Sunday, June 26, 2011

Etsy has some issues

Yesterday I got an Etsy conversation from a seller who I had recently purchased some Angry Birds inspired hats from. She gave me permission to share it with my blog, which I asked for because I think it really highlights two of the major problems Etsy has.

JezeBearDesigns will no longer be advertising on Today they removed another of my hats siting (sic) copyright infringement. My items are handmade and my own designs. Yes, the inspiration might have come originally from cartoons etc. but that is as far as the similarity goes. For goodness sake they are knitted and crocheted!. Others have similar items but have not been touched. I think I must have gotten up someone's nose how else do you explain the discrimination and victimisation. Etsy does not allow anyone to make comment on these decisions on their blog page so they don't allow any public recourse.

Enough is enough.

It's so frustrating to see good sellers leave Etsy (for good reason!) when it is so full of problem sellers - trying to sell junk or resell inappropriately or blatantly stealing art and designs. I think this seller's reasons for leaving, Etsy's inconsistent policies and censorship, are extremely valid and frustrating. And since one isn't allowed to complain about Etsy's policies on Etsy I feel the need to voice concerns here.

Etsy tolerates loads of art theft and copyright infringement. They don't seem to be bothered by people selling other people's art on pendants or little mirrors or whatever as long as they get to profit from it. Until recently, for example, they were fine with Angry Birds inspired things being sold on Etsy, even apparently use of its art. Etsy continues to be full of products blatantly using art from Disney, anime, etc. I imagine the Angry Birds people, who are expanding their own merchandising, recently sent Etsy a cease and desist letter threatening litigation if Etsy continued to allow Angry Birds items to be sold. Hence the crackdown, by which a few sellers told me they were targeted. It appears that some sellers are continuing to sell Angry Birds inspired products on Etsy so this crackdown appears to be inconsistent as well.

If Etsy can't be consistent in its policies it seems egregiously unfair to single out some sellers and punish them for what loads of others are doing! Lots of really successful shops appear to use art that's not their own in products they continue to sell without repercussions. What's the distinction Etsy?

Of course, we can't really ask Etsy to clarify since it seems to be their strategy to immediately shut down critical forum threads. In the arena of forum thread closing, Etsy responds quickly and comprehensively. Go figure. No shortage of resources there.

Has anyone else had issues with Etsy's confusing policies on copyrights? Or censorship?

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