Monday, February 15, 2010

From the Auxiliary Guild: Olympic Etsy Fail

This just came in from the Mailbag, too good to not share:


A month or so ago, I sent a note to Community@etsy.com and, of course, it was ignored.
I asked if they realized that anything with Olympics, or Vancouver 2010, or the rings, etc. on it is in serious violation of their copyright/branding regulations. I sent this link and told them that they shouldn't promote people that misuse the Olympics as a way to sell more stuff.

I researched it last winter, thinking that it would be cool to design a line in time to promote it for the Olympics. Reading how strict they are, I gave up on it. Not only did Etsy blow me off, but now they are promoting it in the Voter, encouraging more people to violate it. Sure I'd like to promote my own hats, scarves, etc. but I just can't believe that they're pretending not to know about it and are, instead, encouraging it.

37 Comments:

justpassinby said...

I don't see where the item is, which voter?

I do know that a seller that has been flagged more than once for selling disney dvd's is still on etsy, and doing ok so far.

Fed Up With Fools said...

The terms 'mindless twits' comes to mind whenever I am forced to think of the so-called admins (sic).

I am constantly shaking my head in disbelief over their idiotic attempts to try to keep up with current events and merchandising trends, without giving a single thought to copyright and other rather important factors.

Is anyone minding the store there in Brooklyn, or does everyone do as they please with no oversight or leadership? Oh, wait, that's a rhetorical question, right?

Me thinks we are in a situation with these 'people' where the blind are leading the sighted, and won't take directions from their guide dogs.

The light is fast fading from the end of the tunnel, folks. It's getting really murky and utterly depressing. In case you haven't read between my lines, I do not take kindly to fools or stupidity....both of which are in rich abundance in the home office of Etsy.

Eveline said...

Etsy does not care about restrictions and violations of copyright laws. As long as you pay your 20 cents per listing as well as the percentage on every sale, they keep their mouths shut. They claim they can't do anything about it anyway, unless the copyright holder is complaining. Then how come there are still Hello Kitty items being sold?

The actively encouraging sellers to sell copyrighted items is a new low, and sadly, I'm not surprised.

BUSTED said...

I hope they get busted.
ps: the voter shit in general is so sophomoric.

The Funny One said...

The Etsy voter Olympics announcement doesn't read like a recommendation to violate copyright but reads a lot more like Etsy is scraping the bottom of their barrel for ideas that are so lame, it's shameful. (Any other site would have had a "plan" for promoting major events BEFORE they happen, but not Etsy!) The whole "voter" gimmick just elicits the same responses from the same people who chime in on every blog post. Etsy keeps running popularity contests because that's how the site has functioned ---- & brought up lots of valid questions about site ethics.

It isn't a surprise only because we all have lots of proof that Etsy does not think through the implications of copyright, resellers, mistagging, and because they often pick items to promote that violate every category in the book.

I don't think they think things through. It's sloppy and lazy and it shows. What it does to the reputations of stores on the site is the real question. If Etsy's managed to reduce the average price of all sold items to $14, what could possibly be next?

Whatever Flips Your Lid said...

at the Etsy Headquarters Brainstorming session:

"Dude, while I was making that cowl with an owl, I was flicking through the channels and saw a commercial for the Olympics. Did anyone know that the Olympics was going to be on this year let alone this week?"

The Cranky One said...

I just wonder how many bicycles are going to show up on the voter. BIKES FOR WINTER OLYMPICS.

Any bets? I say two.

The Cranky One said...

I just wonder how many bicycles are going to show up on the voter. BIKES FOR WINTER OLYMPICS.

Any bets? I say two.

The Cranky One said...

And do you think hipsters watch tv?? no.
Too ordinary, too midwestern! You can't be ironic watching tv! You dont get seen drinking Hostess Twinkie flavored martinis in a hole in the wall vegan bar!

romagypsy said...

Well its no wonder they refuse to buy legitimate advertisements!

adbizchic said...

I've read this page for a year and finally must speak up. I know someone who worked as a consultant in the corporate offices of a major international fast food corporation that pays to participate in Olympic promotions. We were stunned to learn that said corporation got into hot water for using the five Olympic rings logo in a way that was not sanctioned by the IOC. In other words, even Olympic SPONSORS may not have the rights they might expect. The penalties for this infraction were steep and affected tens of thousands of franchises. That's a whole lotta fries.

Just A Jewelry Designer said...

I don't know why anyone would be surprised.

Malacologist said...

*headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

sixteendays said...

Not surprised...

The IOC and Vanoc are really, very, ultra, super vigilant. They will go after whomever they feel is violating their copyright or promoting same.

Yes, Etsy should be worried & their lawyer should expect a call.

I'm living thru the 2010 games now, they've taken over my town and suspended the Charter of RIghts & Freedoms. Believe me, they are not joking around.

Bad move Etsy. These are the big boys you've played with this time.

RRobin said...

Let's all report them to the International Olympic Committee. Now.

sark said...

ironically, while looking for shit to put in my treasury today I came across someone selling something they made out of polymer clay that happened to be Hello Kitty. I recall groaning.

So, the olympic thing doesn't surprise me. I have to say, I don't give a shit about the Olympics. I really don't. The whole thing bores the shit out of me.

But it doesn't surprise me that etsy cobbled this together at the last minute, that it contains violations of the copyright law, etc.

Apparently, they can't even keep track of what is on their front page. Who knew that they have iMacs, but don't have spreadsheets or tracking programs, and yet took statistics about relevancy Thursdays, which they only did for three weeks, so really, how the hell does that create a realistic relative sample?

But then, while people have been bitching about front page repeats on the forums for 3+ years now, they apparently were just unsure about what exactly constituted a repeat, and it took them years to get around to asking.

Really, MaryMary, you don't know what a repeat is? Does the office have the online dictionary blocked? Are you unable to convo the etsians who start those threads and ask privately? Were you unable to post publicly in forum threads and ask?

The prolonged inaction on EVERYTHING is completely stunning, in that it creates a negative impression.

I give up. I have shit to make. Mind you, the only way I can get anyone to look at my shit is if I go to twitter and spam like everyone else.

Too bad nothing works, because it all has so much potential.

Not THAT bad! said...

OK, mostly I nod a lot at what I read here, but has anyone gone and looked at the things that were nominated? Winter-themed things, items made from bits of Vancouver street maps, lots of red white and blue items ("Cheer for USA" kind stuff) - I browsed thru 50+ pages of nominations and didn't see anything actually "Olympic" except some vintage 1984 Olympic postage stamps made into another item. Maybe all the things I didn't click on actually are flagrant violations of trademark, but I didn't see it. I saw more things that I'd consider contrived: something that happened to be made in "the same colors as the Olympic rings" that had no resemblance whatsoever to the rings logo (knitted slippers, I think it was).

But yeah, it would've been nice to actually prepare and plan an Olympic-themed Voter BEFORE the Olympics. Can't argue that.

TooOld said...

On Voting:

"Power to the People". Right.
"Every country has the government it deserves."
Voting for shit like this is juvenile and meaningless. Just another way for Staff people like MaryMary to get herself off the hook so she doesn't have to work.

then there is the "we trust people to put the right tags on their items" which also keeps you from having to know shit or even make an attempt at vetting.

The Cranky One said...

Hey, if they even use the words "Olympics" they already infringe. Seriously. I went to the useage page and you can't even SAY "Olympics".

I vomited a bit in my mouth said...

Marymary should just be fired or find such success with her blogging and fake ass jewelry making that she just moves on.

I'm as if she's showing favoritism on purpose, just to let others know that she can do it and get away with it.

Since the gift guides are gone, It's been so long since she promoted her favorite seller (what's it been line 3 weeks?). So I suppose to make up for it she's put this seller in twice in the Olympic etsy finds e-mail.

Same seller 2 different stores (wonder why the 3rd store wasn't included)?

And by the way that's not a Canadian maple leaf you ignoramus, even if you tag it and call it one.

ViolationsMeh said...

Today's etsy finds email has SIX olympic copyright violations...really all things considered, about par for any etsy curated collection!

Messing with Vanoc & the IOC is the big leagues etsy. You're in hot water now hipsters.

RRobin said...

Quoting ViolationsMeh:
"Messing with Vanoc & the IOC is the big leagues etsy. You're in hot water now hipsters."

**

Well, somebody has to notify them first, so I hope you have done that. They don't learn about copyright violations through telepathy.

Linda said...

For such obvious copyright infringement as the olympics or disney or hello kitty - the big and blatant ones - perhaps etsy should disable the ability to use the word in tags. Try to use "olympics" the tag gets rejected.

They could set up alternative tags for the tiny number of people who actually have obtained licensing that say "Officially licensed Disney" or "Officially licensed Olympics" etc.

You'd have to be a pretty hardcore scofflaw to choose a tag that says "officially licensed" if you aren't.

That would at least stop all the idiots who are clueless about business law from their naive opportunistic infringements (like the freakin' idiot with the giant ugly brown cowl who tagged it winter olympics - duh).

J. Cord said...

Etsy does not care about copyright infringement. One shop owner stole my avatar and used it for herself. I have the screen capture as proof. She linked it to her shop. The links were active, I checked. I sent all this to etsy and they totally ignore it. No interest what so ever. Not even the courtesy to send any type of reply. So I doubt they care about the olympics.

WatchingThe Wheels said...

It gets better. Check out the diagrams in this Storque article:

http://www.etsy.com/storque/handmade-life/dont-quit-your-day-job-the-artist-in-the-office-7149/#comment-250428

Etsy now also advocates corporate theft.

J. Cord said...

I finally got a reply from Etsy on the stealing of my Avatar. It is copy right infringement with proof. They said they don't do anything about any of it and referred me to their legal department. Interesting, they do have a legal department.

RRobin said...

Hey bitches! You do great work, and I thank and love you for it, but I noticed that this post is 10 days old. Is there anything newer to report?

Eveline said...

Just read that 'don't quit your dayjob' article. Unbelievable that sooo many people said what a wonderful idea this was, and what a brilliant article. Corporate theft is theft, and a sackable offense. Yes, they are 'renting your time', but you better do what they tell you to do in that rented time, and if they catch you stealing supplies to make yourself a 'zine of all things, there are plenty people out there who can replace you!

Unfuckingbelievable that Etsy thinks it's a good idea to post something like this!

FantasyClay said...

I saw the don't quit your day job. I know that sitting around making zines would have gotten me fired from most jobs I've worked.

Ok it may be a couple of pieces of paper and some staples but really- who has time to sit around and do crafts aat work- unless of course you're working at Etsy. Just proves what their staff does all day.

FYI said...

Here's the place to report!

http://www.vancouver2010.com/more-2010-information/about-vanoc/the-vancouver-2010-brand/protecting-the-brand/reporting-brand-infringements/

FYI said...

Here's some examples.........

http://etsycallout.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/dont-mess-with-the-ioc/

jeweledmd said...

Etsy put this on the front page yesterday. DOUBLE FAIL.

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=41010831

TheDuder said...

Etsy put this on the front page yesterday. DOUBLE FAIL.

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=41010831

----

I'd say triple fail, because it's a really shitty picture of the item too. Fuzzes out at "listing" resolution, seems to look OK for a thumbnail.

So much for having "fantastic" photos of items as a necessary means to hitting the FP.

Looking forward to that whole Etsy roadmap of goals and other happy horseshit that's seemed to just have fizzled out of the "need to keep sellers updated about" column....

JewelryMaker said...

I went to the wordpress page last week and reported the 6 items to the IOC using the link provided. As of today 2 are removed completely, 2 are still there and 2 now have other items in their place (I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to do this either)

Anonymous said...

I didn't bother reporting individuals. I reported the whole site to the IOC. I hope they rip Etsy a new one.

manuela said...

re: J. Cord

Yes, Etsy has a legal department. As usual, they hired someone apparently based on youth and inexperience, and the fact that she makes jewelry.

When they got a lawyer and she said she specialized in IP, everyone was like yay! A Lawyer to help us with our IP questions and infringements. Well, it became pretty clear that no, Etsy's lawyer is not there to help us, rather is there to protect them against us if needs be.

Their response to everything is basically "it's your problem". They *never* assume a responsibility for anything if they can shrug it off.

Unfortunately the habit of profiting from other people's copyright infringements while looking the other way is heavily ingrained into internet business culture. Look at Youtube - they built their business on people illegally uploading copyrighted video.

J. Cord said...

Manuela, that was a sarcasm about the legal department. The address they gave me was for California, not a jewelry shop owner. Surprised me that it was in California and not NY. The big advice they gave me was to write their "legal department."