Tuesday, July 17, 2012

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Tops

Top 9 Legal Issues for Etsy Sellers - Part 1
In collaboration with Elspeth Crawford of AttorneyFee

This week, we're not only giving you the beginning of a prevalent trend in business today, but plenty of detail to help get the point across.  

Etsy, the largest e-commerce host to homemade and vintage goods, allows individuals to sell their products from a single portal. The perks to having an Etsy store instead of just a website for a business are many; the notoriety, popularity, and search capabilities of Etsy arguably make items easier to find than scouring the world wide web. Additionally, the sellers on Etsy are essentially small business owners, and can control the size of their business, or hobby, accordingly. 

As many Etsy sellers do maintain their Etsy stores as their primary career, the time and effort they devote to their store operates as the means of income for their families. Coryn Enfinger, owner of the Etsy store ‘Dark Cycle Clothing’, says that Etsy sales have grown to contribute 75% of their household income.

“My husband and I owned a screen printing shop prior to opening our Etsy shop, and we were doing our own designs as a side project. I envisioned selling a maximum of a few shirts a week on Etsy. Our transition into selling full time was very surreal; it went from selling an item every few days or weeks to selling 20+ items a day, quite literally overnight.” Almost three years later, Dark Cycle Clothing is one of the top sellers on Etsy.

Etsy is a perfect gateway for craftspeople and suppliers to run their own show, only requiring a computer and internet as overhead business costs. However, maintaining e-commerce businesses come with many legal threats and issues for the owners. The freedom of the internet intrigues many sellers to a seemingly barrier-free realm to sell their products, and often they overlook properly protecting their brand and taking other important legal moves in operating their business.

To give you the start of our Tops, here's a few of the concerns facing Etsy sellers:

1. Copyright infringement
      a. content sharing + virality of social media
      b. photos used commercially by other on Etsy and otherwise

2. Trademark infringement
      a.  branding

3. Cease and desist letters

4. Payment issues

5. Shipping and Delivery issues

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week!

In the meantime, glance over at AttorneyFee for more great articles.

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