When it comes to growing and developing a business through your Posh closet, do you ever wonder about trademark infringement and copyright issues? Okay, these might not be the most glamorous topics, but they’re important ones. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty. The legal nitty gritty, that is.
We know that it’s not always clear how to describe the beautiful item you have for sale, and sometimes, pulling inspiration from others seems to be the best way. But let’s talk about best practices when borrowing from other people – be it a fellow blogger, another website, or even a brand name!
Avoid ‘Inspired’ Brand Names in Descriptions
When describing a listing, be sure to reference only the brand that manufactured the item. We know it’s tempting to describe your boucle jacket as “Chanel like,” “similar to Chanel style” or “inspired by Chanel,” but that’s actually a violation of trademark law, even if that item isn’t explicitly counterfeit. The clear and simple rule is: if it’s not made by that brand, leave it out of your listing description.
Have Permission to Use Photos
For photos, we recommend using original photos. If you’re borrowing an image that you didn’t create, however, be sure you have permission from the copyright owners – that means the website, brand or user who took the photo. These owners have the rights to those pictures, even if it seems like the photo is widely available with one easy Google image search. Most people will be a-okay with the use of their image, as long as you cite the source, but getting permission is always best. If an image is used without permission and the owner of that image reaches out to us, we are legally obligated to remove the listing.
Whew! We hope that was pretty painless and chock full of helpful information for you. Now go forth, list items, and be on your way to growing a business through your Posh closet!
6 thoughts on “Posh Tip: Keep These Copyright & Trademark Issues Out Of Your Closet”
I have a J. Crew dress listed on Poshmark. There is an Instagram video with Drew Barrymore wearing the dress. I took a screenshot. Is that ok to post?
Thank you! 🙂
This is good to know. I don’t use stock photos because it doesn’t show the actual item,and I don’t think it’s fair business. If I was selling a car, I certainly wouldn’t post a photo of a factory model. Selling clothing is no different than selling anything else; it’s a business, and ethics should be paramount.
As far as copyright infringement, is it even legal to use stock photos without permission? If I was a professional photographer for designers, I think I’d be inclined to sue someone for stealing my photographs, even on this small scale. Again, it’s a matter of ethics.
So many Poshers are doing it, though. How do you stop it? In fact, there is quite a lot going on that clearly violates not only Poshmark regulations, some of it violates state and federal laws. USPS, for example, cannot ship perfume or nail polish. Worst case scenario: if just one bottle of perfume were to break in shipment and leaked into someone else’s package, wouldn’t the violation fall back on Poshmark?
Does Poshmark have an IT department or team that follows up on reports? There is a set of tires listed for sale under Woolrich that has been there for quite some time. I’ve reported it several times, but it’s still there.
I must sound like the worst, pickiest, most OCD Posher, I know. But rules and regulations are in place for good reason, and blatant disregard for them (and the consequences that follow) are disrespectful and thoughtless, not to mention unethical.
I would be thrilled to be a member of an ethics team, should Poshmark decide to go that route.
Thank you for listening, and for your consideration.
I have always wondered about using the “stock” photos from websites? Is that ok? For instance- if you are selling a J.Crew sweater, can you use the photo from the J. Crew website?
Hi Elle, we recommend using original photos to more accurately show the actual item being sold. If using a photo that isn’t yours, you should cite the source of the photo.
I really take time to take photos and to edit all of my items, so it was a shame when a gal who purchased a bag from me, reported my item and then sold it again on PM using my own photo. Thankfully, my funds for her purchase were released, and the photo she posted has since been taken down (after reporting her). I’m glad that there is protection for PM users who really strive to follow the rules. Thanks for the info! – veevee416