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Etsy needs no introduction: it’s a massive platform that has enabled countless creators to sell their products online.

However, because these creators have the agency to create and sell what they want, many people end up infringing on other people’s copyrights (most unknowingly), and many have gotten their stores shut down because of it.

If you want to avoid being one of those people, you have to ask “How do I avoid copyright infringement on etsy?”

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A lot of store owners and creators look around their world for inspiration and guidance.

That’s just a part of the creative process.

In the case of copyright law, however, it’s generally a bad idea to try and gauge what you can get away with based on what others have gotten away with. There are two main reasons why you may get hit with a copyright infringement by following this method:

     A) They are also infringing on someone’s copyright, and simply haven’t been caught yet.
     B) They may have a licensing deal with the copyright owner (which you do not).

In either case, following their example and using a brand, logo, image, text, message, video, or name can land you in serious trouble.

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It may seem harmless to write in the description “Inspired by Disney” or “Drawn in the style of Disney.” However, this is leveraging Disney’s brand, and they have the right to shut you down if they find you capitalizing on their intellectual property.

If you want to credit the author and develop a mutually-beneficial relationship with the original creator, it’s best to try to contact them and establish a licensing agreement that you are both happy with.

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This is a big no-no. Copyright law centers around the protection of someone's creative work -- and that includes artwork. Do NOT use artwork from the Internet without that artist's express permission in writing (this can be as simple as communicating over email).

That includes placing art on t-shirts, jewelry, or other products. Doing so is a recipe for disaster in the trademark and copyright realm, and few things will get you shut down faster.

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Chances are you’ve heard the term “Fair Use.” A good example of fair use is a parody or commentary. Despite this, there's still danger involved! If you are unsure whether or not your creation falls on the safe side of the line, consider talking to an attorney (if you’d like to work with us, feel free to schedule a free consultation with us at the top of the page. We’d be happy to help you).

Consider collaborating with artists on selling substances and establishing a license that will help you both to succeed.

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The thought of your competitors drawing up phoney copyright claims to try to get you shut down is a scary one. However, Etsy doesn’t just jump into action every time someone makes a claim. They have a process to verify that the person making the claim is the owner of the copyright. They may even penalize the one who is making up phoney claims.

So, as long as you haven’t infringed on your competitor’s work, you don’t have to worry about them.

In Conclusion

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Here are 5 things you can do right now to avoid copyright infringement shutting down your Etsy store:
1) Don’t Rely On The “They Did It, So I Can Do It Too” Mentality
2) Don’t Use The Names of Those Who Inspire Your Work
3) Don't Use Artwork That Is Not Yours!
4) Don't Walk the Line of Fair Use or Derivative Works
5) What If My Competitor Weaponizes the Copyright Policies?
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