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Last updated on: January 9, 2023
Copyright infringement is a menace for many businesses operating online today. Too often, on ecommerce sites like Etsy, businesses are having their product images stolen and reused without knowing how to protect their assets or pursue the infringers.
But, what is the scope of copyright infringement on Etsy? Are businesses really losing revenue as a result of copyright infringement? And, how do you report infringement and keep your product images safe?
In this blog we’ll be exploring:
According to the US Copyright Office, copyright infringement happens when a copyrighted work is reproduced, performed, distributed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner.
Unfortunately, copyright infringement is a pervasive issue within the digital era. As it has become easier to share music, photos, videos, and other creative works it has also become easier for bad actors to steal and reuse original content. In recent years, this problem has become particularly relevant for business owners trying to operate on Etsy and other similar websites.
Etsy, an ecommerce website that focuses on handmade or vintage items as well as craft supplies, has recently come under increased scrutiny due to the widespread copyright infringement found throughout its online marketplaces. With over 5 million sellers using the website, Etsy is constantly trying to get on top of copycat sellers and copyright infringers. However, the scale of copyright infringement is proving to be overwhelming for many online enterprises, including Etsy.
Copyright infringement is clearly a large and constant concern for Etsy which has its own Intellectual Property (IP) infringement Reporting Portal as well as guides and articles addressing common questions about IP on its website.
In their 2021 Transparency Report, Etsy stated they had executed 124,237 takedown reports submitted by third parties that complied with their IP policies. 55% of these IP takedowns were related to copyright. In response to copyright concerns, Etsy also received Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) counter-notices from sellers for 9.24% of their copyright infringement reports. Evidently, image protection on Etsy is a pressing issue for businesses and individuals that are looking to safeguard their products and brand.
The Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property (IP) estimates that the annual costs to businesses from IP losses range from $225 billion to $600 billion. Indeed, research indicates that in 2022 alone illegal downloading of copyrighted materials took up 24% of the global bandwidth. Clearly, copyright infringement is both pervasive and incredibly harmful to businesses around the world.
Serious copyright infringement can constitute a criminal offense. However, most copyright infringers operating on sites like Etsy are probably committing more small-scale violations. For small businesses using Etsy and other similar websites, it has proven to be difficult to protect their product images and brand from these pernicious and small-scale infringers. Yet this is how revenue is lost.
Every copyright infringement is an instance in which your brand identity is diluted. If your product images are stolen and reused to push inferior or unrelated products you are missing out on sales and the reputation of your brand is being eroded. To combat these losses you have to be proactive with your image licensing and image protection protocols.
The primary way to protect your creative work is to get it copyrighted. The first step to take after creating something that you intend to put online is to register and display your copyright ownership. In the EU and US, copyright is granted when your content is created.
Copyright protection gives you a solid legal basis for protecting your images on Etsy and any other website. Once you have obtained the copyright for your image, it is good practice to display the copyright symbol – © – alongside the first publication year and the copyright holder’s name.
Nevertheless, it is also worth remembering that when you upload content to the internet there will be risks. In today’s world, it is naive to assume that your online content won’t be used in ways that you did not intend.
Etsy acknowledges that it is difficult to protect product images merely by using its own online facilities. In fact, they provide 3 tips to specifically help you learn how to protect your images on Etsy with regard to listing images:
While these precautionary measures are a helpful place to start considering Etsy’s copyright policy they will not provide most people with peace of mind when it comes to protecting their images on a long-term basis.
Another common strategy to protect online images is to use watermarks. However, Etsy discourages the use of watermarks to protect your images. They say that using image watermarks makes product images unsuitable for features within Etsy and ineligible for programs like Google Shopping. If you have taken the above measures to protect your images but your images are still being stolen the next step you can take is to report the copyright infringement on Etsy.
Image protection on Etsy is handled through their Reporting Portal. If you are the owner of a copyrighted property and you suspect potential copyright infringement, you can register your brand and report suspected violations via this Reporting Portal.
Once within the Reporting Portal, you can use keywords related to your brand to search millions of listings on Etsy. You then have the ability to browse and compile relevant listings and report any infringements to Etsy’s team.
After you have reported an infringement, Etsy’s IP reporting team will try to investigate the alleged infringement. If Etsy’s team deems the listing to have violated their IP rules they will remove it and notify the seller.
This is the extent of Etsy’s copyright policy. While it may help to remove potential infringing listings by the time you have found them you have probably already lost revenue and missed opportunities to grow your brand.
Through Etsy’s current system there is no way of recovering this lost revenue. If you are serious about your brand’s image licensing you will probably be feeling hard done by at this point. So, how can you go that extra step? The most efficient way of protecting your business’s images, and recovering revenue lost to copyright infringers, is by investing in a service like Red Points.
Your intellectual property is extremely valuable and you can’t allow it to be used and abused by online scammers. Even if you send a copyright infringement notice it is important to follow up with additional methods if the offending content remains on Etsy and other similar websites. This is where Red Points’ Copyright Infringement Detection software can help.
Red Points is the most widely used solution to recover digital revenue. Red Points’ Copyright Infringement software works by rapidly detecting copyright abuse anywhere online, automatically issuing takedown requests of copyright violations, and reporting copyright abuse at the source. This threefold approach provides businesses with comprehensive protection from online copyright infringement.
Ultimately, by protecting your images in this way you will be able to recover revenue losses and prevent future damage from scammers.
Red Points is a Revenue Recovery platform. With a host of first-class tools and solutions, that enables companies to recover revenue lost to infringers on websites like Etsy. Taking down hundreds of infringements manually is not a cost-effective way to deal with the problem. Busy executives need a more elegant and efficient solution. This where Red Points’ 6-step system can help:
By conducting 24/7 bot-powered searches on Etsy, Red Points detects sellers who might be infringing on your brand’s intellectual property.
By using image recognition, machine learning, and keyword search based on your previously submitted intellectual property registrations (like trademark, copyright, patent, etc), Red Points’ platform is able to discard or validate infringements one by one automatically.
You may find that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of possible copyright infringements. Obviously, that is too much for any individual to deal with at once. Red Points’ platform allows you to set prioritization rules to validate high-risk infringements first, tackling what’s more impactful to your business.
The next step is to ensure that the copyright infringement gets reported immediately. Here you can relax. Red Points’ platform is able to perform auto-takedowns based on pre-established rules you have set up or alternatively, you can choose to enforce infringement manually. Once done, Red Points can submit DMCA takedown requests to unauthorized sellers using your copyrighted images on Etsy.
Following enforcement, you will have the chance to delve into the vast amount of insightful data that Red Points gathers during the process. We can create custom reports to provide you with relevant data such as average days from notification to takedown..
Finally, Red Points allows users to understand and assess the overall economic impact of enforcement. To many, this will be the most important part. Here you will find out how much revenue your brand has recovered by using Red Points.
When it comes to copyright infringement, you have to act fast. Inaction will result in the continued theft of your product images and damage to your brand identity.
Etsy has processes in place to stop or limit copyright infringement and, as an Etsy seller, you can report copyright infringement once it has been identified. While a removal request can be effective in some circumstances, there is no guarantee that the stolen content will be taken down by the deadline or at all. If you want to tackle this pressing issue it is worth going beyond Etsy’s internal processes and engaging in robust Anti Piracy solutions.
Red Points’ Anti Piracy software will allow you to track and remove illegal content at the source and increase your copyright’s lifetime value. Whether you are operating on Etsy or some other ecommerce website, it pays to take copyright infringement seriously.
Safeguard your product images on Etsy and other websites and recover your revenue with Red Points’ Copyright Infringement Protection software.