Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Intellectual property

A strange thing happened this week. I was accused of infringing on someone's intellectual property rights.

What? Me???

A few months ago I wrote about a website that allows you to create custom t-shirts, mousepads, visors, and all kinds of gear. You can upload photos and/or you can type text to appear on your items. I created 2 different t-shirts for Spouse and me to wear to Big Ella's 1st vintage car show. Then I listed the items in the Marketplace so that others who like them could order them, too.

The shirts arrived, I loved them, Spouse & I wore them to the car show events, guys at the car show loved them, and all was right with the world. Until Mon.

On Mon I received the following email:
Thank you for your interest in, and thank you for publishing products on Zazzle. Unfortunately, it appears that your product, Tail fins, contains content that is not suitable for printing at We will be removing this product from the Zazzle Marketplace shortly.

The details of the product being removed are listed below:
Product Title: Tail fins
Product Type: Shirt
Product ID: 235761238692587880
Result: Not Approved
Policy Violations: Design contains an image or text that infringes on intellectual property rights. We have been contacted by the intellectual property right holder and at their request we will be removing your product from Zazzle’s Marketplace due to intellectual property claims

We apologize for the inconvenience, a detailed description of the policies are located here. If you have any questions or concerns about the review of your product, please email us.

Content Review Team, Inc.

The item in question is a black t-shirt with the words "got fins?" on it. I scratched my head for a moment and wondered how in the world someone could claim intellectual property rights on 2 common words found in any dictionary.

So I wrote to the Content Review Team:
I am puzzled by the email I received below, which claims that my t-shirt design's "image or text infringes on intellectual property rights". Does this mean that someone claims to have a copyright on the two words "got fins"? I find this hard to believe. Can you please tell me what a person or company has to provide to you to prove their claim to the intellectual property rights?

Mark in DE

Today I got the following response to my email:
Thank you for your email. Please feel free to resubmit your designs as they seem to have been removed in error. We apologize for any inconvenience. Thank you for using

So, apparently there was some mix-up about my supposed infringing on someone's intellectual property rights. They encourage me to resubmit my design since it was removed in error, yet my design still appears on their website.

I'm still a little confused, but I'm not going to invest anymore time or energy on it. My design is still there for the fin-loving masses or order.

If I were smarter and actually capable of infringing on someone's intellectual property rights I probably wouldn't have thought it so strange. But since I'm not, I did.

Crush du Jour: Marlon DiGregori


behrmark said...

Strange! I suspect that the company uses some sort of filter on submissions in order to weed out profanity/obscene pictures. It most likely was the "got" that was filtered despite everyone having a "got" phrase - like Got Woof?

Kyle said...

Mark, that's a compounding error if I ever saw one. Get out of its' way before it swallows you up!

David Dust said...



Java said...

How very odd.

Beth said...

ok...I dont get it either. strange. and your crush is HOT!!!

Stephen said...

I have been sssing other people using the term- POST APOCALYPTIC. I think I am going to have to sue.

CJ/Rick said...

Strange indeed. I've ordered a couple of things from them since you give us the heads up. That's mind boggling with all the Star Wars items on their site.