How to Not Get SUED When Dropshipping (w/ Aliexpress & Shopify)

How to Not Get SUED When Dropshipping (w/ Aliexpress & Shopify)


Hey, guys. So today, I’m gonna talk about how to protect
yourself from being sued when dropshipping. This wasn’t a question I was planning to answer
but we’ve recently had a flood of comments and emails from people asking those questions
so I knew I had to address it. So here are the questions that I’m gonna be
answering in this video. One, will you be sued if you use AliExpress
product images that suppliers have publicly posted? Two, how can you stop yourself from being
sued for using copyright images? Three, can you sell products from AliExpress
that have trademarks on them? So to find out the answers for these and how
to stop yourself from being sued, keep watching this video. One, will you be sued if you use AliExpress
product images? I’m gonna preface this with the fact that
I am not a lawyer but my answer to this is no, no, no, no, no, no. I’m gonna be honest. I find this question quite surprising because
it’s quite common knowledge that China is the country of piracy and knock-offs, yet
people ask me this question all the time. Piracy and knock-offs are rampant in China. Pirated movies, games, and music are sold
very publicly on the streets, even though it’s technically illegal, which is why I guess
I’m a little bit surprised that people are concerned that Chinese suppliers are gonna
pursue you in court for using their product images. But I also understand because the thought
of getting sued is scary so it makes sense that you would want to double check. I can tell you now, I am 99.9% certain that
not only would a supplier not pursue you in court but that they would view you using their
images as a smart thing. You see, in China, they have a very different
cultural attitude towards piracy. It’s because in the West, we strongly value
the rights of the individual. In China, they do not. And in China, the idea that just one person
should financially benefit from something that can be so easily and cheaply copied and
distributed to the masses is crazy. And I want to be clear, I am neither agreeing
or disagreeing with these ideas. I’m just explaining how things are different
in China. So when an AliExpress manufacturer posts photos
of the products they are selling on their listing, they won’t have the same reaction
as we would have in the West because those images are so easy to be copied and reused. Instead, they’ll be happy that you’re using
them to sell more of their products because, of course, it makes them more money. And consider this, take the self-stir mug
as an example. If we head over to AliExpress, guess what
we will find? We’ll find that the manufacturers are stealing
images from each other. The same images are used by different manufacturers
to promote their own version of this product. And more importantly, all of these suppliers
are just manufacturing their own copy of this mug. Who even knows who was the original manufacturer
and creator of the mug? And the same goes for the images, who knows
who was the first manufacturer to take the common stock images for this mug? It’s impossible to know. If the original creator in China was going
to be suing anyone, they would be suing the manufacturing companies that are reusing them
that are based in China, not some random person who lives halfway around the world. But the fact is is that they’re not going
to even sue their local manufacturing companies because their cultural attitudes towards intellectual
property are entirely different to ours. So no, I don’t think you need to be worried
that you’re going to get sued for reusing their images on your store but I am not a
legal expert, I need to state that. If you’re still worried, my recommendation
to you would be to simply message the supplier and ask them if they are okay with you reusing
their images. I’ve never met a supplier that would say no
but it’s always nice to get their confirmation. Two, how can I avoid being sued for copyright
images? In China, they may not care if you reuse images
that originated there but in the West, it is an entirely different story. I’ve had multiple friends that have been sued
for making this mistake. I had one friend that got sent a bill for
$10,000 for accidentally using copyright images. Interestingly enough, the lawsuit didn’t actually
go through because it was for one of my friends that was based here in New Zealand and here
in New Zealand, the laws surrounding copyright damages are very different. Here, to claim damages of $10,000, you need
to actually show that you lost $10,000 by someone illegally using your images. My friend was not making any money off the
images. It wasn’t a commercial website. When they realized that he was broke and had
no money, they just dropped the lawsuit and he took the images done. And no, they hadn’t sent him a takedown notice. It’s a common misconception that you can skirt
the law and just take down the images when you get sent a notice. No, they don’t have to send you that. They are perfectly within their rights to
just immediately sue you. But it was a good reminder that small websites
that aren’t even making any money yet can still be sued for copyright infringement. If my friend had been living in the USA, then
that lawsuit would have gone very differently. He got very lucky. So don’t think that because you don’t have
a super successful site yet that you’re not going to get sued. You still need to make sure that you’re following
copyright laws. An easy way to stop yourself from being sued
for copyright is to use images that you’re allowed to use and an easy way to find them
is with Google Images. On Google Images, click Settings and then
click Advanced Search. Type in what you want to search for and then
just scroll down to usage rights and select free to use, share or modify, even commercially. You’ll be surprised at how many images you
find that you’re allowed to use. Three, can I sell AliExpress products that
have trademarks? I’m gonna preface this again with the fact
that I’m not a lawyer but no, no, no, no, no. You cannot sell items that are trademarked. I know that I’ve probably confused some of
my viewers because of the video I created, “How to Dropship from AliExpress.” In that video, I highlight a store from a
friend of mine called World of Harry. It is a WooCommerce dropshipping store that
dropships Harry Potter items from AliExpress. Now the reason why I highlighted the store
wasn’t because I recommend dropshipping trademarked Harry Potter items like he is doing. It’s because that website has a ton of SEO
done to it and it’s getting lots of organic, free traffic from Google. I was using it as a case study for how you
can optimize your own stores for the Google search engine. In that video, I say two things. Firstly, I say that that store is very well
optimized for Google but secondly, I also state that I do not recommend selling trademarked
products. Dropshipping trademarked products is a risky
business because it’s highly illegal. I’ll tell you now, I have a friend that told
me a story about how his dropshipping business almost ended in disaster when he first started
it. He was dropshipping products from China that
were counterfeit and illegal but he was naive. He assumed that because the manufacturers
were selling hundreds to thousands of these every week that it must have been legit and
that they had every right to do so. Well, he discovered that that was not the
case one day when the Feds came knocking at his door. So he opened it and found that it was the
Feds who had come to talk to him about how he was illegally selling counterfeit items. Now, like my friend earlier, he also got lucky
and managed to avoid any serious legal action or jail time but it could have so easily gone
the other way. So do not sell anything that is branded with
a trademark. You might think that because the self-stir
mug with Harry Potter on it is selling 200 units a week that the manufacturer must have
the right to do so but they don’t so don’t sell it. Instead, sell this generic self-stir mug that
has no trademarks or logos on it. There are so many cool, generic products to
dropship on AliExpress so don’t get lazy and start selling trademarked products even though
they can be very easy money. So there we go, guys. I hope you found this video helpful. If you liked it, I’d appreciate it if you
gave it a thumbs up and subscribed to us here at Wholesale Ted for more great videos about
selling online. And if you have any questions, be sure to
ask them in the comments section below. Admittedly, here at Wholesale Ted, we do get
a lot of questions but we do our very best to answer as many as we can. And if you would like to start your own dropshipping
business but you don’t know how, then you should be sure to download our free eBook,
“How to Make $10,000 a Month Online with Dropshipping.” You’ll find a link on how to download this
incredible, life-changing eBook in the video description below.

Comments

  1. Post
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    Wholesale Ted

    As always – if you've got any questions, please leave them in the comments section. We try and answer as many as we can!

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    Software Sinhalen

    https://goo.gl/5SZR2j
    Visual branding is an easy and effective way to make products stand out from the crowded marketplace. Creating a brand-specific look is easier than you think.
    https://goo.gl/5SZR2j
    * Why a Logo Is Important to Your Brand

    Logos act as the face of your business. They’re a visual display of what your company stands for, and can be used to promote your brand both online and offline

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    Michael Williamson

    Hello WST,
    What are the legal requirements for dropshipping, do you need business license LLC, tax # etc? If so, does all this need to be done prior to starting store on Shopify? Thanks so much. ..

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    Gauthier Pascal

    You guys did a good job but if you were making 10K per month – why are you wearing the same dress in each video ?!?! STOP wearing H&M – 20 $ dresses. If you think you need a dresser or a professional costume designer – we would be more than happy to help you!

  18. Post
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    AlwaysSonny

    Hi Wholesale Ted,

    https://81xkpw8gg2oyzdjj-12278366272.shopifypreview.com

    could you take a look at my shop and see there are potentials for suing? I am trying to sell tattoo inspired shirts and I did get the tattoo images from other sources. I added my own twist and edited to my own taste. I am also trying to find the artists who drew some of the designs and pay them to own the rights but they are so hard to find!!

  19. Post
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    JackalXD

    so if u drop shipping u can't sell trade mark items but what if u doing a amazon fba can u bc all u doing is selling a items u bought from somewhere else and shipping it to customer to make a flip

  20. Post
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    Till Müller

    Just one question: Would it be OK to sell Harry Potter related things, like necklaces that do not have the Harry Potter sign on it but is clearly related like a time turner?

  21. Post
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    razor2k911

    Hello Sarah! One question, if i blindly dropship products from AliExpress to countries such as Canada or the U.S., what will my customer get in terms of documents (such as invoice or receipt) for the money they spent on the product they bought from my Shopify store??

  22. Post
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    Christopher K. Primus

    what about action figures? for example pokemon, avengers, dragon ball characters? Are these also trademark?

  23. Post
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    Coco Nut

    you must have a "small tongue" your pronunciation is hard to understand at times… recommendation you said "ricommendation"

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    Fabs

    Hello, love your videos. Thinking to start an e-commerce business, but I'm wonder what about stuff that have an special design?? You can get sued for selling design goods without any brand visible??

  26. Post
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    Dhanesh Shedale

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    Do you have any guide to "How to start inventory base online store?" Or any reference from you?

  27. Post
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    Andrew Roselli

    If i use the OBERLO APP is there any legal issues i could face regarding COPYWRITE INFRINGEMENT LAWS? Oberlo assures that it's stores are verified and legitimate. If i was to find say a SUPERMAN backpack with supermans logo on oberlo an put it on my store am i at risk for legal action? Please help!

  28. Post
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    Lucy Wood

    can I make a dropshipping store for a music band and use aliexpress products for that band for example phone cases and merch like t shirts?

  29. Post
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    Hearts & Roses

    Hello Ted,

    Recently my shopify store was shut down due to 2 DMCA to almost look alike product.

    The product was toothbrush bristle for dogs .
    I used images that aliexpress provided , however I received the DMCA as a guy claimed that this is a patented product.

    I dont believe that there is anything I can do to bring my shopify store back but what you would suggest to avoid problems like these in the feature ?

  30. Post
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    otacon1024

    Anyone know how it generally works with fan art? Say an artist drew fan art of Harry Potter – the character belongs to J.K. Rowling, but the artwork belongs to the artist. You want to print the artwork on a T-shirt, and the artist gives you permission. Who gets sued, if anyone? The artist, you, both of you?

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    r33int

    Does this kind of stuff count as trademarked?

    https://fr.aliexpress.com/item/Nendoroid-725-Konosuba-Megumin-PVC-Action-Figure-Collection-jouet-mod-le/32974571944.html?spm=a2g0w.search0104.3.30.249952a6BV1Kbt&transAbTest=ae803_4&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0%2Csearchweb201602_1_10065_10068_319_10892_317_10696_10084_453_454_10083_10618_10304_10307_10820_10821_537_10302_536_10902_10843_10059_10884_10887_321_322_10103%2Csearchweb201603_59%2CppcSwitch_0&algo_pvid=9de87cd8-2356-4b7b-be07-7191f25708a1&algo_expid=9de87cd8-2356-4b7b-be07-7191f25708a1-4

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    Luke Allen

    Hey thanks for the info. I was wondering what the deal is with selling lets say merch for a Playstation game that you can buy from aliexpress? How would I go about selling that stuff without getting in the shit?

  36. Post
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    joseph look

    what i'm really curious is how do you use the name "TED" without get sued there as no copyrights for this name ?>

  37. Post
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    Ria Manchanda

    If a product in the market has a trademark TM or R, can I still sell a version of that product without the same branding? Perhaps a non brand? I've done a quick patent search on the product and can't seem to find anything for that particular product

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    domestic platypus

    Regarding product images – a very important point is being missed here. Yes, Chinese sellers are unlikely to sue you for using the images. HOWEVER… If the AliExpress seller has stolen the stock images (or images they are printing on products) from a company outside of China, there is still a risk.

  40. Post
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    Day Hop

    the part about "selling trademark items is bad" really helped me out, because I was just about to do that , thank you so much

  41. Post
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    Ethan Foss

    so i couldnt dropship say a hoodie/hat with a DBZ symbol on it or something with the uchiha/hidden leaf symbol, or something with rick and morty on it without it being illegal unless i live in a different country outside the us?

  42. Post
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    DDdastard06

    I am still so confused, so don't sell anything at all from a brand that exists in the U.S already? So it's only safe to sell generic items? Does AliExpress warn U.S buyers about this?

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    JW SWE

    I have a question, this might sound Dumb bit what is counted as a trademark? Is it only things like star Wars or Harry Potter or is it all products that have any kind of brand?
    For example, a anti theft backpack that has a chinease brand on the back & front side. Can I sell it?

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    Stephen J

    Don't make videos on matters you are not an expert or authority on, particularly where there are legal issues ( too many so called Gurus do this ). You only end up giving bad advice. Thats the case with this video. You claimed that dropshippers are not ( well you are 99.9% sure) going to get sued if they use the photos used by aliexpress shippers. The fact is that many of these photos are stolen from the original product owners ( In Western Countries ) and they will sue.
    Many of your other videos are very informative, as you are providing knowledge on subjects you are expert in. However, by producing videos in areas you are not expert in, you lose the trust of the audience

  51. Post
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    VEKTR FPV

    Thanks for the informative content. I have a question, is it okay to sell china trade marked products, meaning the trade mark is issued from a china company such as blitzwolf for example

  52. Post
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    vivek waghmare

    The Company sends parcels perfectly but its the receiving post office and their employees ,who need to do their duty honestly, problem is they don't care, and you can only get ur product or parcel if you know someone personally from post office …

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    Ratatat Tata

    So would be illegal to dropship like anime t shirts or game of thrones shirts? Or a phone case with Goku's face on it. Please let me know😅 So i'll take them down before it's too late

  55. Post
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    Jerry west

    So i wanted to sell some like "world of warcraft ring" or "game of thrones ring" and i see them ALLLL over etsy/ebay/everywhere..
    They're not official products of those companies, they're just unbranded "like" products. Is it legal to sell these on your own website?

  56. Post
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    bjorn Olson

    I'm more worried about getting sued due to product malfunction. What sort of disclaimers do I need to be putting to protect myself from that? Snorkeling equipment, electronics possibly blowing up, jewelry choking someone, who knows what? How do I protect myself from liability?

  57. Post
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    BoSox SYCO

    I have a niche store and a general store. I want to protect my personal finances, so I have an LLC for for the niche store. My question is, do I need another LLC for the general store or is there a way to put it under the existing LLC?

    Thanks in advance

  58. Post
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    Yodasstuff

    How do you go about getting permission to use a trademarked item if you want want to use their logo? Do you get a hold of their marketing department to ask permission or find out how much it may cost to use their logo?

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    Negar Irankhah

    Hi thanks for all the helpfull videos! Can you make a video on electronic products, what to beware of before drop shipping? certifications, etc? thank you

  61. Post
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    _Galaxia_

    But whenever I find a product that doesn't have a brand it turns out that item is just a brand named item without the brand showing up on that item. Or a slightly worse version of a trademarked item. And there is no way to know if when you import a supposedly unbranded item if it's actually unbranded. What about items that have characters on them from established companies like Miku Hatsune? Are those off limit too?

    They REALLY advertised this as way easier than this actually is.

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    Chaise Wallis

    Soooo how are we supposed to know what is legally a trademarked item or counterfeit? Is it any product that has a brand name on it??

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    Janek

    I understand we shouldn't sell trade marked products unless obtaining a reseller's License and establishing an agreement of some sort, but what about patents of products by inventors of "generic items"? How can I be certain that I am allowed to sell that particular product since most people who come up with ideas usually get 5-10% of all sales. Thank you Sarah! Love your work 🙂

  66. Post
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    Dóra Tapolcai

    Hi Sarah! I have a quick question. I saw many people using the same advertisement for the same product. How is that possible? Can I also just take a random video from FB advertisements and start to use it for my product? Is that legal?🤔
    Please answer I’m clueless 😞

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    Tio Caiman

    AliExpress stole more than $100 from me! They never gave me my money back after I returned the defective item I bought. ALIEXPRESS IS A NEST OF SCAMMERS!!!!

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    Anna Gulevich

    Could you tell me please, can I use a text from Wikipedia to describe my products? ( for example – the text about Stirling silver, what’s that and how to take care after it) Thank you!

  73. Post
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    TheLeah2344

    I had one of my Instagram accounts suspended from selling phone cases because it was someone else’s art and AliExpress stole their art. I never sold phone cases after that again. I sell jewelry now.

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    Michiel Smets

    Quick question: If i use an AD from a product and cut it in pieces, change music, etc.. Can i use this one on my store? :/ is there any way i can use that AD? I see so many people doing this but its iligal? :/

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    Orr Burgel

    I must say, You are very good when it comes to making me click on your next video, its this logic you give for watching your next video that's what gets me lol

  80. Post
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    Audrey Caplette Charette

    Hi Sarah ! I'm working on a dropshipping projet and I was worried about the copyrights on the pictures udes by the suppliers… because there are models on it…. Can I still use the pictures on my website? Should I find an other niche insted? Thanks for your advice !

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    durandelodie7

    What about being sued if a customer get hurt by a product you’re selling. Like imagine, taking the example of the mugs, if a client get hurt by being burned holding it or exploding into their microwave, or even breaking into they’re hand? Thank you so much in advance for your time and help

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    Sherri Antonuccio

    I just received a DMCA takedown notice for a pair of sandals I wanted to dropship from Aliexpress. How do you know what pictures on Aliexpress are legit so this doesn't happen again? Thanks for your help.

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    Agung Hendramawan

    Great content !! I have a question, what about a branded product? I do not know whether it is counterfeit or not. I plan to put Hydro Flask water bottle in my store.

  93. Post
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    KartzHub

    Excellent Video and many thanks for this Value Added a video as it is very useful for multichannel sellers. You can sell on Amazon or eBay or any e-commerce website within less time by using best eCommerce selling website https://www.kartzhub.com

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    Narly Alien

    I really can not figure out what items on AliExpress are technically fully legal to dropship from the USA , to/around the USA )’; doesn’t everything on that website have a patent and is therefor illegal to sell?

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    PaulusSANtosoCI Widjaja

    Oh Gosh, there is a saying in Fukienese: u lang xiak lang bo lang xiak qwee. Phew! Thank you Sarah for sharing this video with us.

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