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How to File a DMCA on Etsy

Recently I posted about my recent dealings with Etsy's Legal Team after I found a shop using my photos.

One of the main things I learned about it is that when you are upset it's very difficult to actually work out what you need to do to file a "DMCA Takedown Notice". I could barely read basic English let alone legal language, and so when I filed my first DMCA Takedown I got a polite email from Etsy telling me that I hadn't filled it in right and needed to reformat it and send it in again.

Once I had calmed down I went back to the link they provided me and did the whole thing step by step. There are 6 things you need to include in a Takedown and Etsy themselves told me it was best to use each point as  "header" and post my information under each one, so that's exactly what I did.

To help others that might have the same issues I thought I would post a guide to filling out everything for Etsy. Hopefully if you're upset and not sure what to do then this will help you get through the legalese and file things promptly and with enough information for Etsy to deal with it quickly.

First of all a few points;
1. You can only fill in the DMCA Takedown Notice if YOU are the owner of the photos OR if you have been formally appointed by the owner (i.e. you're a lawyer working on behalf of "XYZ Plc"). You cannot just go through Etsy and file DMCAs on behalf of Disney or another company, even if the shop is breaking copyright law.
2. Don't use the email to swear or rant at Etsy's Legal Team. You're upset and that's normal, but no one wants to help someone who is being abusive and it's not fair on the staff member who gets your email.
3. Don't rush to the Etsy forums to name and shame the shop. It won't affect your dealings with the Legal team but will get you in trouble with the Forum staff and the last thing you want is to get a formal warning from the Admins.

So with those things in mind, let's take a look at Etsy's Copyright and Intellectual Property Policy. Point A on this website includes a numbered list for reporting violations. This is the "form" that Etsy requires you to fill in. Etsy told me to use each point as a header and put my information in underneath, probably because it makes it easier for them to read and see the issues.

A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright or intellectual property right that has been allegedly infringed upon (by fax or regular mail – not by email, except by prior agreement);

First of all if you are residing abroad email the Etsy Legal Team, explain that you are overseas and don't want to wait weeks while your signature travels by airmail, and would like to request permission to use an electronic signature. An electronic signature is basically your full legal name typed out. If you have 12 middle names, then it will be a long electronic signature. Once you get permission for this then you can fill out the rest of this form.

Identification in sufficient detail of the material being infringed upon (for an allegation of a patent infringement, please provide a patent number);

This means they want to see YOUR photos, preferably in the form of your shop listing links. If you have found multiple violations in one shop then make a numbered list for your items. I actually started it off with "These photos were taken from my shop - "URL"" and put in my shop link. Then because multiple photos had been taken and grouped together I listed each link under a "Photo Group #" sub-heading that corresponded to the listing I linked in the next section.

For example;

Photo Group 1
URL #1
URL #2
URL #3
URL #4

Photo Group 2
URL #1
URL #1
URL #1
URL #1

And so on and so forth. If your items haven't been grouped into multiple photos then just list them as "Photo #1 - URL" "Photo #2 - URL" etc etc.

Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing upon the intellectual property. Include information regarding the location of the infringing material with sufficient detail so that Etsy is capable of finding and verifying its existence (for listings, please provide item numbers);

This means they want to see where in the other shop your photos are being used. Again I included a link to the shop in general, and then put a list of the listings that used my stolen photos, in the order of the group I put in the above section.

For example;

Photo Group 1 - Other Shop Listing URL
Photo Group 2 - Other Shop Listing URL

Because multiple photos of mine had been taken and grouped together my photos list was a lot longer than the offending shop's one. If you've had 10 photos taken then when you've filled out this section just double check that you have got 10 unique listings URLs in this section and make sure you haven't copied anything twice, otherwise you may find you have to file a second notice for anything you accidentally missed.

Contact information about the notifier including the name of the intellectual property owner, the name and title of the person contacting Etsy on the owner's behalf, the address, telephone number and, if available, e-mail address;

Once you get to this part you are on the home stretch! Because I was the owner and contacting Etsy I started this part by saying that I was the intellectual property owner and was representing myself. I then filled out my full legal name (again, just in case), my address (including country as I'm in the UK) and my phone number and in my case 2 emails as I was contacted Etsy via my personal account, but my shop is registered under another one (I have 3 shops and Etsy requires them to be registered under different emails).

A statement that the notifier has a good faith belief that the material is not authorized by the intellectual property or copyright owner, its agent, or the law; and

Here I stated again that I was the owner of the photographs and that I knew for certain that I had not given any permission or authorisation for them to be used by the other seller, or any seller at all.

A statement made under penalty of perjury that the information provided is accurate and the notifying party is authorized to make the complaint on behalf of the intellectual property or copyright owner.

Finally here I stated (I actually used the phrase "I swear on penality of perjury") that everything I had put in this email was true and accurate and I confirmed again that I was the owner of the photographs and that I was representing myself.

It looks scary and complicated but I promise you it isn't. It requires you to be thorough, and it means you have to go through the offending shop with a fine toothcomb to make sure you haven't missed anything. If you have multiple shops using your photos then file separate forms for each shop, it makes it easy for Etsy to check and deal with.

Overall I hope this proves to be useful to someone. Etsy's Legal Team were polite and helpful when they contacted me, and they were very prompt at dealing with the problem.

Have a nice day everyone!


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