The Stolen Art Problem on Teespring #BoycottTeespring
Support Indie Artists & Designers!
Teespring are consistently selling stolen artwork on their site and this is not a new problem – just a growing one.
The Volume of Campaigns with Stolen Artwork
Designs are commonly found in multiple “campaigns” (as teespring calls them) and are generally listed under the exact same title the original artists gave their original work. Stealing is obviously hard work and it’s quicker & easier to copy a title while pulling preview files. It’s sickening.
Upload System Enables Theft
Whilst the upload system advises that “images should be least 120dpi at the scale of print and ideally design size should be 3000×3000 pixels”, the upload system allows a user to ignore that & therefore sell stolen designs. This test was 200 x 200px @ 72dpi and I had zero issue posting it for sale.
Thieves don’t even need to make an effort to remove background colors from preview files as Teespring help them with that too!
The “Report A Campaign” Forms
Filled with loads of fields that simply take up far too much time and none which help the legal owner of the artwork save time. And once the copyright owner has gone through the whole timely process, it’s highly likely the design will be back up for sale just days after closing the initial claim. “Report. Remove. Re-upload. Repeat.”
Something else to flag as a problem is the final statement they leave you with right before you submit the IP claim form – “Important Notice: This claim, including the personal contact information you provided, will be forwarded directly to the affected Teespring seller(s).” Do they really think sending your details to the thief is a good idea?
VALUABLE RESOURCE: SAMPLE DMCA LETTER – Courtesy of karmadesigner tees
As mentioned above, this is not a new problem and designers such as karmadesigner have been fighting the problem for a while. During that time, this killer legal letter has been developed and we’re lucky to be able to share it with those in need. If you’re dealing with repeat infringements don’t bother with the claim forms, use this letter and email email@example.com
The Customer Service
Teesprings robotic response is to proclaim how horrible it is and that they don’t endorse theft on their website. However, actions speak louder than shallow expressions of remorse. Teespring continues to do nothing real to fix the problem nor to demonstrate that they stand behind the concept of supporting indie artists.
SUGGESTED CHANGES OFFERED UP BY THE TEE COMMUNITY TO TEESPRING
When you point out to Teespring a potential problem with their website that either a) aids theft, or b) sucks the time out of an artists day, they like to thank you and make you feel the suggestion will not go unheeded. However, the reality is they’re just pacifying you.
Some suggestions for improvements have included:
- Flagging a design title after the original DMCA takedown notice has been processed. This would allow them to easily pull a design once it hits their site AGAIN.
- Updating their upload system so that it rejects files under the print resolution. Other print-on-demand sites won’t allow crappy files to make it to their online marketplace, which stops thieves before they can see a single dollar from your work.
- Add Image recognition software so that images previously removed have zero chance of being sold illegally over and over again.
- Add profile verification so that users can’t sell any designs until they verify who they are. Verification can involve either connecting a social media account (albeit, they too can be untrustworthy) or a more lengthy exercise of providing proof of ID.
- Updating the claims form so that copyright owners can deal with multiple listings on a single design, all at the one time. A simple “Does this design appear in any other campaign?” field would cue Teespring to find and remove the other breaches.
Will any of these ideas actually be implemented? The jury is still out.
A DISPLAY OF REBELLION AGAINST THE TEESPRING OWNERS
Some tweet and others email Teespring weekly (I’ve tweeted under @GritFX and am now blocked by @teespring).
Then you have this awesome tee, created today by Aussie @HBVB_Anthology – the theory is it’ll be taken down faster than stolen works!
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
Let us know in the comments what you think of this gross behavior.
If you’ve also been a victim of the theft on Teespring, let us know! (see below for how to get in touch)
#BoycottTeespring – tweet at them. Let’s get so noisy that it’s easier to make real change.
LET’S MAKE SOME NOISE. Maybe if we’re loud enough a lawyer might step up to help the community get Teespring shutdown.
11 FEB UPDATE! Sign the online petition on change.org
(started by @SchadenfreudeHA)
5 March UPDATE! Copyright Collaborative is looking into litigation and need others to join in. If you’ve had your work illegally sold on the teespring website and want to be involved, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
LIST OF ARTISTS/DESIGNERS AFFECTED BY THE THEFT
Disclaimer: We have chosen to REMOVE all of the artists that have been affected by #BoycottTeespring, and who have had their artwork STOLEN to be resold on sites such as Teespring.
It has come to our attention that THIS POST is being used by the very thieves who are ripping off the honest and hard-working artists to turn around and then RIP them off even further. So, rather than helping them with their legwork, we have compiled a list offline and will continue to add to it.
9 Feb Update: 79 artists have confirmed that their work is being sold illegally on Teespring! That list is still growing.
We suggest you do your due diligence and make sure your artwork isn’t being used on Teespring.
Show your support for hardworking, talented indie artists – #BoycottTeespring and follow the talent!
I also suspect the following have had work stolen and sold on Teespring, but have yet to confirm they actually are not selling on there… you never know, I guess some choose Teespring and don’t have the thieves choose for them.
GET IN TOUCH!
GET ADDED TO THE LIST OF AFFECTED DESIGNERS/ARTISTS.
If you have been a victim of the theft on teespring, let us know! Email Kelly: email@example.com and include a) your twitter or facebook link and b) your preferred store link.
SUPPORT INDIE DESIGNERS/ARTISTS and LEGALLY MAKE SOME $$$$$$$
Most of the print-on-demand t-shirt sites offer Affiliate programs. On average, you can earn 10% from each sale you refer. If you want to support indie and write for a bog, there’s loads of talent to showcase!