Copyright and trademark tips for your pod business

Jan 28, 2021 | Blog, English, Features, Tips

print on demand trademark: header image

When selling on e-commerce platforms, you should always follow the platform’s policies and rules. Pay special attention to copyright and trademark guidelines. Depending on the severity, copyright and trademark infringement can lead to warnings, fines, withheld profits or even having your account lockout. If you design a T-shirt based on popular trends and brands, you will likely have to deal with this problem. Moteefe does not accept the sale of pirated and trademark designs. To help you avoid running into this problem, check out the rules and guidelines below. 

The difference between copyright and trademark

Many people often confuse these words believing they are interchangeable, but in fact they are two completely different terms.

Copyright is used to denote the original creative works of an author such as pictures, books, movies, songs etc. Copyright can be specified by attaching the © icon. For example, if you quote lyrics on your design without permission, it is a violation of copyright.

Trademark is used for words, symbols, names or devices to distinguish the goods of manufacturers or sellers. Special names and symbols used for brands are affixed with the ™ symbol. For example, if you put a brand name on your product without their permission, you are violating their trademark.

When creating your designs, make sure you are coming up with original ideas and concepts in order to avoid both types of violations.

For more information on trademark and copyright laws, check out the links below:

 

  • Copyright Law and Trademark in the US

US Copyright

USPTO

 

  • Copyright Law and Trademark in Europe

European Union Intellectual Property Office

Understanding design rules

If you create designs based on current events and trends, but you don’t want to violate copyright and trademark laws, you can apply the fair use principle. “Fair Use” allows you to create parodies. It can only be applied to people, characters and things like logos. Your parody needs to have distinguishable differences from the original work in order to minimize the possibility of confusion or deception in the market.

To do this, you need to find out where the famous image or phrase you want to include in your product comes from, and how you can safely parody it.

Additionally, you should not use famous or recognizable characters, country symbols or coats of arms in your designs.

If you want to use online images, there are a few websites that offer commercial free images. If you come across a photo online and you are unsure whether it is considered public domain, you will need to get permission from the original owner. Receiving written permission is a way to protect yourself from legal problems. You can read more about license types here.

What happens when a campaign contains copyright or trademark infringement 

Designs that feature infringement will be taken down immediately and we may have to refund buyers on all infringing orders.

Sellers that continue to post infringing designs will be immediately suspended from selling on Moteefe and Marcazo.

In the event that you create a new account to continue posting infringing designs, that account will be locked immediately, and the following measures will be enforced:

  • All campaigns created from the account will be immediately closed.
  • Any profit made from these campaigns will be kept while we process any costs incurred as a result of lawsuits and customer refunds.
  • Accounts will be locked.

If your account has been closed for copyright and trademark infringement, you will not be able to sell on Moteefe or Marcazo using any other account. If the Legal Department discovers you are selling on another account, they will close that account and you will not get to keep any profit that you might have generated.

Accounts that violate copyright and trademark rules will not be entitled to our preferential tier policy or ref-back bonus.

With all of the above in mind, the best way to avoid piracy and trademark infringement is to create your own designs. In doing so, you both provide your customers with unique designs and minimize the likelihood of experiencing high-risk situations that could put your POD business in jeopardy. 

 

Happy Selling!

Team Moteefe