Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Etsy: Your place for all things handmade... and Disney

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Etsy: Screwing Etsy shops one seller at a time

WallCandy, a Canadian artist and cancer survivor, has been on Etsy since 2007. Soon however WallCandy might no longer exist as WallCandy on Etsy.

A new Esty seller, Wall Candy Arts, has apparently complained to Etsy. Wall Candy Arts filed a trademark in 2002, in the US, for something very specific: "decorative plastic wall coverings and wall boarders that adhere to a painted wall surface and are easily removed and repositioned."

Etsy has given the original, Canadian WallCandy one week (ONE week) to notify customers and choose a new name. Rather than do something logical like, oh say taking 5 minutes on Google to learn that Wall Candy Art and WallCandy sell non-competing products and are based in two different countries, Etsy chooses to be boneheaded fucktards as usual.

Etsy - this is bullshit. You're an International site, right?? As you say "the Etsy community represents more than 150 countries worldwide" so ACT like it. Just because a company holds a copyright in the US, does not mean that they have a lock on a seller's shop name based out of another country.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hello DMCA, I think Etsy's forgotten about you

In May 2007, Sanrio (the people who own the trademark, etc to Hello Kitty) filed a DMCA complaint with Etsy. They specified to Etsy that they must remove all Hello Kitty items or face legal proceedings.

Here, Dillinger, who was an Etsy employee at the time confirms this and calls the removal of Hello Kitty items "Operation: Goodbye, Kitty."

It is now more than 2 years later and Etsy has still to keep current and comply with the DMCA.

Here are the search results for the HK items on Etsy
. There's 3,798 items currently listed with the tag of Hello Kitty. I might be wrong, but that's not a very good job of removing those items, now is it?

Also, Dillinger let it slip that MTV, Nickelodeon and other large companies have filed similar complaints. Here's a search for Spongebob Squarepants - HERE

In this thread, RobWhite said that they FULLY comply with DMCA complaints. Sorry bud, you are WRONG! A DMCA isn't a one time deal, it is a continuous complaint and request to keep their copyrighted characters off of the site!

Therefore, Etsy isn't DMCA compliant in the slightest, especially with Sanrio and most likely Nickelodeon and several other companies.

Come on Etsy! You've had over 2 years! It isn't that hard to put a few of your employees on DMCA duty. Its not like you're using them for anything more than tweeting Etsy favorites every few minutes.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Morons 1, 2, and 3 - From the Bitches' Auxillary

We received an Aux email that describes perfectly how inefficient the Etsy admins really are. Not only do they not know what the hell they're talking about in general, but they also don't even talk to each other or properly delegate tasks. The lawyer should handle copyright or patent issues from the start, not support, and billing should be aware of support issues to handle them accordingly.

Below is the story, which has been edited to remove specifics and avoid potential fallout for the already Etsy-pained seller.

Why the admins at etsy are morons!

I got a convo from a girl that claims she has a patent for selling the same items that I do on etsy. When I got the convo, I thought "let me do some research before I respond to her." I got an appt. with a lawyer for 2 days later. He told me that this girl has a design patent and not a utility patent. That means she has a patent for something that anyone can get online. Basically, her patent is invalid.

That night I get home, and I get an email from Emily Bidwell that they are removing my items from the site. This girl is claiming infringement and they are taking
it off of their site based upon their COPYRIGHT and IP Policy. The email
If we go to that page, it clearly states “Etsy, Inc.(“Etsy”) has adopted the following general policy toward copyright and intellectual property infringement in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("

Now, I am not a lawyer, but my items are not digital in nature AND this is a patent suit. Furthermore, the email states that if I feel that this claim is unfounded or a mistake that I refer to “Etsy’s Copyright and Intellectual Property Policy ( and provide Etsy with the four pieces of information required for a DMCA 'counter notice.'" Again, this is not a DMCA issue. Not only that but I had purchased TWO showcases for two days later and three days after that. I asked for my money back because they have taken down my listings. I get a reply from Jason stating that “Showcase spots are nonrefundable. We can remove you from these Showcases if you don’t have any items to add to your Showcase lineups.” Gee, thanks. That is really sweet of you JASON! How convenient that you take down my listing RIGHT before my showcases.

Anyway, before I decided to fill out the DMCA “counter notice,” I decided to speak to my lawyer. Of course my lawyer thought their lawyers are morons if they are citing DMCA for taking my listing off. I want my listing back up so I decide to fill out the counter notice. I get an email from Sarah Feingold that she received my counter notice but she “apologizes for any confusion as to our policies, however this does not appear to be a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) claim.” DUH! Then she further writes, “As you know, Etsy is a venue. Etsy is not a judge or jury or an arbitrator and we are not equipped to make a determination as to the validity of a United States design patent.” Well if you are not Sarah, then WHY DID YOU TAKE MY LISTING OFF??? If you cannot make any judgment, then put my listings back up on ETSY!

Dumbest people I have ever met!

We agree.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Office Hours today!

You can chat with Matt today at 11am EDT, or with RobWhite at 7pm, in the Virtual Labs Treehouse!

We encourage you all to go and ask uncomfortable questions about shoddy copyright policies and be generally bitchy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Those Pesky Laws - Don't Let Them Get in Your Way!

So…once again, Etsy manages to take a perfectly benign (if, in our opinion, generally useless) Storque feature and turn it into a nightmarish example of Etsy’s complete lack of professionalism (and, apparently, lack of a clue, as well).

Of what do we speak? The latest installment in the Quit Your Day Job series featuring Etsy sellers, highlighting the work of GeekCentralStation, seems to have completely missed the fact that this shop is selling figures based on, and with names identical to, some trademarked characters.

Here’s a little news flash: DC Comics usually doesn’t like people to sell things with the Superman “S” blazing on the front without their permission. The Superman shield is a registered trademark. Yoda is registered, too, and toys and plush figures that look like Yoda are supposed to be licensed. How do I know this? Well, I took the handy advice provided by Etsy attorney SarahSays in her Storque series on Legal Info for Artists and searched the U.S. Patent office site for trademarks related to some of these characters. Hello? Etsy? Do you EVER listen to your own advice?

Let us be clear – the Bitches don’t feel any great sympathy for DC Comics or Lucasfilms. We certainly don’t care if someone makes a little bit of money using these characters, and we’re not interested in defending Big Corporate America against an indie artisan. But the laws are out there, and questions about copyrights and trademarks come up on Etsy all the time. How many times do you see a newbie post something like, “Can I sell my cute Spongebob bibs here?”

Let us also be clear – we know that it’s not Etsy’s job, as a venue, to enforce this stuff. Lucasfilms, or whichever corporation, has to defend its rights in these situations. And most of the time, small businesses fly well under the corporate radar. But for God’s sake, Etsy, don’t act like the laws don’t exist! Way to further reinforce the widespread idea that it's perfectly all right to profit from the use of trademarked images. Not only that, but by featuring this seller, Etsy may very well have screwed her over by making her a bit more public and getting the shop out there where Lucas Licensing can see it.

And let us FURTHER be clear – we like this seller’s work. Her little figures are really cute, and the work appears to be pretty nice. If she’s selling successfully, it sure seems justified. We don’t want to bash Sammi in any way. We just can’t believe that no one at Etsy noticed that the characters were a bit, um, familiar.

As a few people pointed out in comments on the Storque article – did anyone at Etsy even CONSIDER this before publishing the feature? Maybe this seller did all her homework and talked to a lawyer. Maybe she even got permission from these companies to use the characters’ names and images. But, sadly, we doubt it. Whatever – there’s no mention of that anywhere in the shop or the article. Here was the perfect chance for Etsy to teach the few dozen people who still read the Storque what to do, or what NOT to do, when thinking about trademarked characters. This article could have given us some really useful information. All we get from Etsy is an afterthought by SarahSays at the end of the comments, after other people raised questions - and she just told them to mind their own business, reminding us we "don't have all the details." Too little, too late. This is a real problem, and by acting like it's some secret we don't deserve to know about, Sarah misses the point.

This is yet another example of cluelessness, laziness, and simple failure to make sure the staff knows the company’s rules. It’s the same reason we see mass produced goods on the front page, featured in Storque treasuries, and gracing the Gift Guides, time and time again. Admin would have to be actually PAYING ATTENTION to make sure that didn't happen.

Etsy, once again, the hammock has collapsed out from under you.