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Have you found stolen designs for sale on campaign/POD sites?

  • I have found MY stolen designs for sale on these sites.

    Votes: 6 37.5%
  • I suspect many of the designs for sale on such sites may have been stolen.

    Votes: 9 56.3%
  • I believe design theft is rare and this is not an issue.

    Votes: 1 6.3%
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

· Registered
285 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not stating the obvious, but my profile on various forums and social sites, interests and searches have made me an advertising target for companies like Teespring. My suspicion based on observation leads me to believe that for every one original design, there is about 100 either copied or outright stolen. I sometimes find the similar/copied designs and post links in the comments with the hope that potential buyers realize that what are thinking about purchasing, is actually stolen from someone else.

I'm curious to how this may have affected you? Have you had designs stolen and found them being sold on sites like Teespring? If so, how did you find out? What did you do to rectify the situation?

· Registered
167 Posts
As difficult as it may be, designers should monitor their artwork to as it can easily be replicated and be sold on 3rd party sites.

Many of the individuals and companies who promote Teespring with the get rich quick schemes encourage people to find popular designs on other websites and copy them to sell them on Teespring. The company itself may be part of the problem, some teespring users have access to teespring staff designers users told me they just need to show them a design they want created and they will replicate it...how close the design is replicated is not known. The most successful teespring users aren't designers but marketers who are able to recognize marketable designs.

This issue is not limited to the Teespring platform. Spreadshirt frequently has people copy designs and even take mockup files and then post them for sale on Etsy and Amazon. Unfortunately, Spreadshirt does not actively take action to protect its users and leaves it up to the designer to send cease and desists to those platforms. They have been working on updating their terms of service and watermarks but they do need to find a solution quicker.

· Registered
285 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Even though I'm not trying to single out Teespring, they are the source I see the most. And, yes I do agree with you that the primary offenders are the "marketers," not the designers. By definition, the designer wants to promote their own designs. Marketers are only interested in sales, honest or not.

· Registered
549 Posts
Teespring should be boycotted. Period.

We had several problems with them using our stolen
designs and their "Legal" department is the laughing stock
of the industry.

The entire customer service department is inept and
has no power to stop anything on their website.

Teespring pretends that they have no responsibility
for what others load to their website but they are
seriously mistaken and can be held liable. They are
profiting from your work and are held to the same
standard as other businesses.

My opinion?

Go to social media and
use it against them. #BoycottTeespring

Let the public know that they are stealing from hard working
small business people and artists.

If you can document that they are selling your designs
and have a good paper trail then contact the Secretary
of State and make a complaint against the business.

Make an IC3 complaint online if they keep selling your work online.

Contact the US Postal Inspector and make a complaint
if they ship your stolen designs.

Create a file that can be emailed showing their illegal
activity and send it to the local DA in their city and
file a complaint.

Teespring is profiting from stolen artwork. PERIOD.


· Registered
197 Posts
Designs are a dime a dozen. The design is the least important aspect of a selling t-shirt. The art is in the selling.

I sell 50+ shirts every day on Teespring, generating about $1K in revenue for myself. All my own designs.

Teespring is great. I don't have to worry about anything but designing and selling. They handle the printing, shipping and ecommerce.


I've had plenty of my designs ripped off and sold elsewhere. And it's not like the people just add a design to a site and hoards of people come running with their credit cards bursting out of their wallets. The design still has to be sold. That's the hard part.

· Registered
4,692 Posts
No. I actually sell. A lot. The design is the least important aspect of a shirt that sells.

Do you sell shirts or just designs?
Most of my designs would work as well as a comic in a paper or magazine. It is the idea and the execution of that idea that sells. People buy shirts with designs that speak to them or connect to what they care about in some way.

All that said, the idea behind a design cannot be legally protected, only the actual art itself can be. So anyone can copy your idea and execute it in their own way with their own art. The exception being sayings/images that are already protected as part of a published and copyrighted work, such as a novel or movie.

^ That is why us small time operations should target our market, and not spew our ideas all over the interwebs at random, or use any of the selling venues that are already full of copiers, like ebay. It is also why you don't see a link to my site on this site ... not that I don't trust you guys ;), but if I were surfing for fresh ideas to steal, I would be looking at the sig links and site review requests on here.

· Registered
1,019 Posts
You've got to wake up an smell the tea, or coffee... As whats been stated you put it out there ? Thos is what happens in many shapes and forms... How many people work from scratch ? Lets say you need a fancy cross (or what have you), where do you start for ideas ? Somewhere along the lines of whats been done already, no ? Nothing is totally unique..

· Registered
1 Posts
There is a Chang.org petition against Teespring, as well as a boycott movement started at IndieMinded against Teespring, Sunfront and TeeChip.

Take a second and SIGN THE PETITION. It literally takes like 3 seconds. At very least it may result in some additional attention to this issue, bad press for teespring, and keeping the momentum going for others who are devoting time to this issue for the rest of us.



The Sale of Stolen Tee Art: The Worst Offenders! - Indie Minded

Ohio State sued Teespring and won (Ohio State has sued other similiar t-shirt companies and won also). The history of teespring and it's massive infringement problem is nothing new like they imply in recent messages of how they are addressing the massive recent influx, it's been an issue that has been covered for years.

Teespring was raising venture capitalist money last year but the company started to fall apart and did big layoffs and restructure and they are still struggling. Continued bad press like the petition and boycott, no matter how small, could hurt their ability to raise more money from investors given they've already lost a federal lawsuit to infringement.

So - taking a second to sign petition, share bad press, etc. really can make a difference and probably a lot more of a difference than submitting fruitless IP forms only for infringers to throw up another listing.

Not to say you shouldn't report infringements, but just reflecting how many feel about them, that is to say hopeless, when new listings immediately pop up after we've managed to get some taken down.
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