Posted by Dennis » 17 Comments »
NB: We have ended our partnership with Zazzle. Please visit our new store, Classical Geek.
You’ll notice that the link to the Zazzle store has left our sidebar, but you won’t believe why. I’m not supporting the site until they come to their senses and restore our ILLO MODO VOLVO t-shirt, which has been been pulled because of an erroneous intellectual property claim.
Here’s the first notice I received:
Thank you for your interest in Zazzle.com, and thank you for publishing products on Zazzle.
Unfortunately, it appears that your product, ILLO MODO VOLVO, contains content that is not suitable for printing at Zazzle.com.
We will be removing this product from the Zazzle Marketplace shortly.
Please help us make our content approval process better by taking this short survey.
The details of the product being removed are listed below:
• Product Title: ILLO MODO VOLVO
• Product Type: Shirt
• Product ID: 235305340173129174
• Result: Not Approved
• Policy Violations:
o 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
• Image: Image
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 email@example.com
Content Review Team
Terribly unhelpful. So I wrote a reply asking for details and explaining the design and why it did not violate anyone’s intellectual property:
Customer (Dennis McHenry) – 09/01/2010 05:58 PM
No one’s intellectual property has been violated.
I am a Latin teacher, and my students often want to know how to say common English expressions in Latin. I told them how to say “that’s how I roll,” then naturally paired it with an image of Zeus on a chariot. I rendered this into Latin as “illo modo volvo,” and used it for a Latin Honor Society t-shirt:
The image is my own modification of a public domain image from the 1879 book “Stories from the Greek Tragedians” by Alfred Church. The original image and copyright information can be found at Wikipedia: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Chariot_of_Zeus_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_14994.png
Again, this does not violate anyone’s intellectual property. I see a similar shirt by another designer on Zazzle, but the fact that two people had similar ideas would invalidate half the content on your site. Nothing about my shirt violates anyone’s intellectual property, or otherwise violates Zazzle’s guidelines.
Please restore my shirt, or I will need to consider moving to a new vendor.
This was their response:
Response (Mike) – 09/02/2010 09:48 AM
Thank you for being a Seller at Zazzle.com!
We would love to offer every design that our users submit, however we must abide by all applicable laws and standards as well as our own content guidelines and copyright policies.
Unfortunately, it appears that your product, “illo modo volvo”, did not meet Zazzle Acceptable Content Guidelines. Specifically, your product infringes upon the intellectual property rights of Volvo Group.
All elements including names, car models, logos, and actual cars violate their rights.
We have been contacted by legal representatives from Volvo Car Corporation, and at their request, have removed the product from the Zazzle Marketplace.
We are sorry for any disappointment, but hope you will understand our position in this regard. For future reference, please review Zazzle Acceptable Content Guidelines at: http://zazzle.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/143.
If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Thanks for using Zazzle. We look forward to seeing more of your creative designs!
Content Management Team
I had to reply again:
This is not a valid claim. Volvo can not claim copyright on a Latin word used in a Latin sentence. Volvo in this context has nothing to do with their product. It would be like saying that a reference to the planet Saturn was an infringement upon the trademark of the Saturn automobile.
This is unacceptable, and must be remedied. Again, Volvo can not copyright a Latin word used in the context of a Latin sentence, which makes no implicit or explicit reference to their product. Additionally, the design does not borrow at all from, reference, or imply a connection to Volvo automotive or any of their designs.
I expect an answer promptly.
Well, it’s been three days. Naturally I’m looking at other vendors, specifically Printfection and Wordans.
You would think someone at Zazzle or Volvo would have a little bit of sense and see their error.