but are THEMED to go along with them (such as similar colors or styles), can you SAY that in your title?

    237 days ago

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  • annie171

    annette coaten from PinkEclipseDesigns says:

    I'm sorry i think a large company like Etsy are coping out of some responsibility in allowing what many would see as blatant copyright infringement of a brands product. What happened to good old fashioned inspiration and creativity :(

    204 days ago

  • TuTu60

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    It all comes down to $$$.

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