Q: Hi, I'm a designer. I had an account on a "print on demand" platform www.teepublic.com, I created the designs and the co

My account was terminated and my commission not paid out, they claim it's due to my account being terminated because of intellectual property infringement. Is that legal, for them to keep the money I earned?

1 Lawyer Answer

A: Whether this is legal or not will depend on the terms of the contract that you signed when you used their services. The terms are on their website (https://www.teepublic.com/terms). I have not reviewed their terms, and the link is for your convenience. This is not a full legal analysis of their contract, nor should you rely on it as such.

However, if you submitted anything that you didn't have rights to, you were likely in violation of their terms immediately upon submission. Assuming TeePublic's claim of IP infringement to be true, you didn't have rights to the design (i.e., someone else's IP), meaning that your contribution to the overall sale was not yours to contribute.

From my current understanding of their business model, TeePublic actually made the shirt and the shirt was sold through their website. The payment you would have received was likely a commission given solely for the design (the IP) and and they are claiming the design wasn't yours (i.e., you infringed someone else's IP). As such, I suspect that they don't owe you anything for the commission under the contract (I'd need to review to determine the actual terms). Of course, you'd be welcome to argue that the design was your intellectual property, appeal as required under their contract, and possibly move forward with a breach of contract claim against TeePublic.

I'd advise you to review the contract and your rights to any profits with a seasoned intellectual property attorney.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.