Overzealous Content Management Team
Posted: Tuesday, February 04, 2020 10:10:34 AM
I have recently had orders cancelled by the Content Management Team that were the exact same designs that I ordered a few months ago. My drawing was hand drawn by me and not copyright infringement, but was flagged as a parody that they said they agreed not to produce.

To be clear, they were not saying that there was a legal problem as parodies are protected free speech, and Zazzle is full of parodies. But for some reason they were approached by some copyright holders and asked to not produce specific parodies while others were ok...for now.

This is terrible news for Zazzle for a number of reasons:

- It hurts free speech and only a matter of time before Disney and other big organizations ask Zazzle to remove all their parody content

- The Content Management Team cannot be talked to by phone to discuss the issue. They can only be contacted by e-mail which can take days and generally just results in a form letter. They very rarely answered any questions I asked.

- They never say what specifically was infringing in the design, how it could be remedied, etc. The entire design is just thrown out and you are left to guess how to fix it.

I don't see how a company can be run this way, where one parody is ok and another is not. The design is approved one day, then the next day it is not. No info about what is wrong and why.

So I have taken my design to another producer without problems, it is just a shame that when a company like Zazzle gets big enough, they bend to the will of big corporations...I guess until we all wise up and move our business elsewhere and Zazzle is forced to change or close.
Posted: Tuesday, February 04, 2020 10:49:34 AM
adam gottlob wrote:
I have recently had orders cancelled by the Content Management Team that were the exact same designs that I ordered a few months ago. My drawing was hand drawn by me and not copyright infringement, but was flagged as a parody that they said they agreed not to produce.

To be clear, they were not saying that there was a legal problem as parodies are protected free speech, and Zazzle is full of parodies. But for some reason they were approached by some copyright holders and asked to not produce specific parodies while others were ok...for now.

This is terrible news for Zazzle for a number of reasons:

- It hurts free speech and only a matter of time before Disney and other big organizations ask Zazzle to remove all their parody content

- The Content Management Team cannot be talked to by phone to discuss the issue. They can only be contacted by e-mail which can take days and generally just results in a form letter. They very rarely answered any questions I asked.

- They never say what specifically was infringing in the design, how it could be remedied, etc. The entire design is just thrown out and you are left to guess how to fix it.

I don't see how a company can be run this way, where one parody is ok and another is not. The design is approved one day, then the next day it is not. No info about what is wrong and why.

So I have taken my design to another producer without problems, it is just a shame that when a company like Zazzle gets big enough, they bend to the will of big corporations...I guess until we all wise up and move our business elsewhere and Zazzle is forced to change or close.


So...

Zazzle tightened up on IP infringement, including parody themes. Sounds good to me.

You do realize it isn't for THEM, but to protect YOU, correct? Because the IP infringements can carry up to $10K PER infringement, per sale, per instance shown on the internet.

I hope you get good sales other places. I hope that you don't get popped by a lawsuit.

Personally, I don't see an issue with this. Parody slides too close to IP infringement, there are no set rules, it's subjective by the reviewer looking at the content.
Posted: Tuesday, February 04, 2020 10:54:04 AM
Hi Adam,

I'm sorry to hear about this. When possible, mind providing me with the order ID numbers of the original order that was allowed and the number for the one that got cancelled recently as well, please?

With those, I should be able to look into it and see if there is anything I can do on my end.

I apologize for the trouble. Hopefully I can be of assistance with this.

Thanks in advance.
Posted: Tuesday, February 04, 2020 11:48:18 AM
Quote:
You do realize it isn't for THEM, but to protect YOU, correct? Because the IP infringements can carry up to $10K PER infringement, per sale, per instance shown on the internet.


That is fine. I created the art and I take responsibility for it. If I want to use a Xerox machine, that is my action and my risk. I don't think it's appropriate for a company I am asking to provide a service to vet the product for copyright. Should UPS open the box too and see if the item being sent is a parody?

In any event, the bigger issue is how they are dealing with it. Assuming it was a copyright violation, they should still identify the issue and remedy. Let the content creator know what the problem is and how to fix it.

Zazzle takes easy way out...inconsistent rules and poor communication.
Posted: Tuesday, February 04, 2020 12:37:22 PM
The only issue I've ever taken with how Zazzle handles possible infringements is that they delete the product rather than putting it in some kind of limbo so we can correct the problem. Other than that, they can very likely be held liable for the designs we create and they sell, so I don't blame them for their caution.
Posted: Tuesday, February 04, 2020 1:02:53 PM
Quote:
I don't blame them for their caution.


Do not confuse caution with poor management. They can have caution and still deal with issues in a reasonable way.
Posted: Tuesday, February 04, 2020 1:48:22 PM
adam gottlob wrote:
Quote:
I don't blame them for their caution.


Do not confuse caution with poor management. They can have caution and still deal with issues in a reasonable way.

Isn't that what I said?
Posted: Tuesday, February 04, 2020 3:40:45 PM
Quote:
Isn't that what I said?


We are in heated agreement Grin
Posted: Tuesday, February 04, 2020 4:14:07 PM
Laughing
Posted: Tuesday, February 04, 2020 5:27:13 PM
How about this one? Created 2 Christmas themed Zippos a year ago in December. Both approved. At the time I created them I put a date on them but didn't set it as a template item. So this year I decided to redo them with the date as a template and resubmitted them for approval. BOTH didn't pass because of the "might be appealing to a child" * (one a wreath with a bow and the other a bell with a ribbon). Now get this though. When I complained that these had already been approved and had been for sale in my store for a year, these new ones just had a template added for the date, they deleted the ones that I'd already had approved too!!! Trying to design Zippo lighters is incredibly frustrating. But this one really took the cake.........
Posted: Tuesday, February 04, 2020 5:32:46 PM
I've had strange approvals and disapprovals of Zippos, but what happened to you far surpasses them.
Posted: Wednesday, February 05, 2020 1:37:01 AM
Quote:
When I complained that these had already been approved and had been for sale in my store for a year, these new ones just had a template added for the date, they deleted the ones that I'd already had approved too!!!


Wow, that'll teach you to ask questions Smile

Quote:
Trying to design Zippo lighters is incredibly frustrating.


Trying to design anything is incredibly frustrating. Zazzle really should be in the business of producing products people ask them to produce, not vetting the products except in the case of gross violations.

I'm not sure I could think of a single company who would look at a lighter design that way, like they're almost trying to find a reason to not make it.
Posted: Wednesday, February 05, 2020 2:50:06 AM
adam gottlob wrote:
Quote:
When I complained that these had already been approved and had been for sale in my store for a year, these new ones just had a template added for the date, they deleted the ones that I'd already had approved too!!!


Wow, that'll teach you to ask questions Smile

Quote:
Trying to design Zippo lighters is incredibly frustrating.


Trying to design anything is incredibly frustrating. Zazzle really should be in the business of producing products people ask them to produce, not vetting the products except in the case of gross violations.

I'm not sure I could think of a single company who would look at a lighter design that way, like they're almost trying to find a reason to not make it.

In the case of Zippo lighters, it's Zippo who sets the rules, not Zazzle, and they are pretty harsh. I would love to create their lighters (collector myself), but I'm not willing to provide myself or my customers unnecessary nightmares.

In the case of printing products with content that potentially violates laws of any sort, including copyright and trademark laws, the printer can be held responsible and brought to court. That printer's risk is much higher in the States and the European Union (generally in Western societies) than in other places around the world, so you may have (sometimes more, sometimes less) issues getting your trademarked design printed on Western POD sites, while you'll be absolutely fine on PODs located in China, as example, where trademark infringements aren't truly enforced by law. Exactly the contrary when it comes to politics and freedom of speech, but that's a different story.

I agree, though, that Zazzle has to be more transparent with their designers when it comes to alleged copyright and trademark infringements. The designer shall be notified about what causes the issue, and the product shall not be deleted beforehand but temporarily hidden to give the designer the opportunity to fix the problem and to resubmit the product (which can be subject to revision). This is extremely important because more than not it's not the design itself that causes the infringement, but a wrong tag or sentence in title or description.
Posted: Wednesday, February 05, 2020 5:02:45 AM
Quote:
Wow, that'll teach you to ask questions


Yes in hindsight I should have kept my mouth shut that the others had already been approved I guess but who'd have guessed they'd do that?

Quote:
Trying to design anything is incredibly frustrating. Zazzle really should be in the business of producing products people ask them to produce, not vetting the products except in the case of gross violations.

I'm not sure I could think of a single company who would look at a lighter design that way, like they're almost trying to find a reason to not make it.


+1 to that. They are VERY nitpicky. But looking through the MP you wonder how some are there but your's weren't approved?

Quote:
In the case of Zippo lighters, it's Zippo who sets the rules, not Zazzle, and they are pretty harsh. I would love to create their lighters (collector myself), but I'm not willing to provide myself or my customers unnecessary nightmares.


I wonder how much of that is true sometimes? Seems to me one of the things not allowed is weed type designs but yet you visit Zippos website and they have designs of their own with weed on them. Laughing Things that "might appeal to children" also. Zippo themselves offer a custom made option. If it weren't for the upfront cost (normally less than Zazzle pricing I might add) and the customization here at Zazzle I'd have some made and try to sell them myself but having "options" you can add here before cherckout makes it more convenient.
Posted: Wednesday, February 05, 2020 6:27:26 AM
Quote:
The designer shall be notified about what causes the issue, and the product shall not be deleted beforehand but temporarily hidden to give the designer the opportunity to fix the problem and to resubmit the product (which can be subject to revision).


+1Million
Posted: Wednesday, February 05, 2020 7:03:21 AM
RMorgan_Snapshots wrote:

I'm not sure I could think of a single company who would look at a lighter design that way, like they're almost trying to find a reason to not make it.


+1 to that. They are VERY nitpicky. But looking through the MP you wonder how some are there but your's weren't approved?

Quote:
In the case of Zippo lighters, it's Zippo who sets the rules, not Zazzle, and they are pretty harsh. I would love to create their lighters (collector myself), but I'm not willing to provide myself or my customers unnecessary nightmares.


I wonder how much of that is true sometimes? Seems to me one of the things not allowed is weed type designs but yet you visit Zippos website and they have designs of their own with weed on them. Laughing Things that "might appeal to children" also. Zippo themselves offer a custom made option. If it weren't for the upfront cost (normally less than Zazzle pricing I might add) and the customization here at Zazzle I'd have some made and try to sell them myself but having "options" you can add here before cherckout makes it more convenient. [/quote]


Regarding Zippos...

They have been in business for decades. They have all types of lighters, with every kind of design imagined.

They have ALSO licensed several "TYPES" of designs. Some of those include Sport Franchises, and Marijuana.

Zazzle designers are free to submit any designs, as long as they do not infringe on licenses already held by other companies.

It's that simple.

I don't see why people take it so personal. Especially when you consider thousands of designs a minute are being submitted. There are literally hundreds of products you can design on. Some will make it on lighters, some won't. Just gotta roll the dice sometimes.

Posted: Wednesday, February 05, 2020 9:58:50 AM
RGebbiePhoto wrote:
[quote=RMorgan_Snapshots]
Zazzle designers are free to submit any designs, as long as they do not infringe on licenses already held by other companies.

It's that simple.


RGebbiePhoto wrote:
Just gotta roll the dice sometimes.


Unfortunately, these two are mutually exclusive. If they had consistent standards, we would not have to roll the dice.

In my case they specifically said it was not a copyright infringement issue. They said that they were asked by that copyright holder to not do parodies...the same exact parody that is currently being sold on (literally) 1500 other Zazzle products.

It is Zazzle's choice, but it is inconsistent and arbitrary. Roll the dice indeed.
Posted: Wednesday, February 05, 2020 2:45:26 PM
Quote:
Regarding Zippos...

They have been in business for decades. They have all types of lighters, with every kind of design imagined.

They have ALSO licensed several "TYPES" of designs. Some of those include Sport Franchises, and Marijuana.

Zazzle designers are free to submit any designs, as long as they do not infringe on licenses already held by other companies.

It's that simple.

I don't see why people take it so personal. Especially when you consider thousands of designs a minute are being submitted. There are literally hundreds of products you can design on. Some will make it on lighters, some won't. Just gotta roll the dice sometimes.


I know how long they've been in business. I live 35 minutes from the factory and have friends/family that work there. Laughing Yea you CAN submit any designs you want but just like my example above, approval is hit or miss depending on who's "desk" it crosses in the approval process. That "roll of the dice" is what makes it so frustrating. Like Adam said, if they had consistent standards it wouldn't be that way.
Posted: Friday, February 07, 2020 6:37:28 AM
I was recently looking at the invitation templates in the create tool and ran across one that looks like a clear violation, unless Disney is now providing free templates for digital downloads.

Maybe the content management team overlooked it?
Posted: Wednesday, February 12, 2020 10:07:56 AM
The Content Management Team do not have an easy job, but their lack of consistency (one day something is rejected, another it is not) and transparency (designs are rejected in full, with no way to know the problem or even the guidelines beforehand) makes it all worse.

Now they have banned certain parities, even though they are legally protected free speech. For example, Zazzle has agreed not to make a parity of Metallica's logo...which is ironic if only that Metallica is a parity of metal music. I can't even imagine what Zazzle's product selection would look like without parities.

So in effect Zazzle is asking us to take our (completely legal) business elsewhere. I am heeding their request.
Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2020 2:31:16 AM
Perhaps consistency can be achieved by hiring ROBOTS instead of HUMANS. When you add in designers have no idea who has threatened legal action if something is produced. Doesn't matter if that action would prevail or not. The cost would be enormous. Multiplied by many such suits and Zazzle would no longer be in business.

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