Switching Styles is selling our fantastic merch on Redbubble as a way to finance the publication to let it continually support itself and the readership we’ve grown to love.
What are you selling on Redbubble?
To start, the products range from t-shirts to coffee mugs, to laptop cases, to socks, to masks and so much more. Check out some of them below or at Redbubble!
What are Redbubble’s margins?
Redbubble takes care of the actual creation, manufacturing, and distribution of the product. Switching styles merely provide the creative element and promote our own works of art. Our margin is between 15% and 20% of what the purchase price is. furthermore, the user has a degree of choice to choose the price of the product by changing the profit margins in the backend of Redbubble.
What is included in Redbubble’s user Agreement?
A ‘clickwrap’ is an agreement typically formed through the internet where the terms and conditions of the website must be agreed to before accessing certain parts of the website.
Redbubble is a print on demand e-commerce site that aims at facilitating artists in selling their artwork on a range of products. This is the user agreement that “[makes] this online destination for creativity available, it is essentially all Redbubble users respect the intellectual property rights of others, including copyright and trademarks”, explains the contract (User Agreement, Introduction P. 1).
That being said, the contract used here is used to provide access to the site’s main purpose – sales. This is a contract that utilizes all the essential elements of a contract including the intention, offer, acceptance, exchange of values, capacity, and legality.
Who are the parties to the contract?
In this contract, the parties include Redbubble including Redbubble Ltd (ABN 119 200 592), Redbubble Inc., Redbubble Europe ( “Redbubble”, “we”, “us”, “our”), as well as the one utilizing the site (“user”, “you”, “your”) (user agreement, Legal agreement Page 2). This is essentially anyone that utilizes the website in any capacity.
It also includes ‘Members’, which are those with a password-protected account (Redbubble, members p. 2). This means that anyone that creates an account to make a purchase, follow the Redbubble blog, upload their own content, or sell their artwork.
This is the capacity in which I’m a part of the contract. I have an account through Redbubble to upload my own content and sell it through Redbubble and their affiliates.
What could you do if you have a complaint with RedBubble?
Redbubble provides a service that enables users “to publish, sell, discuss and purchase art; interact with other members; and receive the benefits of Redbubble’s facilitation of product fulfillment, including payment processing, customer services, third-party product manufacturing (Our Service p. 2). This unfortunately comes with disputes. In the contract, they clearly define a section for dispute resolution on page eight.
The legal proceedings they mention are very specific and ultimately benefit Redbubble as the writer of the document.
“This User Agreement and all disputes relating to this User Agreement or relating to your use of any part of the Redbubble service will be exclusively resolved under confidential binding arbitration held in San Francisco, California. All disputes will be resolved in accordance with the Rules of JAMS, applying California law, without regard to conflicts of law principles” (User Agreement, Dispute Resolution P. 8).
However, if that is unsatisfactory, Redbubble “may seek injunctive or other equitable relief, from a court of competent jurisdiction”. This is again from the side of Redbubble (Redbubble User Agreement, Dispute Resolution P. 8). They ensure more control over disputes by limiting the kind of actions that can be taken. Additionally, they ensure that a dispute cannot become a class, consolidated or representative action by stating, “any dispute resolution proceedings will be conducted only on an individual basis” (User Agreement, Dispute Resolution P. 8).
Members and users can still provide a complaint and get it dealt with. To file a dispute about this agreement, the user must start the resolution within one year of the cause of action or else it’s a void complaint.
Is the contract in simple plain English?
It’s in plain English, which is very important when you’re dealing with the public.
For example, look at the content section of the user agreement.
“ You keep the copyright in any content you submit or upload to the website. To receive the Redbubble services, you grant Redbubble a non-exclusive royalty-free license to use and archive the content in accordance with or as reasonably contemplated by this agreement. When you submit or upload content on the website you represent and warrant that: you own all copyright in the content, or if you are not the owner, that you have permission to use the content, and that you have all of the rights required to display, reproduce and sell the content; the content you upload will not infringe the intellectual property rights or other rights of any person or entity, including copyright, moral rights, trademark, patent or rights of privacy or publicity; your use of the website will comply with all applicable law, rules and regulations; the content does not contain material that defames or vilifies any person, people, races, religion or religious group and is not obscene, pornographic, indecent, harassing, threatening, harmful, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, abusive, inflammatory or otherwise objectionable; the content does not include malicious code, including but not limited to viruses, trojan horses, worms, time bombs, cancelbots, or any other computer programming routines that may damage, interfere with, surreptitiously intercept, or expropriate any system, program, data, or personal information; and the content is not misleading and deceptive and does not offer or disseminate fraudulent goods, services, schemes, or promotions” (User Agreement, Putting content on the Redbubble site P. 3)..Redbubble User Agreement. Us.- Rb., March 2019.
This section clearly outlines what’s allowed in terms of uploadable content in a clear and precise form. These are not jargon terms that the average person wouldn’t know. However, it may be said that the terms describing types of malware are jargon, but those are really to exemplify malicious code and the intent them. Those that are unaware of the terms’ meanings wouldn’t typically have the skill or knowledge to incorporate malware into the designs themselves.
What say does Redbubble have on my artwork?
While this contract is fairly straightforward, there is some ambiguous text. This typically happens when two people have a difference of opinion or understanding of the text’s meaning.
One of these is from the content section which tells users what they can and can’t upload to the site. It explains that Redbubble, “reserves the right to review and if in its sole discretion deemed necessary, remove any content from the website and/or cancel your account, because that content breaches your agreement with us and / or any applicable laws, or otherwise” (User Agreement, Putting content on the Redbubble site P. 3).
The ambiguous nature comes from the terms otherwise. What does that mean exactly? Although this may seem like it’s ambiguous, it’s rather straightforward. The phrase itself is intended to mean that Redbubble is able to remove content or cancel an account for a user based on this user agreement.
What legal principle of contractual interpretation is used in the Redbubble User Agreement?
Through this clause it allows Redbubble to have the final say on users that contradict the user agreement or otherwise, breach the contract put in place.
There are three kinds of contractual interpretations that can be used when there is a kind of ambiguous wording. The first is the literal approach that takes the words at their plain, ordinary, definition meaning. The second is the contextual approach that is based on the intent of the circumstances of the parties. The third is the Golden rule that limits absurdity or unreasonable consequences. These are typically interpreted against the party that worded the contract. In this case, it would be Redbubble.
In all cases, the interpretations will be in the best interest of continued mutually beneficial commerce relationship. The most simplified interpretation would be to refer to the rest of the document for finding an agreement. Although the term ‘otherwise’ is vague it does make sense that it refers to the rest of the contract’s terms and conditions.
Redbubble User Agreement. Us.- Rb., March 2019.
McInnes, Mitchell, et al. Managing the Law. Pearson Education Canada, 2019.