If someone accuses you of offering a product in your Etsy store that breaches their copyright, it is crucial to take their complaint seriously.
While breaching someone’s copyright is not a crime, you could end up having to pay financial compensation and legal fees if the other party takes you to a civil court over the matter and wins.
Is court likely?
The first step most fellow Etsy users would take is to contact Etsy. That alone can cause you a mountain of grief, as Etsy has a reputation for removing the product or even freezing the alleged offender’s store altogether without investigation. That could lead to losing vital income.
What if you did not steal their idea?
Pinpointing how you came up with the idea for a product can be challenging. A lot of people have similar ideas at the same time because the internet propagates ideas far and wide. Just because your product is similar to someone else’s does not mean you copied them.
Defense arguments might include:
- Showing you were selling the product before them
- Showing other examples of the same or similar ideas on the internet or in popular media
- Highlighting the differences between your two products
Remember that not all copyright breach claims have much foundation. Some people spot something similar to their product in another online store and instantly assume that the seller must have stolen it from them. They may not consider the influences that led them to have that idea themselves. They might have little understanding of copyright law or how claims work.
Getting legal advice to examine your situation can give you the upper hand if accused of a copyright breach. Sometimes showing you know what you are talking about is enough to put a swift end to an accuser’s speculative claim.