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

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

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Afraid of getting sued when dropshipping? Watch this video!
Question 1: Will you get sued if you use product images from Aliexpress suppliers?

The answer to this is almost certainly no. In China, the culture around copyright is very different to the western world. In China, the culture around copyright is that if something can be easily copied and can benefit others, then that is more important than protecting the rights of a single individual. It is a cultural difference.

As a result, it’s very easy to get away with piracy in China, which is why pirated movies/music/games are sold freely on the streets. In fact, Chinese manufacturers copy each other all the time. Not only do they produce the same products, they steal images from each other. If you go to Aliexpress you will see that different manufacturers are producing the same items, and they are using the same images.

As a result, it is extremely unlikely that any Aliexpress supplier would try to pursue you in court for any copyright issues. If they were going to sue anyone – it would be the manufacturers that are copying them – although due to the cultural differences, that is also extremely unlikely.

If you’re still worried, you can contact the Aliexpress suppliers and ask them if they are OK with you reusing their images.

Question 2: How Can I Avoid Being Sued for Copyright Images?

They might not care in China if you copy images – but in the west, they sure do! Even if your website is not making any money, you can still be pursued legally and sued for using images without permission – so it’s very important that you don’t use copyrighted images on your website!

A good place to find images you can use is with Google Images:

1) Go to Google Images
2) Click settings.
3) Click advanced search.
4) Type in what you’re searching for.
5) Scroll down to usage rights. Select “free to use, share or modify, even commercially.”
6) Click search. You’ll be surprised at how many images you’re allowed to use!

So don’t get lazy and use images that are copyrighted. Use Google to find free images you’re allowed to use.

Question 3: Can I Sell Aliexpress Products that are Trademarked?

No – do NOT sell products that are trademarked. For example, in the video, Sarah compares two items – one that is a generic self-stir mug, and one that is a self-stir mug with Harry Potter imagery on it. Do NOT sell the Harry Potter mug, as it is illegal.

If you sell products with trademarks, you aren’t just risking getting sued – you’re risking having legal action taken against you.

50 Comments

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

  2. is it legal to use aliexpress reviews in your store

  3. Hi Sarah, I was wondering if I can sell Beyonce phone cases from aliexpress?

  4. How do I tell I determine if an item is trademarked?

  5. so If Im Selling Watches On My Store And One Of Them Has A Name On the face of the watch i cant sell it? so basically i have to find a supplier that doesn't have a brand name which is like what…Not real?

  6. Sarah, thanks for this video. Very helpful. But I still have a question, how can you know a product is trademarked or not? I found some pretty phone cases on Aliexpress and would like to drop ship them. But I also found some other drop shippers are already selling some of them and on Etsy there are some sellers already did this. How can I know that those phone cases are not trademarked though? Many thanks.

  7. Piracy in China has occurred for 100's of years, it is documented in coin catalogs in the 1890's.

  8. ok fine, but how to know whether the brand is trademarked or not…as there are many chinese brand also in aliexpress

  9. you don't BLINk much do you!?!

  10. Then how people are doing dropshipping on amazon, buying stuff from walmart and selling it on amazon

  11. What if your Ali express supplier is using images unlawfully? I heard of one guy who got sued because of this even though he got his images from Ali express, he got sued and not his supplier

  12. i had a friend who had a friend and that friend befriended a third friend who never knew of the other friends and now those friends are not friends anymore.

  13. Thanks for this video. You covered copyright and trademark but what about patented items? Wouldn't it be easy to accidentally infringe on a company's patent when importing items from China via AliExpress? How does one avoid that issue?

  14. I’ve got a question – theres tons of products on aliexpress that are branded and got trademark which we can’t sell. so how we determine which is which easily?

  15. Or you know, just not order from them because they steal from small named artists. Pretty messed up if you want to help others get away with it.

  16. Ok how do we know the items are trademark from Aliexpress ? For example if you sell a pair of socks the pack may have a weird company name you never hear of .

  17. The problem is not actually getting sued by Chinese people, but getting sued by non Chinese persons who's images have been stolen by the Chinese, then you copy them and use them unknowingly.

  18. Can someone answer this for me. I copied a video ad for my shopify store product but removed their name and put my own and cahnged the song, same video though, is that illegal?

  19. Good communication skills,
    Thanks for the informative video

  20. Hello. Your video has clarified s few questions I had. However, I'm not sure about something. Almost everything on Aliexpress has a brand. How does a product not trademarked look like? I'm a bit confused about this. Thank you.

  21. I love it the way you inform us in a very down to earth way!! I want to ask something, some product images have the name of the supplier on it, is it better to take it off? I suppose keeping it in on is not a good idea, for your own business sake…. Thanks for your answer.

  22. I was looking at a Game of Thrones regular mug that you just drink out of. A regular mug with just a picture of the TV show Game of Thrones is that trademarked also?

  23. what about movie and video games action figures ?

  24. Hey newbie question from a fellow NZer…in terms of protecting yourself as a kiwi doing business in USA do you run your business through a LLC formed in the USA or NZ? I suppose it also depends on how you can avoid the most tax on your profits?

  25. So what if that self stir mug was trademarked. It isn’t a trademark like Harry Potter but it would still be trademarked. Then I guess it couldn’t be sold unless you got permission.

  26. Do you agree to place the Refund & Shipping details clearly not only in the FAQ's section but also on each individual product your selling to reinforce the details of both & use it to protect you if there's impatient customers?

  27. So if I buy a mug at a restaurant and then sell it is this not allowed to your knowledge?

  28. Regarding question #3 starting at https://youtu.be/DtEkAyKapds?t=5m36s How are we (realistically) ever supposed to know if something is trademarked? Your example regarded Harry Potter, which is something nearly everyone is going to know as trademarked. However, what if there's a t-shirt that says Nirvana on it, but not sure if it refers to the band or the noun?

  29. you are so smart i think einstein hate you

  30. Ok if I am understanding all of it I can't do trademark and products with logos?

  31. Hi, I must say great videos! I would like to know if I need to register LLC to start dropshipping from aliexpress? If I don't have to, how I'm gonna collect the sales tax?

  32. well this isn't a good ad for china

  33. Sounds like all your friends are criminals

  34. what about the images with models

  35. Pls speak slowly, i am having problems to absorb the info.. Anyway good info..

  36. Can we be sued by the models (or modelling agency) modelling the clothing or accessories if we are taking photos from these aliexpress sellers?
    If the suppliers are legally finding their own models then it seems asking the supplier for permission is sufficient. But it’s a bit vague if they are using the model’s face illegally?

  37. Hi Sarah I got a question. Could you get sue by typing words on your product descriptions that match a copyright name or so? And how could I avoid it? Thanks a lot for your anwers. BTW I love your channel! !!!!!!!

  38. QUESTION ____would it be bad to get the ones that said( No epacket/ what happens if i decide to ? and why do we have a choice on the front page of aliexpress ( No epaket & epacket) in the first place .

  39. Hi Sarah I thought you could sale name brand products on your website if you have a resellers license

  40. How do I check if a product is trademarked? I have a troll who is consistently (anonymously) digging up products from our site and threatening to advise the authors. I really have no intention of selling knock offs and to the best of my knowledge they weren't, but this person is on a mission to see us fail and seems it's working. Im talking homewares, don't even know how their finding the originals. Clearly someone knows the industry. I've even asked the suppliers if they are copies and they assured me not, but still in hot water. Please help me discover what are generic products.

  41. I don't like your mouth area

  42. i love your videos <3

  43. Except google filters are not accurate.

  44. So what about the BOBO BIRD watches. Can we sell them? BOBO BIRD is acting as a brand in china. Thanks for advice

  45. What can I legally sell? Please make a video on that. Don’t want to get in trouble of any kind.

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