A Warning About Teespring And Design Theft.

Many of us try to bring something to the world with our creativity and hard work. Unfortunately, there are also people who would try to steal your creations for financial gain.

I uploaded my first design for this account on 7th February 2018.
A few weeks later, my parents found that there was another upload using my design with some text beneath it. This wasn’t mine and clearly infringed my copyright, so I informed RedBubble and they dealt with it very swiftly (on the first working day). Thank you RedBubble!

This led me to search the name of my design on other product design websites. I was shocked when I searched on Teespring. There were 59 re-uploads of my design! I immediately started the process of reporting this to Teespring and emailed their legal team (legal@teespring.com) with all of the information required for a copyright claim (on the 22nd March 2018). I included all of the urls of the infringing uploads and thought that that would be the end of those.

After a week of having no reply from the legal team, I used their general contact submission to push them to action. This time someone replied and assured me (on the 30th March 2018) that the legal team would take down the infringing uploads and be in touch.

It is now 30th April 2018 and I have still had no correspondence at all from the Teespring legal team. The majority of the reported uploads are still active (47) and there are actually 55 new infringing uploads. This means that as of today (30th April 2018) there are 102 uploads/campaigns on Teespring that infringe my copyright.

It has been 5 weeks/38 days/24 working days since I first reported campaigns that infringe my copyright to Teespring and I have still not received any correspondence from their legal team. This is not how a reputable company would behave especially regarding legal matters.
It also seems that every time I check the infringing uploads on their website, they always seem to say ‘last day to order’ or ‘available until tomorrow’. This is misleading in itself and makes me further doubt the legitimacy of Teespring.
In addition to that, the sheer number of uploads of the exact same design makes me suspect that Teespring (or someone using it) may be crawling RedBubble and re-uploading to Teespring on a mass scale with software – 102 people wouldn’t upload the exact same thing.

As Teespring have seemingly done nothing in all this time, I am strongly considering my options in taking this matter further as they have likely made a significant amount of money from allowing (or taking part in) the theft of my design.

My advice to other artists:

  • Use watermarks on your designs – RB’s new tiled watermark is great
  • Disable right-click to download
  • Regularly search for the names of your designs on all of the product design websites that you can find!
  • Regularly use Google reverse image search
  • Regularly look through designs with the same tags as yours

Here are some sites that you can check:
https://www.redbubble.com
https://www.designbyhumans.com
https://www.threadless.com
https://teespring.com
https://www.spreadshirt.co.uk
https://www.cafepress.co.uk
https://www.zazzle.co.uk
https://society6.com
https://teechip.com
https://teefury.com
https://www.teepublic.com
https://viralstyle.com
https://www.etsy.com
https://www.aliexpress.com
https://www.deviantart.com
https://www.sunfrog.com

Hopefully, this doesn’t happen to you, but if you do find any uploads that infringe your copyright, I sincerely hope that you can get them taken down.

All the best,
https://ScienceGifts.org

UPDATE:
The day after I posted this article and shared it on social media, Teespring finally replied to my emails (which customer support said they didn’t receive).
They had finally taken down the campaigns that I had reported 40 days earlier. I immediately checked by searching again and there were already 3 more that day! I informed them of this and asked what they were doing to prevent these infringing uploads/campaigns from being continuously re-uploaded (or renewed). I told them “If you are not taking any action to prevent this, then there will just be many more copyright infringing uploads back up in future and your site will have no better reputation than it does now”. They did not answer with what they’re doing to prevent continuous re-uploads/renewals of infringing items.
Two months later, I searched on Teespring again with several variations of the search term and to my surprise, there was only 1 new infringing upload. However, this may be due to the fact that at this point, the design relates to something that happened 5 months ago.

Journal Comments

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