What Etsy Shop Owners Need to Know About Copyright Infringement

by Molly Kimball, ElephantBeads

BACKGROUND:

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copyright free image source: morgueFile.com

In mid-April, Etsy’s stock went up for sale on the Nasdaq exchange. According to Business Insider, Etsy’s stock increased 88% in value after the initial public offering (IPO). CNN Money noted that Etsy was even out-doing Alibaba and Twitter by early May.

Then, just a month after going public, Etsy’s stock plunged 8% in a single day, and has been declining ever since. The trigger? A report by a Wall Street financial analyst that millions of the items for sale on Etsy might be infringing on copyright laws.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR SHOP OWNERS:

In four words: Etsy is cracking down.

As Etsy shop owners, we must now be more vigilant than ever about infringement practices. Do you refer to an NFL team or a Disney film or character in your title, description, or tags? Now is the time to remove those references. Do you offer a crochet Mickey Mouse hat in your shop? Now is a good time to remove it from your shop or reach out to Disney to see if they’re willing to sell you rights to the ears.

But don’t stop there. Keep in mind copyright claims can be filed by “little guys” too. If you found a cool image online that didn’t claim a copyright, or are simply using a sports team’s mascot – “Go Badgers!” – you may be infringing, believe it or not. Visit the links provided below if these examples sent chills down your spine.

WHERE TO GO FOR MORE SPECIFICS:

Etsy has a very helpful post about avoiding copyright infringement, explaining some of the surprising areas to watch out for, and their own role in enforcing protections. Equally helpful, however, is a post by blogger Beth Picard about copyright infringement, using real (and sometimes VERY surprising) examples from shops that were shut down on Etsy. She explains the process that results in a listing or shop being shut down. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Etsy will ONLY act against shops if they receive a complaint directly from the owner of the intellectual property.
  • Most companies don’t pay people to pore over Etsy listings. But anybody (even a competitor on Etsy) can turn in a shop to the owner of the copyright.
  • The copyright owner can petition Etsy to remove your listing (or your shop, if the issue is widespread).
  • This can happen with no warning – so it is better to be safe than sorry.

Have you had an experience with copyright infringement, from either legal side? Please share it here, as we can all learn from each other’s experiences.

KEEP: Getting Started as a Seller

By M Kimball, ElephantBeads

With the introduction of a universal shopping cart, Keep has made it essential that sellers get plugged in. Here is the good news: if you have an Etsy shop, it is VERY easy. Before getting started as a seller on Keep, you might want to take this occasion to spruce up your photographs. KEEP2If you browse through Keep, you’ll notice the photographs are crisp, bright and stylish. If you’ve been putting off working on your own photos, now might be the time to work on them. There is no need to update all of your listings at once. Choose your brightest, crispest listings for Keep, and upgrade additional listings as you go.

Are you ready to sell on Keep? Here are the four easy steps to get started:

  1. Review Keep’s retailer guidelines first. Does your store qualify? If you sell on Etsy, it probably does
  2. Sign up for Keep. I used my shop name in the first name field, but some Etsy shop owners use their own name.
  3. If you haven’t already done so, add the “Keep It” button to your browser.
  4. Browse to an item in your shop, and click the “Keep It” button.
    • Choose a category for your item – you can create new categories as you go. Create categories that match the items in your shop.
    • Your item description from Etsy will automatically be included with your Keep – but if you want to add any comments or tag words, you may do so.

It’s that easy! Your shop listing is now available for purchase on Keep.

Your next step will be to promote your item. The DTeam has team threads where we promote each other’s Keeps. Come on over and begin promoting!

KEEP: What is all the excitement about?

By M Kimball, ElephantBeads

KEEP isn’t really new – it has been around for awhile. But it seems to be taking off in the world of online browsing and shopping. So what is all the excitement about? Is Keep really just a hybrid child of Pinterest and StumbleUpon, as one of our team members observed, or is it something quite different?KEEP1

After a bit of research and dipping our toe into team promotional activities on Keep, we have determined that Keep is something quite different – revolutionary, in fact. As Wired Magazine noted back in July 2014 – “At Long Last, a Universal Shopping Cart for the Web“! This is no small shift in the fabric of online shopping. This is a significant transformation!

So what does this mean to those of us who are Etsy shop owners? Here are your key takeaways:

  1. Keep is about BUYING. “Keepers,” unlike “Pinners” or “Stumblers,” are not casually browsing for photos, jokes or recipes to clip. They are shopping.
  2. Keep is APPEALING. It is easy to use, which means it is easy – even fun! – to shop and buy.
  3. Keep’s shopping cart is UNIVERSAL. What does this mean? Your customer can put your beaded necklace in a shopping cart with a pair of Kate Spade earrings from Macy’s and a pair of shoes from Malta.

If you are not yet using Keep to promote your shop, we strongly encourage you to do so. Tomorrow’s post will include a quick tutorial to help you get started.

Teaching Thursday: About Page

I was going to come up with something fantastic and creative for today’s blog post, but last night, ElephantBeads (awesome Etsy shop owner and one of the DTeam’s fearless leaders) posted on the DTeam chat thread this fantastic article on how to write an About Me page. It’s written for bloggers, but totally applicable to our Etsy shops. So go read it. Right now. I mean it.

Writing an About Me page

Wasn’t that awesome? Let’s talk about what’s going on our new About pages — what’s your story?

Wednesday Chat

What’s on your mind today? How’s your business going as fall and the holiday selling season get started? Are you planning on joining the Etsy Holiday Boot Camp? Chat away in the comments.

Teaching Thursday: Pricing

Pricing. The dreaded method every business must use to set the prices for the goods and services they are selling. Set your prices too low, and you will lose money on every sale and eventually go out of business (unless you are so lucky as to have a 2nd source of income with which to fund your business). Set your prices too high and you will drive away customers. The art of pricing is the art of finding the sweet spot in the middle, high enough to make money and low enough to create happy, satisfied customers.

How to do it? Well, I have my own formula, as does every successful business. Your own formula will depend on your costs, both time and money. Etsy has helpfully written an article on creating your formula, along with handy worksheets to help you along the way. Read it here.

Once you’ve read it and created your formula, you’ll need to go through your Etsy shop and check all the prices of all the items in your shop and make sure they fit your new pricing model. After that, stick to your formula, and make sales with confidence, knowing you aren’t losing money. Good luck!

Wednesday Chat

What’s on your mind today? How’s your business going as April winds down? Chat away in the comments.

Wednesday Chat

What’s on your mind today? How’s your business going as winter moves on and spring moves in? Chat away in the comments.

Wednesday Chat

Welcome to April! Did anyone prank you yesterday? What do you have planned in your shop for April? Chat away in the comments.

Wednesday Chat

What’s on your mind today? How’s your business going this lovely month of March? Chat away in the comments.

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