orangenius
Industry

An Etsy Store Stole My Art. What Can I Do?

Etsy DMCA Safe Harbor

It has been about a year since I wrote about the excessive complaints permeating the web regarding copyright infringement on Etsy, the popular ecommerce site dedicated to handmade and vintage goods. Unfortunately, not much has changed since then, at least not from an anecdotal review of complaints on the web. That’s not surprising as the company’s claims DMCA Safe Harbor Protection (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), which says that if a website only provides a forum for posting and sharing content but doesn’t control the content, then they cannot be sued for copyright infringement.

Without the Safe Harbor, site like YouTube and Vimeo might not exist because each copyright infringement would place them at considerable risk of a lawsuit. The downside is that sites protected under the DMCA have little incentive to proactively stop copyright infringement. There is a bit of a debate within certain members of the legal community as to whether sites like Etsy, Café Press, or Zazzle really qualify for that immunity, but for now, assume that Etsy is protected under the DMCA.

The good news for copyright owners.

Any website that claims to qualify for DMCA Safe Harbor must follow certain rules including a prescribed system for taking down infringing content. Having helped several clients takedown images on Etsy, I can say that

at least in my experience, the company is very prompt at removing offending material. Also, in at least a couple of cases, infringers uploaded the images again after Etsy removed them but after sending a second takedown request, there was no further infringement. Whether the infringers gave up or Etsy took further action, I don’t know. Regardless, while Etsy may not be proactive in preventing its stores from posting infringing materials, removal of infringing materials should be removed within 24 hours after a takedown request is submitted.

What should you do if you find infringing material on Etsy?

If you find an infringement, immediately send a takedown request by email. Below is a sample request letter that you can use. This letter may also be useful for other sites following the DMCA procedures, not just Etsy, but you should always check the site’s term and conditions for their specific takedown procedures. For example, Google provides web based forms so writing a letter is not required.  If you use our Etsy Takedown Letter for your infringement, I would appreciate it if you could revisit this page and post your story in the comments section. Maybe your experiences can help someone else deal with an Etsy infringement. Also, if you find the letter helpful, please share this article with your friends.

 Sample Etsy Takedown Letter

[Date]

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is official notification under the provisions of Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) to effect removal of the infringements reported below. Please address any correspondence to:

[Name]
[Address]
[Phone]
[Email]

I request that you immediately issue a cancellation notice as specified in RFC 1036 for the specified postings to prevent the infringer, identified below, from posting and selling the infringing material through your service, now and in the future. Please be advised that law requires Etsy, Inc., as a registered service provider, to “expeditiously remove or disable access to” the infringing material upon receiving this notice. Noncompliance may result in a loss of immunity for liability under the DMCA. The infringing store selling copies of the work for which I hold a copyright is [Shop Name] at [Etsy Store Website URL].

Below, please find a link to my original work along with a link to the infringing work on Etsy website.

Original Work by [Copyright Holder Name]

[Name of Work, if any]
[Website URL]
Creation Date: [Date]

Infringing Work(s):

[Website URL]
Item #[Number]

I have a good faith belief that use of the material listed above and displayed on your website in the manner complained of is not authorized by me, my agents, or the law. The information provided in this notification is accurate. Under penalty of perjury, I affirm that I am the complaining party and/or I am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the exclusive rights in the work described above

Sincerely,

[Name]
[Position. If any]

About the author

Steve Schlackman

As a photographer and Patent Attorney with a background in marketing, Steve has a unique perspective on art and law. Should you have any questions on Intellectual Property contact him at [email protected] His photography can be seen online at Fotofilosophy.com or on display at the Emmanuel Fremin Gallery in New York City.

5 Comments

Click here to post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Thank you Steve! Your template worked well for our situation. It took about 48 hours for Etsy to comply, but they did. I also used with for a e-commerce site hosted on Shopify. The site owner has copied every single one of our listing pictures. Shopify shut down the entire store within about 2 hours.

  • Hi, I just had a question. I work for a company whose products have been copied and we recently sent a takedown notice to Etsy. It’s been several days and we haven’t heard anything, nor have the shop or the counterfeits been taken down. Is there any way we can get more information out of Etsy about what they’re doing regarding our takedown notice?

    Also, as an artist who both sells personal work and designs product for a company, I’m so glad to have stumbled across your blog. Thank you for this wealth of information!

  • Thank you very much for this template. I just discovered tonight that an Etsy seller has copied word-for-word a sewing pattern/tutorial set that I wrote back in 2008/2009, and is selling it as her own. Unbelievably, she is also selling a “licence” which supposedly enables buyers to sell products made from the pattern, on the condition that credit is given to her shop!

    I have used your takedown notice template to inform Etsy, and will report back with the outcome.

    Many thanks again.

    • Glad I could help. Also, make sure you monitor the user for a while. I have had a couple of situations where the person made some minor changes and then put it back up. In both situations, though, two takedowns ended it. Let me know how it works out.

The Latest From Artrepreneur

  • Art Walks Put California on Parade

    For most Californians, walking yields to driving as the main mode of transportation. Driving is such a driving force for the state’s residents that “Saturday Night Live” created a recurring sketch about soap opera characters […]

  • The Future is Bright, Say Art Entrepreneurs

    According to a new report by the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) the old adage of the struggling artist may officially be a myth. SNAAP’s special report, “Career Skills and Entrepreneurship Training for […]

  • Artist Profile: Natalia Nakazawa — Art, Work, and Life

    Natalia Nakazawa is a visual artist who works in mixed media to create paintings, tapestries, and collages. Her latest installation was displayed in a window of the iconic art deco Clocktower Building in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood. The […]

  • Art Business Conferences for the Art Entrepreneur

    Are you on your way to becoming a thriving art entrepreneur? Check out these upcoming art business conferences to increase your chances for success! The post Art Business Conferences for the Art Entrepreneur appeared first on Artrepreneur. […]

  • Eight Artist in Residence Programs to Launch Your Career

    We’ve previously reviewed how important it is to craft a bio and resume that details your art career, and today we’ll discuss one essential element that’s sure to make your career stand out: the Artist in Residence. Artist in […]

  • Write an Artist Bio to Get Noticed

    Most artists are used to expressing themselves in creative ways, but fewer understand the importance of expressing who they are in words. In this article, we'll review the creating an artist bio while offering some useful tips on its content. The […]

  • Balancing a Full-Time Job with Fulfilling Creativity

    Need more time in your day to work on creative endeavors? Here are few ideas that may help. The post Balancing a Full-Time Job with Fulfilling Creativity appeared first on Artrepreneur. […]

  • Launching an Art Startup? These Online Resources Can Help.

    Launching your own art startup can be scary. Here are a few tips and online resources that may help. The post Launching an Art Startup? These Online Resources Can Help. appeared first on Artrepreneur. […]

  • Expanding Your Art Business Beyond You [Part 2]

    Are you ready to expand your art business? Here's what you need to know about hiring and terminating employees, employee retirement plans and vacation and sick leave. The post Expanding Your Art Business Beyond You [Part 2] appeared first on […]

  • You Don’t Have to be an Artist to Work with Art

    Just because you don’t possess any artistic abilities – or just because you haven’t made it as an artist yet – doesn’t mean you can’t have a creative, art-filled career. There are plenty of “art […]

  • Expanding Your Art Business Beyond You

    Artists successfully running their own art business may be ready to hire an employee. We've covered everything you need to know, from tax requirements to insurance obligations. The post Expanding Your Art Business Beyond You appeared first on […]

  • What Photographers Need to Know About Shooting People [with Cameras]

    In this article, we'll review a key example of publicity and privacy issues, and what you need to know to keep your photography in the clear. The post What Photographers Need to Know About Shooting People [with Cameras] appeared first on […]

  • Getting What You Want: Basic Negotiation Tips For Creatives

    Selling and negotiating can be very intimidating. Fear not! Here are some common sense tips to negotiation that can help you get what you want. The post Getting What You Want: Basic Negotiation Tips For Creatives appeared first on Artrepreneur. […]

  • How to Sell Art [Without Being Annoying]

    Most artists will tell you that the hardest part of their job is trying to sell their artwork to the masses. Sure, they love the creativity and the freedom being an artist provides, but how can they make a living unless they sell their work? While […]

  • Museums Deck the Halls with Holiday Cheer for All

    Check out seasonal exhibits from some of the country’s top art museums. The post Museums Deck the Halls with Holiday Cheer for All appeared first on Artrepreneur. […]

  • Why Galleries Should Get Down with Art Fairs [A Useful Guide]

    As we're winding down from celebrating Art Basel Miami Beach, we're thinking about all the different ways galleries and artists can benefit from participating in these international art fairs. The post Why Galleries Should Get Down with Art Fairs [A […]

  • Your All Access Pass to Art Basel

    Dying to tackle Art Basel Miami Beach, but not sure where to start? You won't want to miss these stunning displays of the best of contemporary art. The post Your All Access Pass to Art Basel appeared first on Artrepreneur. […]

  • Get Your Networking on at Miami Art Week

    Miami Art Week is the perfect time for artists to network and gather contacts to keep building an art business. Check out five events primed to bring new opportunities. The post Get Your Networking on at Miami Art Week appeared first on Artrepreneur. […]

  • The Garment District: From Buttons and Bows to a Home for Art

    The Garment District Alliance has worked hard to evolve the area from a faded industrial center to a revitalized business district committed to bringing art to the streets. The post The Garment District: From Buttons and Bows to a Home for Art […]

  • United States of the Art: Six Destinations for the Great American Road Trip

    A cross-country road trip provides plenty of opportunities to create art. The post United States of the Art: Six Destinations for the Great American Road Trip appeared first on Artrepreneur. […]

  • How Does a Photography Business Make Money?

    Photographers are uniquely positioned within the art world to earn money through various revenue streams. Here's how you find work. The post How Does a Photography Business Make Money? appeared first on Artrepreneur. […]

  • The Basics of Insurance Part II: Health Insurance for Artists

    In this article, we’ll a type of insurance that you’ll want to think about as you build your art business – health insurance for artists. The post The Basics of Insurance Part II: Health Insurance for Artists appeared first on […]

  • The Emergence of the Creative Entrepreneur

    The term “starving artist” has long been part of our lexicon, signifying the significant struggle artists face bringing their creative work to market. For the lucky few that survive until they have paid their dues, the career can be […]

  • Seth Godin and Marketing for the Art World

    A good marketing strategy can help grow a business if done well. Let Seth Godin show you how to be a modern marketer in his skillshare video series. The post Seth Godin and Marketing for the Art World appeared first on Artrepreneur. […]

  • These Five Companies Put the Art in Startup

    Technology and art are intersecting in more ways than ever, and today’s art startups are revolutionizing the way art is consumed and collected. Entrepreneurs have been intersecting art and technology since the start of the .com boom. Portfolio […]

  • The Art Museum In The Digital Age

    I talked with Steve Konick, Director of Public Relations and Marketing for the Currier Museum of Art, in Manchester, New Hampshire, to understand why art museums are still relevant The post The Art Museum In The Digital Age appeared first on […]

  • Should I Open a Corporation for My Art Business?

    About 375,000 visual artists claim to be self-employed yet many don't realize that their personal assets can be at risk. Find out how opening a corporation can help protect you. The post Should I Open a Corporation for My Art Business? appeared […]

  • Model Citizens and Protected Images: Work-for-Hire and Right of Publicity

    Last week, we discussed model releases, and an example concerning a model whose image was being used by a company in a more liberal manner than what had originally been agreed upon by the model and the company. You may recall that in this instance, […]

  • Does Copyright and Trademark Law Protect 3D Printing?

    3D printing is a relatively new art form is sweeping the internet and worrying designers and Hollywood executives alike. Along with the advent of 3D printing, a steady stream of piracy and copyright infringement cases have been reported by industry […]

  • Consider this tip before signing an International Art Contract

    Most art galleries participate in art fairs throughout the year. Many of those fairs are international, such as Art Basel Switzerland or the Hong International Art Fair. International art fairs are an excellent way to position your gallery in […]

  • Six Steps to Safer Image Sharing

    Despite the unfortunate reality that image sharing on the Internet can lead to misappropriation of your work, there are some steps that can minimize the risks. The post Six Steps to Safer Image Sharing appeared first on Artrepreneur. […]

  • Does Freedom of Speech Protect Taking Photos of People Through Windows?

    Fine art Photographer Arne Svenson spent a year secretly taking photos of the Fosters, a family living across the street from his home. Does the Foster's Right to Privacy outweigh Svenson's Freedom of Expression? The post Does Freedom of Speech […]

  • Four Reasons Artists Should Hire Lawyers

    Think artists can't afford to hire lawyers? Actually, artists can't afford to not have one by their side. Here's four reasons why. The post Four Reasons Artists Should Hire Lawyers appeared first on Artrepreneur. […]

  • Death and Taxes: Save Millions Through Careful Estate Planning

    Artists and collectors can minimize estate taxes on artworks by employing a planning strategy and understanding the complexities involved with assessing the work's fair market value. The post Death and Taxes: Save Millions Through Careful Estate […]

  • Can You Spot a Fake? The Trouble with Authenticating Art

    What are the challenges for collectors in authenticating artworks? What are the legal remedies when a purchased artwork is discovered to be a forgery? The post Can You Spot a Fake? The Trouble with Authenticating Art appeared first on Artrepreneur. […]