Etsy is a fantastic site where buyers can find practically anything, and sellers can create and sell virtually anything.
If you're a fan of all things Disney and you are wondering whether you can sell Disney memorabilia or create Disney look-alikes and make a couple of bucks from your store, we have the answers.
However, before diving into this venture, it's essential to understand the rules and regulations surrounding the sale of these items.
Read on to find out what you need to know about selling Disney stuff on Etsy to make your business successful.
What is Copyright Infringement?
Whether you're on Etsy or any other e-commerce site, you may be aware of the words copyright infringement.
Copyright /trademark infringement is basically when you use a copyrighted product/character or logo in your products without the permission of the company/person that owns it.
This becomes a term that sellers planning on selling Disney products and related items need to be aware of.
How Does Copyright Infringement Come into Play?
First and foremost, it's essential to understand that Disney is a trademarked brand, and the company takes its intellectual property very seriously.
This means you can't use any of Disney's intellectual property without its explicit permission. This includes Disney characters, logos, and other imagery associated with the brand.
Can You Still Sell Disney Stuff on Etsy?
The answer to this question has two parts. The first part is that if you purchase products from the company, you can resell them. This is legal under the first sale doctrine.
In most cases, however, you can't resell products on Etsy, like you can on other platforms like Amazon, which means you wouldn't be able to take advantage of this “loophole”.
The second part of the answer involves licensing.
If you want to sell Disney products on Etsy, you need to obtain a license from Disney.
The process of getting a license is pretty straightforward. Once you get to the Disney Licensing website, you will be redirected to the Disney intake form, which will take you to one of the licensees.
These are companies that, on behalf of Disney, give out licenses for Disney-trademarked property.
Can I Sell Original Disney-themed Stuff on Etsy?
New sellers on Etsy may wonder if there's a way to skirt copyright infringement. Unless you're in possession of a license(more on this later) from the licensing department of Disney, you're not allowed to sell any of their products.
If you have purchased original products, you may be eligible to sell them on Etsy under the first sale doctrine.
This may prove extremely expensive for sellers as you may be required to pay for the shipping on top of the cost of the product.
Can I Sell Disney-themed Handmade Items on Etsy?
This is explicitly illegal. While you may find thousands of stores on Etsy selling handmade Disney products, this isn't legal, unless they have a specific license.
There have been instances where Disney has gone after sellers and gotten their stores shut down completely by Etsy.
It's best to avoid using logos, photos, or characters in your shops' items and in the product description tags unless you like to tango with lawyers from Disney.
Can I Use Disney Images on Etsy?
You cannot sell any Disney photos, whether as art, decorative pieces for cakes, or invitations. Disney owns the rights to all images associated with its brand.
While you may choose to overlook the infringement laws, this will lead to problems with the law once your shop is on their radar.
Is Selling Disney items a Good(profitable) Idea
Whether or not selling Disney items is a good idea will depend on various factors. It's important to understand that any business requires research and preparation to succeed.
If you're confident in your ability to source genuine licensed merch from the company, then selling the items could be a viable option – make sure to familiarise yourself with the relevant laws and regulations regarding the sale of trademarked items in your country.
Additionally, it's also important that you take into account customer demand; if there isn't enough interest for what you want to sell, then your business may not be as profitable as you'd hoped.
How Can I Make my Etsy Shop Stand Out
In December 2022, there were over 50,000 searches of Disney on Etsy. This number may be negligible to some sellers and incredibly large to others.
However, one thing remains, Disney products are in demand and will continue to do so even in the future.
Whether you're a new seller or are farther along if you want to make your Etsy shop stand out, here are a few steps you can take.
- The first tip is to keep up with the latest trends and stock items people will be interested in buying. This goes without saying. Whether you're creating items that mimic the older versions of characters such as Winnie the Pooh or Minnie, it's important that you stay on trend.
- Develop a unique niche – another way to differentiate yourself from other sellers is to develop your unique niche. Although you're selling Disney products, you can differentiate yourself from others by specializing in a particular niche, such as vintage Disney products, or creating cute designs with crystals, stickers, and anything in between.
- Take high-quality photos – whether you're specializing in Disney products or any other typical high-quality photos are a must. Photos are the first thing that potential customers see. Make sure they are high-quality and showcase your products well. Consider using props or staging to add interest to your product images.
- Add a personal touch -Consider offering personalized items or customization options for your Disney products. This can make your products stand out and provide a unique selling point. However, don't overstretch yourself by trying to only offer customizations.
Will Disney go after Sellers Who Sell their items on Etsy?
The Walt Disney Company takes intellectual property rights incredibly seriously. As such, the company diligently goes after sellers who sell their products without permission(licenses).
If you're caught selling counterfeit or unlicensed items, you could be subject to fines and other penalties.
To ensure that your business remains legal and compliant with the applicable laws, always obtain a license before listing anything on any site.
Etsy Policies on IP Infringement
Etsy has a zero-tolerance policy when it takes to copyright claims and infringement.
If you're found to have copyrighted someone else's property and they have made a claim to Etsy, a big company, or otherwise, Etsy usually sends an email notifying you.
While with big companies such as Disney, you may find it hard to escape the bubble (unless you create your own “uninspired” designs. You should always be aware of the laws.
How Can I Sell Disney Stuff Legally on Etsy?
When selling Disney stuff on Etsy, it's important to ensure that you remain compliant with applicable laws and regulations. Here are a couple of tips,
- Make sure that the Walt Disney Company officially licenses your products.
- Familiarize yourself with the local laws regarding the sale of trademarked items in the relevant country.
- Read through Etsy terms of service for sellers before listing any Disney merchandise; this will help ensure everything is above board.
- Create Disney-inspired items.
Creating Disney-inspired items can look like ;
- Creating original artwork -If you're an artist, you can create your original artwork inspired by Disney characters and movies. This means that your artwork should not directly use copyrighted images but rather should be your interpretation of the characters or themes.
- Vintage or Rare Items: If you have a collection of vintage or rare Disney items, such as old VHS tapes, posters, or merchandise from the 1950s or earlier, you can sell them on Etsy as long as they are genuine items that you own and not replicas plus they need to be older than 20 years to be considered vintage.
How Do You Get a License to Sell Disney products and characters?
If you're planning on selling Disney products or characters, you must obtain an official license from the Walt Disney Company.
This means that your product must be expressly authorized by the company to be sold legally; without this authorization, you may face hefty fines and other legal consequences.
You can use several options to get a license for Disney-related merchandise and characters.
A )You can contact the licensing department directly
B) Or use one of their third-party vendors specializing in obtaining licenses quickly. This is a costly endeavor. Some folks online have reported spending up to 10k annually on a license for one product.
Once you've got the necessary permissions, keep all documents related to the license on file, so it's easy to prove your compliance.
What is Public Domain?
Public domain refers to works that are no longer protected by copyright and can be freely used, copied, and distributed by anyone without permission. Regarding Disney products, items in the public domain can be sold on Etsy without infringing on Disney's intellectual property rights.
However, it's important to note that most Disney works are still protected by copyright. Examples of Disney public domain works include iterations of Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, and Owl. These are some examples of their works in the Public Domain.
When selling Disney items on Etsy, you must understand copyright and trademark laws to avoid infringing on Disney's intellectual rights.
Whether you sell public domain works or inspired works, you must follow the legal guidelines and provide high-quality products that will showcase your love for Disney while still adhering to legal requirements.