Why was my artwork removed?
Why was my artwork removed while other similar works are still on Redbubble?
Will I get taken to court or sued if my artwork was removed from Redbubble?
Why was my artwork removed if I photographed or drew it myself?
Can I get my artwork reinstated?
If your artwork was removed from Redbubble, generally it’s because a rights holder or their authorized representative identified certain content hosted on the Redbubble marketplace as infringing. The complaint will usually claim that your artwork infringes their copyright, trademark, publicity rights or other rights, and that it should be removed from the Redbubble marketplace.
It is Redbubble’s policy to remove allegedly infringing works in response to legally valid complaints under applicable law, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that, by removing your work, Redbubble itself considers your work to be infringing.
Unfortunately, we’re not able to provide legal advice regarding copyright, trademark, publicity rights or similar rights, or tell you why a particular rights holder considers your work infringing.
To read more, see our Intellectual Property and Publicity Rights Policy.
While most removals are a result of intellectual property-related complaints, it’s also possible your work was removed for not complying with another law or regulation, or for not complying with the other guidelines in our User Agreement, Community Guidelines or other published policies.
Redbubble is an online marketplace, and works are continually being added and removed by users for various reasons.
It is Redbubble’s policy to remove allegedly infringing works in response to valid complaints under applicable law, but content is only removed when it has been specifically identified as infringing in a legally valid takedown notice. We generally don't go looking for similar works to remove from the marketplace.
When rights holders complain, they usually identify specific content on the marketplace as infringing and request its removal. We don’t know why they decided to leave certain content up on the site that seems identical or similar to the content they’ve asked us to remove. But in general, a few different situations might apply. For example, the rights holder may know that the similar work is legitimately licensed to an artist selling on Redbubble, or perhaps they think that the similar work is a fair use and not infringing.
Also, while it might seem like you’re being unfairly singled out if you see similar works that are still available, rights holders may be in the process of issuing complaints for other similar content and Redbubble may receive another complaint at any time.
Generally, when a work is removed from Redbubble, that’s the end of the matter. However, it’s up to the particular rights holder to decide if further legal action should be taken. Also remember that sending a counter notice doesn’t grant you automatic immunity. Rather, a counter notice is meant to offer you a “right of reply,” an opportunity to explain why you believe your work was mistakenly removed, so there’s an opportunity for your work to be reinstated.
When you take a photo, make an illustration, or create some other work, you own the copyright to any original expressive aspects of that particular photo, drawing, painting, or other creation. But consider that there are various types of Intellectual Property (including copyright, trademark, and publicity rights), and you can have multiple, overlapping IP elements in any one particular work of art. Someone else may own intellectual property rights to some or all of the content within your work. Based on their ownership rights, they might be able to legally stop you from selling your work on Redbubble. For example, if you take a photo of a painting, you will probably own copyright in the photograph, but the painter (or somebody else) will own copyright in the painting (and you may have infringed copyright in the painting by taking a photo of it).
- You sketch an amazing motorcycle-riding wombat, wearing a kickass bandana with a company logo. Although you may own the copyright to your drawing, that company might own the trademark rights to its logo and your work may infringe;
- You make a drawing of a character from a video game and upload it to Redbubble. Although you drew the character yourself, your rendition may look similar enough to the original character from the video game that the owner of rights in that character may complain that your work infringes; or
- You make a tasteful macaroni homage to your favorite celebrity and decide to sell it on Redbubble. That celebrity might claim that you are infringing their publicity rights by using his or her name and/or likeness.
In all of these examples, you may have certain copyright rights in your particular work, but someone else may own copyright, trademark, publicity rights or other rights in the content of your work and may therefore be able to prevent you from selling your work on Redbubble.
The bottom line: if you’re not sure why something was removed that you believe you created yourself, think about whether you may have used any elements of someone else’s creation in your work. Think to logos, characters, quotes/phrases, drawings or photographs of actual people, or something else that may infringe on another's rights.
We may be able to reinstate your artwork in some cases, especially if you feel that it was named in a complaint by mistake. If you feel that your artwork should be reinstated, you can send a counter notice. See our Intellectual Property and Publicity Rights Policy for more information.
One important side note: it’s a big no-no to just re-upload the same work that’s been removed without first going through the counter notice process. We will remove works that we find are re-uploaded without permission, and it can lead to further action taken on your account under our Repeat Infringer Policy.
Obligatory Yet Very Important Legal Disclaimer:
Don’t be fooled by any complicated jargon (and how snazzy we look in pinstripe). We are not your lawyer and this is not legal advice. We recommend contacting an attorney if you need an actual legal consultation.
Rather, this is general information aimed at giving you the legal lay of the land. While we can’t defend you in court, we know that art and IP ownership can be murky territory; the least we can do is arm you with the right kind of knowledge to get you started.