Explain why I can't use my own artwork on a product.
Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2019 1:17:57 PM
Very frustrated. I have put my art on hundreds of dollars worth of Zazzle products for years now, and all of a sudden today it's been called into question if I have the rights to my own image. I replied with a long response linking to my portfolio, my painting, plenty to prove it's my work..and the response I got is that my purchase is denied, with NO explanation as to why.

My "suggestion" is to tell people WHY they cant use their own image on a product. I created it. I imagined it and drew it myself. How much more original of an image could you have? Its not inappropriate, hateful, etc. so I don't understand what the problem could possibly be.

I've been a loyal Zazzle user for years, and sung Zazzle's praises left and right. I sincerely hope this was an error or just one careless employee's failure to actually read my response. Will be calling customer service tomorrow about this so hopefully I'll have an answer then, but I shouldn't have to call in after already taking time out of my morning to write a thorough reply.

Has anyone else had this experience?
Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2019 1:23:39 PM
Haley Guilfoile wrote:
Very frustrated. I have put my art on hundreds of dollars worth of Zazzle products for years now, and all of a sudden today it's been called into question if I have the rights to my own image. I replied with a long response linking to my portfolio, my painting, plenty to prove it's my work..and the response I got is that my purchase is denied, with NO explanation as to why.

My "suggestion" is to tell people WHY they cant use their own image on a product. I created it. I imagined it and drew it myself. How much more original of an image could you have? Its not inappropriate, hateful, etc. so I don't understand what the problem could possibly be.

I've been a loyal Zazzle user for years, and sung Zazzle's praises left and right. I sincerely hope this was an error or just one careless employee's failure to actually read my response. Will be calling customer service tomorrow about this so hopefully I'll have an answer then, but I shouldn't have to call in after already taking time out of my morning to write a thorough reply.

Has anyone else had this experience?


I've not experienced this. It is hard to help you, though, without knowing more details: Seeing image in question, knowing title, description, tags. Even if not posting for sale such things still matter.
Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2019 1:34:36 PM
Haley Guilfoile wrote:
Very frustrated. I have put my art on hundreds of dollars worth of Zazzle products for years now, and all of a sudden today it's been called into question if I have the rights to my own image. I replied with a long response linking to my portfolio, my painting, plenty to prove it's my work..and the response I got is that my purchase is denied, with NO explanation as to why.

[...]

Has anyone else had this experience?


I can't give a definite answer to the art in question but I can give you some general reasons why zazzle is required by law to refuse despite the fact that it is original art.

  • Your work can be original and still be mistaken for a trademark and zazzle might violate the trademark law.
  • Your work can be an original and still violate privacy laws and zazzle would be in violation of those privacy laws unless you provide a model release.
  • Your work can be original but be mistaken for an official government insignia that pretends some official function and thereby violate some laws about state sovereignty

    Your work might viewed as fan art and fan art lacks a component to be truly original which is independence. Fan art is by definition not an original in the true sense and legally a gray area. For the most part fan art is a copyright violation tolerated by the actual rights owners.

    Last but not least ...
    Europes article 13 has some PoD services somewhat in a bind. I currently have the discussion of origin with them on a regular basis. They recently removed several hundred of my designs which I now re-uploaded. Because those originals were stolen by pirates they can be found all over the net. Hence the reviewer rejects my work and I send a list of design IDs to legal repeating myself over and over, that those are my originals and what they find online is either my account on other PoDs or stolen from that very PoD account from which they recently deleted it.

    There is no ill will or malicious intent or incompetence at the works.
  • Posted: Monday, October 21, 2019 5:44:40 AM
    I once spent days creating a flag design for an obscure holiday that is celebrated mostly in the southern USA. It was my own creation and not a clip art that I had downloaded. I had never heard of a flag being copyrighted. But I got a notice that the flag was copyrighted and I had to take it down. That particular flag had been used for years to mark the holiday and I suspect someone enterprising individual decided they would copyright it so no one else could benefit from it.
    Posted: Monday, October 21, 2019 6:00:40 AM
    I think a few state flags are trademarked or copyrighted, but I don’t recall which ones.
    Posted: Monday, October 21, 2019 6:04:17 AM
    I think when a state seal is used on their flag, that seal is copyrighted.
    Posted: Monday, October 21, 2019 6:13:39 AM
    If you search the flag in question on Wikipedia then click on the image of it, it will tell you whether it is PD or copyrighted.

    Oklahoma state flag is public domain.
    Posted: Monday, October 21, 2019 12:30:14 PM
    You know it's weird..... I just got a copyright violation notice too on an image I uploaded as part of a Zazzle contest from 2007. It's an original doodle of lemons of all things...
    Posted: Monday, October 21, 2019 1:44:10 PM
    Jojo wrote:
    You know it's weird..... I just got a copyright violation notice too on an image I uploaded as part of a Zazzle contest from 2007. It's an original doodle of lemons of all things...


    Zazzle doesn't differentiate between copyright and trademark violation in their takedowns. The culprit may very well be in title, text or description and not in the art itself.

    However the art itself still can violate trademark so you better inquire more to the nature of the violation so you know what to avoid in the future.

    You also may successful contest the notice. I have to do this on a regular basis with my Cheshire cat grin and do contest successfully.
    Posted: Monday, October 21, 2019 2:50:00 PM
    Colorwash wrote:
    I think when a state seal is used on their flag, that seal is copyrighted.


    No state seal and not a state flag. It is the celebrate Juneteenth and is just a white jagged circle with a white star in the center on a half red and half blue background. It was very hard to make the design on my own. It is copyrighted by the National Juneteenth Observation Society. Just an example of how your own artwork may not be useable.

    A lot of youngsters will draw cartoon characters and not understand that these are copyrighted and they can't sell them even though they drew them.
    Posted: Monday, October 21, 2019 4:35:27 PM
    There's some pretty tight restrictions on the content that can appear on Zippo lighters. We're usually good about allowing all sorts of content on our product, but some companies choose to restrict what appears on their products. There's not really much we can do about this, unfortunately. :/
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