Teespring has to be shutdown for selling offensive merchandise and copyright infringement

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A platform for custom apparel known as Teespring is continuously in violation of copyright infringement. In addition to copyright infringement they allow the sales of apparel promoting violence, hate, and racism.

They have been in the news multiple times for selling apparel on their site with the messages "Black Women are Trash", "Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required”, "Pray the Gay away", "GTFO Foreigners", "No means yes and yes means anal", "Fuck Feminism", "Feminism is Cancer", "Build that Wall", "No means no, unless I'm drunk" "Slavery gets shit done", "Eat,Sleep,Rape,Repeat" to name a few. Not only are these slogans offensive but they also encourage rape culture, racism, violence against minorities and women, and sexual intolerance.

Teespring eventually removes the material if it's complained about enough but instead of taking accountability they always have excuses for how it slipped through their system. As long as they profit from apparel sales they don't care what messages they're endorsing.

There have been talks of starting a boycott or movement against Teespring but no one has taken the steps into actually going through with it. After seeing all the articles and controversy on apparel distributed on their platform I think enough is enough. They need to be held accountable for endorsing racism, rape culture, violence, and intolerance. They need to be held accountable for copyright infringement and making money off independent artists and designers. Refusing to remove content that's infringed unless the actual artist proves in a number of ways that it's theirs. Making them jump through hoops to have the content removed all while they keep it up until then so they can profit.

Also, once the campaign is removed you can typically find it again in a few a days back on Teespring. The second time around however, Teespring alters the spelling of the stolen design so it won't pull up in the search.

For instance, I first heard about Teespring after seeing a tweet from an artist named James Fosdike. He does the artwork for The Dollop Podcast. He sells his copyrighted designs only on Redbubble. However he found his design on Teespring. He contacted them asking for it to be removed, they made him jump through hoops and repeatedly send in links to his site so they could verify it was really his art. Apparently having the design with his logo on the design on his website wasn't enough to verify it. He needed to tell them the year it was copyrighted. He needed to show them multiple links proving it was his and it still took a long time to come down. I contacted him and told him I'd help him. I contacted Teespring and sent them a letter stating they were illegally using his design and unless they removed it we would be sending them a DMCA request. The designs pulled up under the search term "The Dollop". After getting my email they got back to me and told me it was removed off the site, I checked the old links and yes, it was gone. I decided to check again a couple days later. The old links didn't work but the design was back on their site. This time the search term was "The Dolop" .

These are the tactics Teespring uses to profit off stolen designs. They also use this tactic to continue to sell racist, homophobic, violent, and intolerant apparel. They remove the offending items but then in a few days they're back up, they just change the search term a little bit. The excuse they gave me for having the design back up on their site was,

"Hello,

Thanks for following up. Please be aware, that Teespring is not the owners of the campaigns launched on our site, as they are created by sellers just like you and me.

I do apologize about that ongoing issue and I have followed up with my Legal Team to have them removed that once again.

Kind regards,
Josh"

So to excuse themselves from any sort of implications they say the owners of the campaign are responsible not Teespring, the platform that makes it easy to sell copyrighted designs.

A very simple solution to this would be for Teespring to have some sort of image recognition software be a process of the campaign. They should require proof from each individual campaign that they legally hold the copyright for the design.

To cut back on the issue of racism, intolerance, rape culture, and violence they should check each campaign for words that would suggest any of these issues. And if the messages isn't one of a positive nature or about ending these issues the message shouldn't be allowed.

Quite frankly if Teespring is unable to take these preventative measures in the future than they need to be shutdown. I honestly think they should be shutdown anyway given their controversial past and the many "mistakes" they made in allowing these hateful and demeaning messages to be spread.

How many chances should a business get before it's shut down? How many people need to complain or get hurt? According to the U.S. press freedom tracker, there have been 35 physical attacks on journalists so far in 2017 but yet they endorse more violence to journalists by selling a shirt that talks about hanging them? With the new metoo movement women and men are talking about how they've been assaulted or sexually abused. But Teespring sells apparel making fun of this issue. Apparel with the underlying issue that if you're drunk it's okay, it's not rape. Because, "No means no unless your drunk"..... or let's not forget the shirt with the message, "Eat, Sleep, Rape, Repeat".

We have a man in office who preaches hate and intolerance and Teespring is going to capitalize on that by selling shirts that say, "Build that wall!" " GTFO Foreigners" "Black women are trash" and "Slavery gets shit done"

Teespring also has had a line of apparel adorned with swastikas, under the guise of taking that symbol back, but yet under related searches there's campaigns with shirts saying "I love Hitler" "Hitler did nothing wrong" amongst many other Anti-Semitic slogans.

I think that with everything they have done and everything that they have infringed upon that they need to be shutdown for good. If we can't all can't make that happen then at least we can make them implement stricter policies when people are launching new campaigns to ensure that the content isn't spewing intolerance, violence, or racism and that the content is in fact owned by the individual launching the campaign.

No more keyboard warriors speaking of boycotting Teespring. It's time to take action and given their track record it shouldn't be hard to. So please join me in passing along this petition to change the way they operate if we can't shut them down.



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