Why Etsy is Facing DMCA Copyright Legal Issues

Why Etsy is Facing DMCA Copyright Legal Issues

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Copyright Small Claims Court
  3. Understanding Copyright
  4. The Role of Small Claims Court
  5. Unique Use of Copyright Claims Board
  6. The Basics of Notification or Takedown
  7. Filing a Counter Notification
  8. The Case of the Etsy Seller
  9. Copyrighting Designs
  10. Damages and Allegations
  11. Jurisdiction in Copyright Cases
  12. Conclusion


Welcome back to another exciting video by attorney Steve Vondren. In this video, we will be discussing copyright small claims. As a creator, it is important to understand your rights and the legal protection provided to your creative works. With the introduction of the new small claims court, it is crucial to be aware of the potential claims and challenges that may arise. In this article, we will delve into the world of copyright small claims and explore a unique case involving an Etsy seller. So, let's dive in and learn more about the intricacies of copyright law in the context of small claims court.

Copyright Small Claims Court

Before we delve into the details, let's define what exactly copyright small claims court is. It is a specialized court that has been established to handle copyright disputes in a more streamlined and efficient manner. This court is specifically designed to cater to small-scale copyright claims, with a monetary limit of up to thirty thousand dollars. It offers a simplified process for resolving copyright infringement disputes, making it more accessible to creators and artists who may not have the resources or time to pursue a full-fledged lawsuit.

Understanding Copyright

To fully grasp the concept of copyright small claims court, it is essential to have a clear understanding of copyright itself. Copyright is a legal protection granted to creators of original works of authorship, such as photographs, videos, artwork, and designs. It gives the creator exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, display, and perform their work. Copyright protection is automatically granted to any creative work that is fixed in a tangible form of expression. This means that as soon as you create something, you hold the copyright to it.

The Role of Small Claims Court

Now that we have a basic understanding of copyright, let's explore the role of small claims court in copyright disputes. Small claims court provides a faster and more cost-effective alternative to traditional litigation for copyright claims. This allows creators to seek damages and resolution for copyright infringement without the need for expensive legal representation. In small claims court, attorneys are optional, making it a more accessible and user-friendly process for claimants.

Unique Use of Copyright Claims Board

One unique aspect of copyright small claims court is the utilization of the copyright claims board. The copyright claims board is a specialized entity within the court system that specifically deals with copyright claims. Composed of board members, it is responsible for hearing and adjudicating copyright disputes. The proceedings take place electronically, eliminating the need for claimants to physically appear in court. This makes it a convenient and efficient solution for creators seeking resolution for copyright infringements.

The Basics of Notification or Takedown

When a creator discovers someone using their copyrighted work without permission, they can send a notification or takedown letter to the relevant online service provider, such as Etsy. This letter informs the platform about the infringement and requests the removal of the infringing content. In most cases, online service providers promptly comply with these takedown requests to avoid legal repercussions. However, if the alleged infringer contests the claim, a counter notification can be filed.

Filing a Counter Notification

A counter notification is a response filed by the alleged infringer to contest the takedown notice. It asserts that the removal or disablement of the material was a mistake or a result of misidentification. Upon receiving a counter notification, the online service provider is legally obligated to reinstate the content unless a lawsuit is filed within ten days. This process allows alleged infringers to defend their actions and claim a good faith belief in their non-infringing use of the copyrighted material.

The Case of the Etsy Seller

To provide a practical example, let's examine a unique case involving an Etsy seller. In this case, the copyright claimant is the owner of a copyright for a distinctive item that they sell on Etsy. They discovered another seller using their copyrighted design without proper authorization. The claimant initially sent a takedown notice to Etsy, which led to the removal of the infringing content. However, the other party responded by filing a counter notification, claiming innocence and challenging the allegation of infringement.

Copyrighting Designs

It's important to note that copyright protection extends beyond photographs and images. Designs can also be copyrighted, as illustrated in this case. The claimant holds the copyright for a unique design and is the sole authorized seller of the item in any format. Their claim is based on the premise that the other party's listing on Etsy clearly infringed upon their copyrighted design. This demonstrates the diverse range of creative works that are eligible for copyright protection.

Damages and Allegations

In copyright small claims court, claimants are required to allege the damages suffered due to the infringement. In this case, the claimant asserts that the reactivation of the infringing listing on Etsy, following the counter notification, resulted in financial losses. Furthermore, they argue that the continued sale of the infringing item causes confusion among the public and undermines the exclusivity of their copyrighted design. These allegations form the basis of their claim for damages.

Jurisdiction in Copyright Cases

One aspect to consider in copyright cases is the question of jurisdiction. When filing a counter notification, the alleged infringer consents to the jurisdiction where they are located. This means that if a copyright dispute goes to court, it will typically be filed in the jurisdiction specified in the counter notification. However, in some cases, such as the one discussed here, there may be discrepancies between the jurisdiction specified in the counter notification and the location where the case is ultimately filed.


In conclusion, copyright small claims court provides a valuable avenue for creators to protect their rights and seek resolution for copyright infringement. It offers a more accessible and simplified process compared to traditional litigation. The unique case involving an Etsy seller illustrates the diverse range of creative works that can be copyrighted and the challenges faced in enforcing these rights. As a creator, it is essential to be aware of your rights and the options available to you in pursuing copyright claims. If you find yourself in a copyright dispute, consider leveraging the resources provided by copyright small claims court to protect your creative works.

I am a ETSY merchant, I am opening several ETSY stores. I use Etsyshop to find ETSY stores and track competitor stores. Etsyshop really helped me a lot, I also subscribe to Etsyshop's service, I hope more people can like Etsyshop! — Ecomvy

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