Update: Holy Wowza we did it! When I got up this morning, I saw that the site had zero listings. Thank you all!
Update, Part Two: Sigh, I found another scummy seller listing my book. This time, I figured I’d write a little guide on what to do if it happens to you or a creator you care about.
Are you up for a little rant about intellectual property rights? Because I have a tale to tell, and I could use a little help.
On Monday evening, the lovely Julie very kindly sent me a tweet telling me someone on Etsy was selling scanned copies of my book.
I checked, and indeed that seller was selling a scan of one of my books. On Tuesday, I reported the issue to Etsy. They took the book down later that day.
While I was looking for my book it became clear that the seller’s whole store was nothing but scanned images of other people’s books. How clear? Well here’s a screenshot of part of one page of the shop.
As of July 8, there were 150 things for sale, each one a scan of a book. The seller had made 261 sales to date. That seemed pretty outrageous to me.
Luckily, Etsy proclaims that they “take intellectual property concerns very seriously” and their Copyright and Intellectual Property Policy says that “Etsy may act expeditiously to respond to a proper notice by (1) removing or disabling access to material claimed to be subject of infringing activity; and (2) removing and discontinuing service to repeat offenders.” So great, all I need to do is show them this is a repeat offender, and they’re sure to take the seller down, right?
Apparently not so much.
You may have seen in that original tweet, Julie was nice enough to let Wendy Johnson know about a stolen book as well (and it looks like her book has since been removed from the seller’s shop, too), so I thought I’d pass along the favor. I noticed Andrea Jurgrau’s awesome book, New Vintage Lace in the seller’s shop, so I got in touch with Andrea. She contacted Etsy and asked them to take her book down. Both Andrea and I also asked Etsy to take down the seller’s page, as it’s clearly full of nothing but scanned books.
Etsy’s response to my request?
As a venue, Etsy can not make determinations about whether a member is violating the intellectual property rights of another. We respond to proper notice from intellectual property owners or their agents, so if you believe another’s work is being violated, you may wish to reach out to them.
Now that’s all well and good. I understand it is impractical for Etsy to check every item as it is uploaded. But their own policy says that they can discontinue service to repeat offenders. I know that both Andrea and I wrote to Etsy on Tuesday telling them about our stolen property and asking them to take it down (and Wendy’s book has been taken down, too). A cursory glance at the seller’s shop makes it clear everything on there is a blatant copyright violation. What more does it take for someone to be seen as a repeat offender?
This really isn’t what I expected from a company that proclaims that “creative entrepreneurs” are “the heart and soul of Etsy.”
So since Etsy won’t listen to me or to Andrea, I was wondering if they might listen to all of us. Any chance a few of you might be willing to tweet them or send them a message on facebook asking why they won’t protect creators’ intellectual property? I have a feeling if enough of us ask, they might have to answer.