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Does a Disclaimer Protect You From Copyright or Trademark Issues?

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If you’ve never shared anything you’ve read on Cutting for Business, I urge you to share this article. I recently had a sweet reader write to me stating that she didn’t realize what the big deal with copyrights on Etsy were, as you could easily add a disclaimer at the end of your listing get around any copyright or trademark issues.

The popular disclaimer, seen in various listings across the internet reads something like this:

“This item is not a licensed product. I do not claim ownership of any character or image used in my designs. Copyrights and/or trademarks of any character and/or image used belong to their respective owners and are not being sold.”

Just as an FYI – this disclaimer does not protect you or your listing from a potential copyright infringement lawsuit or issues with the copyright or trademark owner. This disclaimer will not protect you from the trademark or copyright holder taking action against you. Why? Because you are still profiting from a design that you do not have the rights to.

If you are currently using this disclaimer in your Etsy shop, your website, or any other store or listings, I urge you to remove the item and don’t list it again. In most cases, you do not own the rights to any cartoon character, current song lyric, or any other company logo and cannot legally sell products with these designs.

For other articles on copyright and trademark infringements on Cutting for Business, click here.


Wednesday 16th of May 2018

They shouldnt be, and it is absolutely illegal, and Disney goes through periods of aggressively protecting their copyright... and while sometimes it seems extreme, it actually makes a lot of sense.

Many years ago as a Disney employee we wanted to make fun "Team Disney" type shirts for our days off, but were told we could not due to copyright, even though no one was making money, and ours would have been in the spirit of the Disney image... but if they allow the use of it, who's to say someone wouldnt make a Mikey decal with him peeing on Ford or whatever else (like those Calvin ones.) And having something like that out there could steal the "magic" of Disney from millions of people. So at least for Disney, its less about the money, and more about protecting the image.


Tuesday 22nd of May 2018

Yes, brand protection is a major issue to Disney.


Friday 16th of June 2017

I see people selling a lot of crafts with Disney characters and other copyrighted material.. How are they able to do so?


Sunday 18th of June 2017

Illegally. Read more in this post: