Can Selling Digital Products Get You In Trouble on Etsy?

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Miroslav Novohradsky
Founder of NechEmpire

I'm Miroslav, a passionate graphic designer, Etsy seller and AI enthusiast. At NechEmpire, I'm here to share my knowledge and skills. I want to turn...Read more

There is an idea of selling digital products on Etsy.

I’m talking about printables, graphics, fonts, or templates that people can download.

You know, this type of business can be profitable.

But you may be wondering – is it even allowed?

Could you get in trouble for it?

I’ve sold digital products on Etsy for a while now, so let me share my experiences with you.

I was nervous about getting in trouble at first too!

Etsy has a lot of rules about what you can and can’t sell.

They really crack down on physical products that copy others or use trademarked stuff without permission.

For example, you can’t sell a t-shirt with Mickey Mouse on it unless you get Disney’s okay.

Or make a mug with the Nike logo.

That’s asking for trouble!

Etsy would shut you down fast if you tried to sell those kinds of things.

With digital products though, it’s a bit different.

Common Issues With Digital Products on Etsy

Etsy can’t always easily see what’s inside your downloadable files before someone buys them.

So unless they get a complaint about one of your listings, they likely won’t even look at the contents.

That doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want though!

  • You still can’t use copyrighted characters, logos, or brands that you don’t have rights to.

If you sell a Disney font or Nike graphic templates, and they find out, you could be in big trouble.

Your Etsy shop might get banned!

I’ve heard stories of companies hiring special “IP police” firms.

Their job is to scan sites like Etsy looking for people using trademarks illegally. If they report you for intellectual property violations, Etsy will probably take your stuff down quickly.

But if you make completely original digital designs yourself, you should be okay.

As long as you accurately describe what’s included, you’re not misleading anyone. And of course, never ever use anything copyrighted unless you have legal permission.

One thing Etsy might look out for is if you have wayyyy more digital sales than one person could reasonably create all by themselves.

They could suspect you’re just reselling other people’s work, which isn’t allowed.

So if you’re making $10,000 a month selling digital products as just one person with a shop where there are thousands of listings, that might raise some red flags with Etsy.

They’ll wonder how you can physically produce that much content all on your own within their rules.

From my experience though, if you have a normal amount of digital sales for something you’re creating yourself,

Etsy doesn’t seem to automatically penalize you for it. They wait for specific complaints first before investigating.

I guess it makes sense – it would be pretty hard for them to thoroughly check the contents of every single digital product people list unless there’s an obvious issue brought to their attention.

  • Of course, your customers could potentially report problems with your digital files too.

If someone buys your downloadable graphics and feels ripped off because you stole them from elsewhere, they might complain. So again, just sharing your own original work is key.

But in my experience, most customers who buy digital products on Etsy don’t really care if there’s some minor intellectual property stuff going on inside, as long as they’re happy with what they got.

They likely won’t rat you out to Etsy over it.

I know that still doesn’t make it legal or ethical though!

You could still get in trouble regardless of whether a customer complains directly.

I’m just saying it seems less risky compared to obviously violating trademarks and copyrights on physical product listings.

Here is My Advice

So, my advice is to always be careful and use your best judgment.

Make 100% certain everything you sell, digital or physical, is your own original creation.

Don’t ever use any part of something that belongs to someone else, like characters, logos, or brands.

I’ve had my Etsy shop for over years now and never had any issues because I’m very careful about that stuff.

As long as you’re smart and ethical about it, selling digital products can be a fantastic way to make extra money online pretty easily.

But if you ever have any doubts or questions, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Feel free to ask Etsy’s support team to double check if something you want to sell is allowed.

They can definitely give you peace of mind.

So in summary – yes, you can get in trouble for selling improper digital stuff on Etsy, just like physical items.

But if you make sure it’s all your own hard work with no copyrighted pieces, you should be totally fine to make sales without Etsy giving you any grief!

It’s just a cool way to share your creativity with the world and earn a little extra cash at the same time.

So have fun with it, but always make sure you’re following Etsy’s rules and the law.

Hopefully, this gives you a better understanding of what you can and can’t do!

BONUS FOR YOU: Unleash your potential as a print-on-demand entrepreneur with this free guide – download now!

Special Etsy Bonus (for new shops only): Use this link to Get 40 Free Etsy Listings.


I have made an entire section of helpful and mostly free tools you can use to build a successful online business on Etsy. See the tools here.

Graphic Designs:

Kittl – A fantastic place with highly professional templates, that can be edited and used for print-on-demand. In my opinion, it is a go-to place for any person, who wants to make money with print-on-demand on Etsy. Try Kittl for free.

Another of my favorites is Creative Fabrica. They have millions of cheap graphics that can elevate your t-shirt design.

When I sell my designs on t-shirts or other POD products, I always vectorize them. This makes them scalable without losing the quality. For that process, I use Vectorizer which is powered by the latest AI technology.

Disclosure: Some of the links above may contain affiliate partnerships, meaning, at no additional cost to you, NechEmpire may earn a commission if you click through to make a purchase.

Personal picutre
Miroslav NovohradskyFounder of NechEmpire

I'm Miroslav, a passionate graphic designer, Etsy seller and AI enthusiast. At NechEmpire, I'm here to share my knowledge and skills. I want to turn your design passion into a successful online business.

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