Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thursday Thoughts - Etsy Aims for Marketplace Integrity

Why should you care about Etsy maintaining marketplace integrity?  It's to everyone's advantage that Etsy have a serious and legitimate marketplace.  You want people to shop there without worrying whether or not they can trust you. Etsy recently talked about some of their plans in a blog post.

photo from LagunaStudio
I've had some lousy experiences with both buyers and sellers on eBay that make me extra cautious about purchasing there. When buyers claim they haven't received the item you mailed them and then file a claim that hurts your reputation as well as your wallet, it's infuriating.  This is why I'm glad that Etsy wants people to feel more confident about buying and selling on its site.

Confused about what marketplace integrity means? Etsy wants to make sure that people are following the rules and policies they have established. Even though there have always been those links to click on to report an item to Etsy, there were a lot of complaints about a lack of results.  Etsy is increasing the number of employees handling those reports so they are handled quickly and efficiently.

photo from summergirl80
Should I be worried?  People sometimes cross the line without knowing or understanding it.  You know that you shouldn't copy the work of others (at least you better know!).  What you may not realize is that incorporating someone else's copyrighted work into yours may be wrong. 

When you bought that fabric with NFL logos on it to make blankets, pillows, aprons, or teddy bears for your Etsy shop, did you notice the fine print on the bolt of fabric that prohibits anything but personal use of the fabric? What about those shops that incorporate photos/images from the latest hot movie or TV show? It's copyright/trademark infringement. Disney has quite a reputation for going after day care centers who show Disney movies to the children. They win because they claim the day care center is essentially making money using Disney's products to enhance their business. 

Derivative work by Kreatworks
Derivative works are an exception, but the original item has to be substantially changed by new creativity. No matter what you do with the NFL team fabric, the part that's copyrighted hasn't changed and you will still be in trouble. Printing a graphic of Jack Sparrow of your favorite Twilight character and then putting it in a necklace (under glass or covered by resin) is still a violation.

I'm just one little shop - why does some humungous corporation want to go after me?  They have to.  If they don't enforce their copyrights and trademarks, they won't be able to hold onto them.  Letting you get away with it makes it harder for them to go after others.  Etsy will be responding to more of the reports on copyright infringement as well as going after those who resell the work of others.  Reselling isn't illegal, but it's not welcome on Etsy.

One of our original creations
I welcome Etsy's renewed commitment.  Buyers and sellers need to be able to trust each other to have a successful marketplace.  Artisans also need to feel that their work is valued and protected.  I know I would be upset to see someone copying my work.  How do you feel about it?

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