How to Avoid Etsy Copyright Infringement in 2024

How to Avoid Etsy Copyright Infringement in 2024

Successfully protecting your original work and steering clear of intellectual property violations can really make or break your business.

In this blog, we’ll explore everything you need to know about Etsy’s Intellectual Property Policy, avoiding copyright infringement, and maintaining a thriving business on the Etsy Marketplace.

If you have questions – keep reading. You’ll find all the answers below.

Intellectual Property: Copyright, Trademark, and Patent

A book with “Copyright Law” written on the cover.

Intellectual property refers to creations of your mind. It ranges from inventions and artistic works to logos, names, and images.

Much like the house you live in, this type of property carries legal protection.

Copyright, trademark, and patent are types of intellectual property you’re most likely to encounter as an Etsy seller.

  • Copyright is the legal protection given to a creator’s original work – from art, designs, and photographs to music, film, and written content.

Copyright gives the intellectual property owner exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, and display their work to others.

  • Trademark protects the use of a company’s name, along with all of its associated products. It protects brand identity, logos, and slogans.

This means publishing Disney art without permission from the intellectual property owner will likely get your entire shop suspended and may even result in legal action.

  • A Patent gives the right to exclude others from using, making, or selling an invention for a set period of time.

Make sure that none of the goods you sell have patent protection to avoid an infringement report being filed against you.

Intellectual property rights are an important factor to consider, no matter whether you use your own original work, fan art, AI art, or images from the public domain in your store listings.

It’s especially important if you plan to list someone else’s work on your online store.

What Is Intellectual Property Infringement?

It’s the violation of intellectual property rights.

As an Etsy seller, you’ll encounter intellectual property infringement if you use someone else’s intellectual property without first obtaining permission from the owner or if you report someone else’s violations.

Once you open a store on Etsy, you agree to their Intellectual Property Policy. These guidelines explain the handling of infringement allegations, how to report violations, and ways to respond to an intellectual infringement notice your shop has received.

You’re responsible for making sure the content you post doesn’t infringe on someone else’s intellectual property rights – understanding and respecting Etsy’s policies is vital to guarantee a fair and creative marketplace for yourself and other Etsy sellers.

A businesswoman looking thoughtfully into the distance.

As one of the leading online marketplaces worldwide, Etsy acts as a platform connecting 7.47 million active sellers to around 92 million buyers.

Etsy places significant emphasis on combating violations of copyright and other intellectual property rights to safeguard the rights of all Etsy sellers.

They provide tools for reporting copyright infringement in accordance with the copyright law, also known as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and take appropriate action against all infringing sellers.

Note that committing copyright infringement can lead to legal action and penalties on this platform, including removing your store listings and even account suspension.

Make It Happen Today!

Understand Intellectual Property Laws

Intellectual property laws give the creator exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, and display the works they’ve created.

Familiarize yourself with the types of intellectual property you’ll encounter on Etsy to know what is protected and how to respect the rights of others.

It’s also important to stay updated on any relevant intellectual property law changes that may impact you as a business owner.

Create Original Designs

One of the best ways to avoid copyright infringement is to create your own unique designs. Set some time aside to brainstorm and come up with original concepts that align with your brand and style.

This approach protects you from legal action and helps you stand out in an overly saturated market.

Focus on innovation and create something that hasn’t been seen before.

Use Licensed or Public Domain Content

If you’re not that great at graphic design, opt for licensed or public-domain content.

Licensed content requires permission, but you can use it in accordance with the license terms. Be cautious about these terms and the source’s credibility to make sure you’re not inadvertently using copyrighted material.

Public domain content, on the other hand, isn’t protected by intellectual property laws and can be freely used by anyone.

Go through our suggestions on the best free public domain picture websites to find what works best for your Etsy shop listings.

Obtain Permission From Intellectual Property Owner

If you’re set on using content with copyright protection, receive the licenses and permissions from the owner before posting copyrighted material on Etsy.

Some content creators might offer their work under specific licenses that allow commercial use, while others may require you to reach out to gain permission.

Always obtain written consent to prevent potential disputes that could lead you to seek legal advice later on.

Be Careful With AI Art

Depending on the sources used, designs generated by artificial intelligence can still incorporate copyrighted elements.

The responsibility lies with you to verify the legality of the AI-generated content.

Check out our blog on Midjourney prompts to learn more about creating unique artwork with artificial intelligence.

Don't Use Copyright-Protected Designs

Minor alterations to someone else’s work still break copyright laws and result in infringing material, which can lead you to a copyright infringement notice and an Etsy store suspension.

With that in mind, obtaining a licensing agreement from the copyright owner or using content from legitimate sources that offer a commercial license is important.

Avoid Trademark Infringement

Etsy takes copyright violations very seriously, but that is not the only type of intellectual property that can get your store suspended.

Using trademarked logos, names, or phrases without permission not only goes against Etsy’s policies but can also infringe upon the rights of other businesses, who won’t hesitate to issue a takedown notice for your Etsy listings.

Don't Use Copyrighted Characters

Copyrighted characters are often well-known and associated with specific brands or franchises, making unauthorized use highly recognizable and problematic for your Etsy store.

While it’s tempting to print your Elsa and Mickey Mouse designs on merch, posting infringing material is super illegal and can get you in serious trouble, ranging from large fines to jail time.

It’s also absolutely unnecessary when there are numerous other ways to get noticed on Etsy.

Don’t Copy Another Seller’s Listing Information

Create your own unique and original product descriptions when you add products to your store to avoid receiving a copyright infringement notice from Etsy.

You’re free to take inspiration from other Etsy shops. No one can stop you, and it’s also recommended to keep an eye on your competition, but don’t copy their listings word-for-word.

A piece of paper with “Copyright infringement notice” written on it.

No matter the case – be sure to take it seriously and follow Etsy’s resolution guidelines with care.

Etsy will investigate all alleged infringement reports submitted through the Etsy Reporting Portal or otherwise, which could result in various measures being taken against your store.

At Etsy’s discretion, both your product listings and store account could be removed from the platform.

For these reasons, it’s essential to follow Etsy’s Intellectual Property Policy and fully cooperate with Etsy’s investigation process.

How Many Copyright Infringement Notices Can I Get on Etsy?

Etsy doesn’t list a specific number of copyright infringement notices that can lead to penalties, but if you receive repeated or multiple notices of intellectual property infringement, your selling privileges may be terminated.

If you receive a copyright infringement notice that leads to an account suspension, you will also have trouble opening up a new store on Etsy.

What’s more – this policy extends to any stores that are suspected to be connected to accounts that have or are committing copyright infringement.

Keep in mind that Etsy reserves the right to close any accounts without advance notice and for any reason.

What to Do if Etsy Suspended Your Account or Removed Your Listing?

Review the intellectual property infringement notice you received and understand the reason for this action.

Follow Etsy’s instructions to resolve the issue and provide any necessary documentation or evidence that supports your case.

If you’re in the US, you can file a counter-notice on any intellectual property infringement claims:

  • Submit a counter-notice. Prepare a notice following Etsy’s DMCA Counter-Notice guidelines. Etsy will share a copy of it with the original complainer.
  • Wait. Etsy will process your counter notice and might restore the removed content or access within ten business days.

Note that this estimate might change if the copyright owner takes legal action to stop you from relisting your products.

Make It Happen Today!

Etsy lists clear requirements for submitting Digital Millennium Copyright Act reports or counter notices for infringement reports based in the US.

Alternatively, use the Etsy Reporting Portal to:

  • Register your brand to see all of your intellectual property rights and associated reports.
  • Use keyword search to go through millions of listings and compile your findings on copyrighted or trademarked material.
  • Report violations of intellectual property for Etsy’s dedicated support team to investigate the alleged infringement, providing details on:
    • Your information. List your full name, address, and contact information.
    • Intellectual property. Select the violation type – copyright, trademark, patent infringement, counterfeit goods, or other – and provide details on ownership.
    • Infringing materials. Select the material type – shop name, listing, username, or video from a shop or an Explore post – and provide an example.
    • Authorization. Agree to Etsy’s terms and sign the report with your name.

Make sure to provide accurate and detailed information to assist Etsy in their investigation of any alleged infringement.

How to Safely and Legally Run an Etsy Shop With Print-on-Demand?

Selling customized products on Etsy might seem like a sure way to open a Pandora’s box, but with careful planning, a firm grasp of legal requirements, and a commitment to originality – your path to success will be smooth and rewarding.

Pro tip

Be sure to check in with our guidelines on how to avoid copyright infringement in Print on Demand and find out whether any image can be printed.

Join the Ranks of Many Etsy Sellers Who Sell With Print on Demand

Aside from choosing the right keywords, the answer to standing out on Etsy is to offer unique and original products.

Set aside some time to generate creative ideas and designs that reflect your brand values and resonate with your target audience.

Start your Etsy print on demand business today!

Create a Printify Account

Opening an account on Printify only takes a click. Enter your email and create a password, or sign in with your Gmail account.

A Printify account is 100% free and gives you access to all of our products and services.

Create Your Designs and Products

Go through our Product Catalog to find the most suitable products for your Etsy store – we have more than 900 customizable products to choose from.

Select the product you want to add to your store and click Start designing.

Take advantage of our Mockup Generator and upload or create your own designs. We offer free graphics and a text editor with more than 100 fonts.

Once your designs are placed on products – generate product mockups to make your store listings unique and memorable.

Integrate Your Etsy Store With Printify

Before you link your Printify account with your Etsy store, you’ll need to go through Etsy Seller onboarding to create a store and gain access to the Etsy Shop Manager.

Once you’ve completed the Etsy onboarding process, go back to your Printify Dashboard, select My new store → Add new store in the top right to link Printify to your Etsy store.

Choose Etsy from our list of available sales channel integrations and authorize access.

Publish and Start Selling

Click My store in the top right of your Printify Dashboard to see a list of the draft products you’ve created.

Checkmark Select all and publish them to your Etsy shop.

Edit your store listings, making all the necessary adjustments to your profit, designs, and descriptions, either from your Printify Dashboard or the Etsy Shop Manager.

By offering unique products born from your own imagination, you’re not simply joining the Etsy community – you’re adding a spark to it.

Etsy Copyright Infringement: A Summary

One thing is clear – breaking copyright laws really isn’t worth the hassle and legal issues it can create for your business.

Instead of committing intellectual property infringement, create original designs or use licensed content and obtain proper permissions from intellectual property owners before you post third-party designs on your store.

Elevate your Etsy journey through the power of knowledge and report infringement on the Etsy Reporting Portal.

Embrace the freedom to create with the help of Printify and watch your shop flourish in a community that celebrates uniqueness.

Make It Happen Today!

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