Etsy is a marketplace where people can sell handmade goods, vintage items, and craft supplies. It’s also a great place to find unique digital products, like artwork, templates, and fonts.
However, because Etsy is a marketplace, the copyright of digital products sold on Etsy can be a bit of a gray area.
In this article, we’ll touch on some of the basics of Etsy’s copyright policy for digital downloads, and give you some tips on how to avoid copyright infringement and keep your account safe.
What is a Copyright Infringement On Etsy
According to Etsy’s Intellectual Property Policy, copyright infringement occurs when someone sells a digital product that they do not have the rights to. This can happen in a few different ways:
- The seller may not own the copyright to the product they’re selling. For example, they may have downloaded it from the internet without the owner’s permission and list it on Etsy for sale.
- The seller may have modified a copyrighted work without the copyright owner’s permission. For example, they may have changed the colors of a copyrighted image or added their own text to it.
- The seller may be selling a digital product that includes copyrighted material without having commercial rights to that item. For example, they may be selling a template that includes a copyrighted image and the seller does not have commercial rights for that image.
If you sell a digital product on Etsy that infringes on someone else’s copyright, you could be subject to legal action from the copyright owner. This could include a lawsuit or having your Etsy account suspended.
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What Will Happen If I Get a Copyright Infringement On Etsy
Multiple copyright infringement notices can lead to a permanent suspension of your Etsy account. As can be seen in the image below.
And once your Etsy account got suspended, you won’t be able to create a new Etsy store ever.
Your billing details, Ip address, and mac address all will be blacklisted by Etsy.
If you try to create a new Etsy shop with a new email address, it will get auto-suspended.
When you receive a copyright infringement notice from Etsy, your Etsy listing will be removed and you will get an Email from Etsy including the following information:
- The name of the copyright owner
- The copyrighted work that is being infringed
- The listing that is infringing on the copyrighted work
- A link to the infringing listing
- A statement from the copyright owner that they have not given permission for their work to be used in the listing
If you believe that the copyright claim is false, you can reply to the notice with your counter-notice. Etsy will then forward your counter-notice to the copyright owner.
How People are Selling Copyrighted Items Without Getting Caught
I know you have seen those Disney and marvel character mugs, keychains, and other stuff on Etsy.
Even big shops with thousands of reviews are doing this as can be seen in the image below.
How are those people selling copyrighted items without getting caught?
The answer is simple, they are not yet reported by their copyright owners. As soon as the copyright owner reports them to Etsy, their items will be removed and their Etsy shop will be suspended.
And if you think big giant companies like Disney and Marvel do not send copyright notices then you are wrong.
Eric Ravenscraft wrote in his article about how Disney filed multiple copyright reports to the sellers on Etsy who were using Disney’s name and characters without their permission.
So, if you’re thinking of selling copyrighted items on Etsy, then be aware that it’s just a matter of time before you get caught and your Etsy shop gets suspended.
How To Avoid Copyright Infringement On Etsy
The best way to avoid copyright infringement is to only sell digital products that you have created yourself or if you are using some third-party elements in your digital items then make sure you do have commercial rights for that.
Let’s understand this with an example:
Suppose you want to sell a “Happy Birthday” card template on Etsy.
You will need to create the design for the card and also buy or find some free fonts, images, and other design elements to include in your template.
When using fonts, images, or other design elements from third-party sources, make sure you have commercial rights to use those elements in your product.
This means that you either purchased a license to use them or you found them in a free resource that explicitly states you can use them for commercial purposes.
If you’re not sure if you have commercial rights to use a certain element, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and not use it.
Some Tips To Avoid Copyright Infringement On Etsy
Now that you know how easy it is to get a copyright infringement notice on Etsy, let me give you some tips to avoid copyright infringement on Etsy:
Do Not Use a Registered Trademark
No matter whether you are selling digital or physical products, do not use trademarked names or images of brands, celebrities, or other public figures without their permission.
Do Not Copy Other Designs
When selling digital products like templates, cards, or graphics on Etsy, do not copy other people’s designs.
Create your own original designs or hire a designer to create designs for you.
Avoid Copyrighted Images
When using images in your digital or physical products, make sure you click your own pics or use the ones that you have commercial rights to.
You can find free stock photos that you can use for commercial purposes.
There are also websites where you can purchase commercial licenses for photos and other digital products.
Do Not Copy Other’s Titles, Descriptions, etc
When creating titles, descriptions, or other written stuff for your Etsy shop, do not copy someone else’s work.
Always write your own original content or hire a copywriter to write content for you.
So that’s how you can avoid copyright infringement on Etsy.
While copyright is a sensitive topic, it’s important to be careful when using other people’s work in your digital products.
By following some simple tips mentioned in this article, you can protect yourself from copyright infringement while still creating great digital products that everyone will enjoy.
I hope this article was helpful in understanding copyright law and how you can avoid copyright infringement on Etsy.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment below.