Copyright and intellectual property
Shopify supports the protection of intellectual property and asks you to do the same. It's Shopify's policy to respond to all notices of alleged copyright infringement that comply with the United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Shopify also responds to notices of alleged trademark infringement. It's the store owner’s responsibility to comply with applicable copyright and trademark laws. This includes laws that might apply based on your store’s region or country, as well as the regions or countries that you sell in.
Important: This information doesn’t constitute professional legal advice. Consult with independent legal counsel for information specific to your region or country and circumstances.
If you dropship or source your products from an app or third-party, then make sure to get permission and documentation to use the products, brand, and related content, which includes photos and text. If you didn’t create the content, then check to see who owns it, even if the content's not officially registered.
If Shopify receives proper notification of alleged copyright or trademark infringement, then the infringing material might be removed from your store. In some cases, stores might be temporarily or permanently closed.
Intellectual property overview
Intellectual property refers to something produced as a result of creativity. This includes tangible and intangible works, such as books, text, code, images, videos, logos, and slogans. Copyright and trademark are two types of intellectual property.
As a store owner, you need to protect your intellectual property, and make sure that you don't infringe on someone else's content.
About copyright infringement
Copyright infringement is using copyrighted works without permission from the owner. A copyright owner has the exclusive rights to copy, display, distribute, sell, or perform the works, or to create derivative works.
Copyright protects tangible original works, such as photos on your online store. Copyright applies from the time you create the works, but you can also apply to register your works with your government’s copyright office, such as with the U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright laws exist in many countries.
You can learn more about copyright on the U.S. Copyright Office website or the Canadian Intellectual Property Office's Guide to copyright.
About trademark infringement
Trademarks refer to intangible works, like branding, that identify and distinguish a business or product from other types of businesses or products. Trademark infringement is using a trademark without permission in a way that might cause confusion about the brand, product, or services.
You can register your trademark to protect your brand image, such as your logo or your business name with your government’s trademark office, such as with the United States Patent and Trademark Office website.
Search for registered copyright and trademarks
If a copyright or trademark is registered, then you can search government records to confirm the registration and find out more information. If a copyright or trademark isn’t registered, then copyright or trademark laws might still apply. The following are examples of records that you can search:
- U.S. Copyright Office records
- U.S. United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Electronic Search System
- World Intellectual Property Organization Intellectual Property Portal’s Global Brand Database
Reporting copyright or trademark infringement
If you have reason to believe that content on a store that uses Shopify violates or infringes your copyright or trademark, then you can use the Shopify DMCA Notice form or the Shopify Trademark Infringement Notice form to report this content.
Before you submit the form, consider if the works are protected under law and if the store’s use qualifies as copyright or trademark infringement. If you’re not sure if copyright or trademark laws protect the material, then consult with independent legal counsel.
Shopify’s Trust and Safety team only reviews your notice if every part of the form is complete. You receive a response after the team has reviewed your notice.
Report only one store per notice, and include all relevant information in that notice. You can include more than one link per notice.
Responding to a notice of copyright or trademark infringement
If your store receives a DMCA or trademark infringement notice, then Shopify's Trust and Safety team will email the store owner with steps to take to dispute the notice. These steps might include providing proof of a registered trademark, or filing a counter notice. You can reply to the DMCA or trademark notice email with any questions that you might have.
Shopify might remove any infringing material from your store. Depending on the notice, your response, applicable laws, and Shopify’s policies, Shopify will notify you if you are permitted to replace content that has been removed. In some cases, stores that infringe on intellectual property might be temporarily or permanently closed.
Sometimes copyright and trademark owners will contact you with a cease and desist letter. This allows you to respond, and might prevent further action in cases where copyright or trademark laws apply.