Page 1 of 1

Printing Etsy/Pinterest Purchases for Customers

Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2022 11:14 pm
by JJepsen
We are a small print shop in the US.

We have customers come to us on a near daily basis wanting us to print invitations, postcards, posters, etc that they purchased on Etsy.

Many of their requests contain characters and logos from Disney, Bob The Builder, Paw Patrol, Lego, Pixar, and so forth. Most of the sellers' stores say things like 'we do not provide copyright releases, so if your print shop requires one don't buy this'. Of course, the Etsy store boasts more than 10,000 sales, which means they've made $65,000 or more by reselling copyrighted/trademarked material.

For a long time now we have flat out refused to print these items due to copyright infringement. While it may arguably be within 'fair use' for someone to print on their own at home, they are, by my understanding, clear violations for us to print because we are a for-profit printer.

I'd be interested to hear what others on the forum think.

Thank you for your time,

Re: Printing Etsy/Pinterest Purchases for Customers

Posted: Fri Jul 29, 2022 6:52 am
by AndyJ
Hi James,

I agree that it's a difficult ethical dilemma. These works which include characters and logos from children's TV prgrams etc will undoubtedly have been produced without licences. The people who come to you will probably also think that they have purchased some kind of licence which allows them to get the cards or invitations printed, despite the small print on Etsy. It's the same problem which is faced by Youtube every minute of the day, although they are legally protected by section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, and your business is not. On the other hand an infringing work on Youtube can be discovered by the copyright/trademark owner much more easily than a printed invitation circulated among a few dozen people.

If it's any consolation I don't think you need to worry about the trademark issue. ยง1114 (2)(A) of the Lanham Act provides you with limited immunity against an action for trademark infringement, to the extent that an owner of a mark may only restrain you from any future printing of that particular mark.
(A) Where an infringer or violator is engaged solely in the business of printing the mark or violating matter for others and establishes that he or she was an innocent infringer or innocent violator, the owner of the right infringed or person bringing the action under section 1125(a) of this title shall be entitled as against such infringer or violator only to an injunction against future printing.
When it comes to copyright you are much more vulnerable, and if a copyright owner is purely out for monetary recompense, they may think it is more worthwhile suing your business rather than some mom who would undoubtedly gain public sympathy in any court case, generating bad publicity for Disney or whoever.

Re: Printing Etsy/Pinterest Purchases for Customers

Posted: Fri Jul 29, 2022 3:02 pm
by JJepsen
@andyj Thank you so much for your thoughts.