You know what keeps me up at night?
When you own a business – and it’s your entire livelihood, it feels like you’re living in a glass house.
What happens if someone decides to sue your business? Or copy YOUR item then take you to court over it? Or just generally hate on you for no reason???
The reality is, no matter how hard you try (and I bet you TRY HARD!) it’s 500% impossible to make everyone happy. We all have a customer (or other Etsy seller) that just HATES us and everything we do.
And that’s some scary shit. ⬇️
In all honesty, it’s pretty RARE for disgruntled customers (or other sellers) to spend money and time trying to f*ck up your life.
But knowing ⬆️ THAT wasn’t helping me sleep any better. So, last year, I set out on a mission to get myself and my business LEGALLY protected.
I wanted to know WHAT I could do to keep my business, my life, and my savings in tact if the worst-case scenario rained down on me.
As it turns out, it’s simpler than it looks. (Phew!)
In today’s article, I’ll take you through everything I learned (straight from the mouth of my lawyer!)
What Lawyers Will Tell You About Etsy Copycats...
Worried someone might copy your item on Etsy? Instead of losing sleep over copyright, know exactly what steps you need to take with Lawyer Autumn Witt Boyd.
Learn more about protecting yourself on Autumn’s website.
Go Legal with Your Business
Want to do it yourself? Try LegalZoom to register a Copyright or Trademark for your items.
Learn more about Etsy’s Intellectual Property policy right here.
What Do I Need to Know About People Copying My Items on Etsy?
The internet is a massive place. So, BE REALISTIC when you’re trying to protect your products (aka “Intellectual Property”).
What does that mean?
Don’t FLIP YOUR SHIT for no reason. People aren’t going to waste their time ripping you off unless you’re already getting lots of attention – and TONS of sales!
So be REAL with yourself:
Do you need to copyright that brand new product you just created that got 4 views yesterday?
NO. That’s a waste of time and money.
Do you need to trademark your original business name, logo you created, or digital download templates that are selling by the thousands each year?
YES. That’s a damn good idea.
You can use trademark and copyright to protect your business.
But before we get started, you need to make sure your items CAN be copyrighted.
What does that mean? ⬇️
Etsy Items that CAN be Copyrighted:
- Are 100% your original creation – you can’t copyright someone else’s font, words, characters or ideas.
- Don’t reuse existing characters or company names (aka no “Rick and Morty”, Disney, or Harry Potter-related items can by copyrighted – those are already copyrighted by another company!)
- You CAN copyright a design if you created it from scratch and have the original file. For example, if I create an illustration, I can copyright that. If my illustration uses someone else’s words (or fonts), I can copyright my artwork, but not those words / font.
- You can trademark the name of your business, your logo, or the name of a program you create, if it’s 100% original.
- You CAN’T trademark common words or phrases though. For example, “Virgin” was not able to trademark their company name. (They did however, trademark their logo’s color, font, and design).
If your items meet these standards ⬆️, then watch the video below to get started!
Go Legal with Your Etsy Business
Learn why an LLC can save your skin in this podcast from my Lawyer.
Want to do it yourself? Try LegalZoom to register as an LLC.
Looking for an accountant who deals with businesses like yours? Check out this online accountant for creatives!