Written by Christine, VP of Trust & Safety at Teespring
Teespring’s mission is to empower anyone, anywhere to create and sell quality products without cost or risk. We are proud of our community’s ability to create original and creative content. In the past several weeks, however, we have seen a surge of sellers who appear to have come to Teespring to copy, rip off, and sell other people’s content. This behavior will not be tolerated on Teespring and as such, we intend to take the harshest of actions against sellers displaying this behavior.
We are committed to protecting your unique and original content and preventing problematic sellers from accessing the site. We are currently implementing new updates to Teespring’s Intellectual Property Policy and Protocol—since the start of 2018 we have already disabled thousands of seller accounts. We plan to execute several more initiatives in the coming weeks that will offer additional protection for creative and original content on Teespring.
1. Additional seller support for intellectual property
As we ramp up content control, we’re also strengthening our support team. We have trained new agents to provide fast and efficient IP assistance to our seller community. Moving forward, any questions regarding listing or account disablement should go to firstname.lastname@example.org. This includes:
- Inquiring as to why a listing was delisted
- Inquiring as to why an account was disabled
- Requesting an account/listing to be reinstated
When submitting copycat listings add “COPYCAT REPORT” to the email subject. Also, when contacting seller support, please include your Teespring account email and the listing URL (if you’re contacting us about a delisted listing). Please note we aim to review and answer all emails to email@example.com within 24 – 48 business hours (please see auto-reply for exact SLA during holiday/peak periods). Sending multiple emails regarding the same issue can prolong receiving a resolution. When your email is successfully sent you will receive an auto-reply containing your case number.
2. Harsher punishments & policy updates
In the past, our team has offered sellers three “chances” or “strikes” for various design violations. Last month, we began implementing a “one strike and you’re out” policy for certain egregious violations. If a seller appears, in our sole discretion, to have deliberately violated our Terms of Service, Acceptable Use Policy, or any other Teespring policy, their account may immediately be disabled.
One strike types of violations include keyword gaming, copying verified donation listings, uploading content that clearly violates our policies, etc. Any disabled accounts will immediately lose access to pending funds or payouts within their Teespring account. Learn more about our Terms of Service here.
The only way to access pending funds is to successfully get your Teespring account reinstated through seller support (see “Additional seller support for intellectual property” section above). It is very unlikely a disabled account will be reinstated—disabled accounts must provide extensive proof that they did not commit the design violation in question. Our decision on a request for reinstatement will be final and unappealable.
3. Seller Trust Scores
Over the last few weeks, we have been developing a system for internally ranking seller accounts. Sellers with an established sales history of using Teespring and who have few to no design violations will have the highest trust scores. Having a high score can increase your daily launch limit and get you faster payouts. It also prioritizes your content for the Boosted Network and determines where your content can be listed (only the highest scores get access to Amazon for example).
Teespring’s community is full of creative people who create original, unique content—this new system will help us ensure your content is featured first.
Please note that seller trust scores are currently not visible within seller accounts and we cannot provide your score to you (similar to your payout speed group), but sellers who abide by Teespring’s policies should have nothing to worry about. If one of your listings was delisted in error (for example our team delisted one of your original listings), please report it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will ensure the error does not impact your trust score.
4. Simplified design reporting process
This year we aim to eradicate copies of original seller designs (so-called “copycats”) from Teespring. The first step is to simplify our reporting process for sellers. Starting immediately, sellers can email Teespring Seller Support at email@example.com using the following format to quickly report copies of their original designs. You can report copycats on Teespring and the Boosted Network too.
- Teespring login email
- URLs to original listings/stores
- URLs to copycat listings/stores (listed on Teespring and/or Boosted Network)
Please note that designs with the same idea or concept are allowed to be sold on Teespring. However, an original design itself cannot be copied without the owner’s permission. Clear copying of other seller’s content (example pixel for pixel copies) can result in immediate disablement of your Teespring account and/or termination of access to the Boosted Network (see “Seller Trust Score” above).
All submissions will be reviewed within approximately 24 – 48 business hours. Once we have reviewed your case, you will be notified of the outcome—including whether the reported content (and corresponding sellers) have already been delisted or an estimated timeframe in which all reported content (and corresponding sellers) will be delisted.
IP Claim Form Reminder
Please keep in mind the IP Claim Form will remain available for individuals who would like to report infringement on their legally registered artwork. Only use this form if you have a copyright or trademark registration number or if you are making a claim regarding a design of yours that you do not sell on Teespring.
If you have more questions regarding these changes, please visit our Seller FAQ site.