Disney Sues Etsy Seller: How to Avoid Legal Trouble

By Biddrup Mallick Written by Biddrup Mallick I am a freelance writer with over 450 completed projects. I have written to more than 200 satisfied clients since 2011, completing more than 10 projects for each of these clients that added up to over 1 million words. My success stems from my ability to create logical arguments and meeting deadlines while staying true to the company’s voice and brand identity. In 2013, I won an award from Elance for being the top-rated provider in my category!
Updated on April 3, 2022

Disney has an almost sentimental value for all trademark characters it owns. As an Etsy seller, it’s smart t avoid using Disney copyrighted material without proper permission to avoid getting sued. 

Disney has gone after several Etsy users in the past, successfully taking down thousands of listed items. Etsy sellers run the risk of being sued if they refuse to take down copyrighted material used without permission. 

It’s quite difficult for some sellers to go around Disney’s recent crackdown on unauthorized use of copyrighted material. Take cues from this post to keep your store open and avoid a legal tussle you may not win. 

Disney Sues Etsy Seller- How to Avoid Legal Trouble TipsForEfficiency

Does Disney Go After Etsy Sellers?

Yes, Disney goes after Etsy sellers found to have violated its copyright. 

Disney has issued several takedown notices to Etsy sellers in the past. Many sellers on Etsy use copyrighted material owned by Disney (Baby Yoda, Mickey Mouse, etc.) to create various handmade goods.

These copyright infringements have threatened some of Disney’s businesses, especially in the homemade merchandise section. Many Etsy sellers have to take down any merchandise found to use Disney’s intellectual property without authorization. 

Does Disney Shut Down Etsy Shops?

Disney can file complaints to Etsy to request action against any user that disobeys their takedown notice. Etsy will shut down any store that doesn’t take down such content or file a counterclaim. 

Any store that doesn’t file a counterclaim may be removed on a temporary or permanent basis. 

Does Disney Sue for Copyright Infringement?

Disney sues anyone found to infringe on their copyright. For example, Disney initiated a lawsuit against a retailer and won after citing great harm and unfair competition. 

Retailers should avoid using Disney’s content without prior permission to avoid infringing on their copyrighted material.

Is it Legal to Sell Disney on Etsy?

You cannot legally sell any Disney-themed items on Etsy without permission. Disney has an extensive network of staff designated to monitor copyright infringements of intellectual property they own. 

Selling Disney items illegally on Etsy may cause your store to be closed down. In other cases, Disney might request you return all monies made from selling items influenced by their copyright material.

How Do Etsy Sellers Not Get Sued? TipsForEfficiency

How Do Etsy Sellers Not Get Sued?

Etsy sellers can avoid getting sued by simply not using artwork they do not own. Copyright law protects the ownership of creative work, but doesn’t support illegal use of such material. 

Do not use any piece of art you can find on the internet. Mass reproduction of such content may result in a lawsuit. 

Secondly, Etsy sellers can avoid getting sued by requesting and getting permission of copyright owners before using their content.   

Thirdly, sellers on Etsy can evade a lawsuit by not trying to adopt fair use for copyrighted material. There’s no clear-cut definition of fair use of copyrighted material, putting such sellers at a high risk of being sued. 

How Do You Get Rights to Disney Characters?

Disney can waive their intellectual property rights for businesses that request permission to use their copyrighted material. 

After your permission is approved, you’ll receive a mail or email with Disney’s response. Businesses can also request long-term permission to use Disney’s characters.

Disney reserves the right to approve or deny requests to use its characters without any explanation.   

How Many Copyright Strikes Can You Get on Etsy?

Three copyright strikes on Etsy and a user’s account will be removed permanently. Etsy gives a strike each for illegal use of copyrighted pictures or characters. 

Seeking copyright permission from intellectual property owners is a smart way to avoid getting a strike.  

Can I Use Disney Images for Personal Use?

People can use the name or image of a Disney character without needing a license as long as it’s a “fair use”. The term fair use refers to using images or other copyrighted material in a limited way to promote free expression. 

Fair use of such material include for parodies, criticism, instruction, or for transformative purposes. As long as your use of such material isn’t excessive and not-for-profit, you can use Disney images without worry. 

Can I Be Sued on Etsy?

Yes, disputes from Etsy can end up in a court of law. Someone can sue you if they believe your product listings infringed on their copyrighted material.

Alleged copyright violations involving your store will require a competitor to file a report. If you’ve not violated anyone’s copyright, you’re allowed to file a counterclaim. 

Etsy’s dispute resolution system is quite sketchy, and you might not get the redress you seek. You and the competitor are at liberty to approach a court qualified to hear both your cases. 

Can Etsy Take You to Court?

Etsy doesn’t take its users to court if they have been found to violate the platform’s House Rules. However, Etsy can remove accounts of erring members for repeated infringements.