Zazzle removes mug for hypothetical copyright infringement

Instapaper creator Marco Arment used Zazzle to sell a mug. The mug was emblazoned with a fictional Amazon/Appstore-style review lampooning foolish, entitled users. Zazzle removed it because the "design contains an image or text that may be subject to copyright", and cancelled more than 100 outstanding orders. [Marco] Update: Reinstated!


  1. The one thing I hate about mugs, is that they all seem to be made for left-handers. 

    By that I mean the graphic they often print on mugs, witty and pithy as they may be, should be on the side of the mug other people can read/see when I’m holding it enjoying a beverage. 

    If it’s my mug –  I own it, have to wash it everyday and generally see it a lot. I’m familiar with the funny/witty/pithy image/text/icon that’s on it and I want to share it because, well, it’s pithy!

    But as a right hander, you never get to see it unless I rotate it to show you the side facing me. 

    It’s time for this left-handed mug conspiracy to end.

    Also, there’s no free shipping to Canada.

    1. it must be a conspiracy because you can choose where to place the images on the mugs in Zazzle. I try to have them opposite the handle, so the image is visable until mug is lifted for drinking.

    2. I’m left-handed, and I say CRY MORE RIGHTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! would it hurt you to use your left hand for just this one thing? I have to use your right-handed items all other times of the day!


      I remember noticing this phenomenon the day I got my “WTF?” mug from thinkgeek a few years ago.  I actually went around to other people’s desks to look at the mugs they had and sure enough, if it was not exact opposite of the handle, the objects were facing the user in the right hand orientation.

    3. Well now, if one observes proper etiquette, before sipping the coffee, you are to rotate the cup 3 times in your hand, admiring it’s decorative surface, perhaps even commenting to the host on the beauty of the design and/or cleverness of the printed quip before partaking of the liquid stimulant. 

  2. So uh…yeah.  I guess Zazzle determined that the shape Star (TM) (C) and that a rating of 1-5 of them is copyrighted and trademarked. :/

  3. It’s back…! Zazzle reviewed the case and decided to reinstate the mug. Even better, you can now get 50% off AND free shipping with the code USELESSMUG50

  4. Hmm, if I were to post THAT review of that mug anywhere — say on the Amazon page for “Babysitting Mama”, or in the comments for a YouTube video of cats barfing — I would technically be violating the mug’s copyright, but Zazzle would probably see it the other way around, and would take the mug away again.

    So, please, nobody post that particular bad review of that mug in any obscure corner of the Internet.

    Wait, I forgot that telling people on the Internet not to do something causes the opposite to happen. So, please, nobody read what I wrote above. Also, don’t copy my comment to any other Web sites. To enforce that, I’m going to copy my comment onto a mug (using a green felt-tip marker) and then Zazzle won’t let you have this comment. So there.

    Personally, I think that mug is a brilliant idea, but I still won’t buy it because I know better than to buy anything with feedback that bad.

  5. my ex had several products featuring photos of our cats pulled for copyright flags, too. zazzle is ridiculous. they thrive on copyright violation, but don’t police anything themselves.

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