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For the last 10 years, I’ve run my own shop with Zazzle where I have over 3000 different designs. During the last few years, I found at least 5 different shops who are stealing tons of designs from me, plus a lot of ebay sellers who are doing the same.

The problem is that I have never registered my images for copyright, and I don’t plan to. It would be way too much money and time wasted to register 3000+ designs

However some shops are stealing HUNDREDS of my designs.. A single eBay seller have around 2000+ stolen designs from me. I really need to do something.

Also, I have lack of legal experience and legal battles really makes me anxious, so I would prefer to hire a company to send the takedown notices for me. I found websites like ImageRights and ImageProtect but the problem is that their FAQ seems to be telling that you have to register copyright in order for their service to be effective.

Just to be clear, I don’t care about seeking legal damages or whatever… I just want the thieves to stop stealing my images and I don’t want to pay thousands of dollars just for this.

I tried contacting eBay myself but they never helped me, they were just asking for the trademark/copyright details.

Most of the shops stealing my images are running on platforms like Shopify and eBay. Is there some service that can help with the takedown notices? Any suggestions?

  • Copyright occurs without registration in the US. That's not something you need to worry about. – Stackstuck Jan 18 '18 at 19:47
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    Copyright arises without registration but you can't sue to enforce a copyright without registering it. You have to decide. Are your designs worth the registration money to give you the legal ability to sue to enforce them, or not. Either the misappropriation is worth the trouble or it isn't. You have an economic decision to make. Note that you can merely register the designs that have economic value to you. – ohwilleke Jan 18 '18 at 20:20
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    It's worth noting that registration might not be quite as expensive as you think (although it's still not cheap) - it might be possible to include many designs on one application. – D M Jan 18 '18 at 20:43
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According to 17 U.S. Code § 411:

Except for an action brought for a violation of the rights of the author under section 106A(a), and subject to the provisions of subsection (b), no civil action for infringement of the copyright in any United States work shall be instituted until preregistration or registration of the copyright claim has been made in accordance with this title.

So in order to sue, you generally need a registration.

Takedown notices are covered by 17 U.S. Code § 512. But according to that law, the alleged infringer can issue a counter-notice, and the platform will then put the material back up unless you seek a court order within 10 to 14 days. That's likely a reason those places require registration to be effective - the only real way to combat a counter-notice is a lawsuit, and you can't file a lawsuit without registration.

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If the infringement is not in the US, you do not need to have registered your copyright to take action in that jurisdiction. The US requires registration before taking action - it is unique in that respect.

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