Revision History - Prohibited Items Policy
Show other documents from
Version Comments
Etsy now removes content that "promotes prohibited medical claims, such as anti-vaccine items".
"Housing" added to the list of items that Etsy does not permit to sell.
Several clarifications throughout.
A few small clarifications made.
Terms related to "Authentic crafts made by Alaskan Natives" have been removed.
Changes under "Weapons".
Changes under "Hate Items", and "Internationally Regulated Items".
One of the items under "Reading Materials" has been removed.
"Vintage Black Americana items" has been removed from the Hate Items section.
References to Etsy Studio added.
Changes to "Hazardous Materials" and "Internationally Regulated Items".
Changes to the "Internationally Regulated Items" section.
Section 2 has been renamed to "Animal Products and Human Remains" and updated.
A new paragraph has been added on "Restrictions on descriptions of purported health benefits", under the "Alcohol, Tobacco, Drugs, Drug Paraphernalia, and Medical Drugs" section.
The section on alcohol has been updated ("certain intoxicating herbal substances" has been changed to "certain herbal substances").
Items of North Korean origin are now also restricted (see the section "Internationally Regulated Items" for more information).
Sections updated: "4. Hate Items: Items that Promote, Support or Glorify Hatred" and "6. Internationally Regulated Items".
Minor phrasing change under section 4, "Hate Items: Items that Promote, Support, or Glorify Hatred".
Some of the examples of items that may not be sold on Etsy have been updated.
"Donating proceeds of sold items to charities..." has been removed from the section "Examples of What is Allowed".
The item "personal lubricant" has been removed from the list of what is allowed if properly marked as "Mature".
This is the initial version that ParanoidPaul captured. It is not necessarily the first version of the document.
Indicates that the document has been updated silently, without a change to the posted "last modified" date!

	Etsy is not a curated marketplace. However, for a variety of reasons, we prohibit certain types of items from the Etsy marketplace. Some items present legal risks to our community; others are inconsistent with our values, are harmful to our members, or simply are not in the spirit of Etsy. This policy explains what is prohibited or restricted on Etsy.  

	This policy is a part of our Terms of Use. By opening an Etsy shop, you’re agreeing to this policy and our Terms of Use. 

	The following types of items are prohibited or restricted on Etsy: 

	1. Alcohol, Tobacco, Drugs, Drug Paraphernalia, and Medical Drug Claims
2. Animals and Certain Animal Products
3. Dangerous Items: Hazardous Materials, Recalled Items, and Weapons
4. Hate Items: Items that Promote, Support, or Glorify Hatred
5. Illegal Items, Items Promoting Illegal Activity, and Highly Regulated Items
6. Internationally Regulated Items
7. Pornography and Mature Content
8. Violent Items: Items that Promote, Support, or Glorify Violence 

	Policy decisions are complex. We consider many different and often divergent factors before coming to a decision about what is best for our community. Because we are a creative community, we err on the side of freedom of expression. We also tend to allow items that have educational, historical, or artistic value, but we know that even those items are subject to a variety of valid and sometimes conflicting interpretations and emotional responses. 

	Art and history can be provocative, emotional, and divisive. There are some topics on which we may never reach a consensus as a community, and that is okay. In the words of Joyce Carol Oates, “art should not be comforting; for comfort, we have mass entertainment and one another. Art should provoke, disturb, arouse our emotions, expand our sympathies in directions we may not anticipate and may not even wish.” 

	In order to help provide clarity and insight into our policy making process, we have included the rationale behind our decisions and details about how they will be enforced, including some representative examples below of what is allowed on Etsy. 


	Alcohol and drugs are prohibited on Etsy. These substances face serious legal restrictions and in many cases are considered controlled substances under applicable law. Our policy also applies to other substances that have or claim to have an intoxicating or healing effect. Possible legal restrictions aside, these substances simply are not in the spirit of Etsy and we therefore do not allow them. 


	The following are examples of items that may not be sold on Etsy: 

	 Alcohol and Tobacco products
 	 E-cigarettes and E-liquid, including all forms of vaporisers and smokeables and their components (such as atomisers, drip tips, and e-cigarette batteries).
 	 Drugs and certain intoxicating herbal substances, including substances used for recreational and medicinal purposes, regardless of their legality
 	 Drug paraphernalia, including for example, items with a carburettor; slides and/or items with a slide; bongs and bubblers; and vaporisers (including electronic cigarettes)
 	 Medical drugs or listings that contain medical drug claims. Medical Drug claims are statements that claim a causal relationship between a substance and the prevention, healing, or treatment of a physical condition or disease. A listing must not make such claims in the presentation of an item, including the title, description, tags, or images in the listing.


	Beer brewing kits 

	Baked goods containing alcohol Example: Mini Baba au Rum Cake

	Hookahs Example: Vintage Hookah

	Tobacco pipes 

	Empty alcohol bottles and items made from them Example: Wine Bottle Serving Tray

	RESOURCES: Small Business Assistance from the Federal Drug Administration; U.S. FDA and FTC for information about medical drug claims; US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives 


	Certain animal products are highly regulated and due to the risk of harm to live, companion, or endangered animals, are not in in the spirit of Etsy. 


	The following are examples of animal products that may not be sold on Etsy: 

	 Live Animals
 	 Items derived from or created using any animal species designated as threatened or endangered by the US Endangered Species Act, including the following animals and all subspecies: Alligator; Bear; Cheetah; Chimpanzee; Chinchilla; Elkhorn and Staghorn Coral; Cougar; Eagle; Elephant; Gorilla; Jaguar; Lemur; Leopard; Lion; Lynx; Monkey; Ocelot; Rhinoceros; Seal; Sea-lion; Tiger; Wallaby; Whale; Zebra
 	 Items made from cat and dog parts or pelts as defined by US Federal Law.
 	 Ivory or bones from ivory-producing animals such as whales or elephants are also prohibited, including tusks, elk ivory, fossilised ivory, and woolly mammoth ivory.
 	 Items made from human remains, except for teeth and hair.


	Authentic crafts made by Alaskan Natives if they are exempt under Section 10e of the US Endangered Species Act. Example: Alaskan Native Seal Skin Boots

	Non-Ivory Animal Bones and Antlers Example: Snake Bone Necklace

	Leather Goods Example: Leather Bag

	Textiles Made from Animal Hair Example: Authentic Mohair Scarf

	Human Teeth or Hair Example: Mini Bottle with Human Hair

	RESOURCES: Endangered Species Act; Prohibition on Importation of Dog and Cat Fur Products 

	We expect all of our members to follow their local laws. If you are shipping items across international borders you should also consult CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) for specific information about importing and exporting items that may be threatened due to the nature of this trade. If you sell products containing feathers, you should also consult the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. 


	For safety reasons and due to complex legal regulations surrounding certain items, we ask that our members not sell items that could be considered dangerous. 



	Due to the potential harm caused by hazardous materials, as well as complex legal regulations surrounding such materials, including shipping restrictions, hazardous materials are prohibited on Etsy. 

	While not exhaustive, the following materials are examples of prohibited hazardous materials: 

	 Explosives (fireworks or sparklers)
 	 Flammable items (including liquids or loose matches)
 	 Radioactive material
 	 Toxic substances (such as poisons)


	Items that have been recalled by governments or manufacturers are prohibited from being sold on Etsy. A few examples of items that have been recalled are certain vintage Corning Ware percolators, lawn darts, and drop side cribs. 

	Items that present an unreasonable risk of harm are prohibited, even if they have not been the subject of a recall. This would include, for example, items that present a choking hazard. We generally rely on information from various government agencies to identify these items. 


	Context matters when it comes to defining what is or is not a weapon. When in doubt, it’s safe to assume that we won’t allow any tool or instrument that is intended to be used as a weapon to inflict harm on a person. The following items are generally not allowed on Etsy: 

	 Guns, knives, or other blatant weapons (even if they are vintage) 
 	 Imitation weapons that look real or are prohibited by US law


	Culinary knives or other knives used as tools (More information on knives is available here.) Example: Vintage Kitchen Knives - Collectibles

	Letter openers 

	Toy Slingshots 

	Airsoft guns and other non-harmful toy guns (with some restrictions) Example: Vintage Ray Gun (toy)

	RESOURCES: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; FMCSA’s Guide to Complying with Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations; US Federal Government's Guide to Recalled Items; US Code of Federal Regulations on Imitation Firearms; US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA); Etsy CPSIA Team; Australian Competition & Consumer Commission's (ACCC) Product Safety; European Commission's Consumer Safety; US Consumer Product Safety Commission's Resellers Guide to Selling Safer Products 


	We want Etsy to be a community where people of all backgrounds, nationalities, religions, political affiliations, and even different types of artistic taste and humour feel welcome. Art is incredibly subjective, and what is offensive to one is not necessarily offensive to others. Vintage items can have educational and historical value, but they can also trigger painful memories of tragic events throughout history. 


	Etsy does not allow items or listings that promote, support or glorify hatred toward people or otherwise demean people based upon: race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, disability, or sexual orientation (collectively, “protected groups”) or items or content that promote organisations or people with such views.  

	The following items are not allowed on Etsy: 

	 Items that support or commemorate current or historical hate groups, including propaganda or collectibles. Examples of hate groups include Nazi or Neo-Nazi groups, Ku Klux Klan (KKK) groups, white supremacist groups, misogynist groups, or groups that advocate an anti-gay, anti-immigrant, or Holocaust denial agenda.
 	 Items that contain racial slurs or derogatory terms in reference to protected groups.


	We tend to allow items that have educational, historical, or artistic value, but we know that even those items are subject to a variety of valid and sometimes conflicting interpretations. Recognising that there may be no consensus on their educational, historical, or artistic value, the following items are generally allowed on Etsy: 

	Vintage (but not newly-created) Black Americana items (such as “golliwog” dolls) Example: Vintage Golliwog Doll - Black Americana History

	Religious symbols, including swastikas when used in peaceful or religious context (often in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism) Example: Vintage Buddhist Swastika Pendant

	Items that use idiomatic expressions that include the word “Nazi,” such as “grammar Nazi” or “soup Nazi” Example: Grammar “Nazi” Print

	Items denouncing or mocking groups or historical figures that have a history of organised, targeted violence against protected groups Example: Photograph of Anti Nazi Graffiti

	RESOURCES: Federal Bureau of Investigation’s webpage on Hate Crimes 


	We respect the law and expect Etsy sellers to respect the law as well. 


	Illegal items and items that promote illegal activity, including counterfeit or stolen items, are generally not allowed on Etsy. Neither are certain items that are subject to complex legal regulations or registration systems. Because Etsy is a global company, it’s important to abide by the laws of the markets in which you are selling. What is legal in one country may be illegal in another. All forms of illegal activity are strictly prohibited. In addition, listings may not facilitate or promote illegal acts through images or descriptions. 

	Additionally, due to complex legal restrictions that vary by location, Etsy does not permit the sale of real estate or motor vehicles (for example: automobiles, motorcycles, boats, travel trailers, etc.). 

	We require sellers to follow all applicable laws for the items they list. Examples of items, which may be subject to regulation, include Native American crafts, plants and seeds, and food products. 


	Our marketplace provides a direct connection between buyers and sellers around the world. That means that when you enter into a transaction across international borders, you are responsible for complying with international trade restrictions, including restrictions put into place by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), regardless of your location. 


	In the United States, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) at the US Department of the Treasury administers various economic and trade sanctions. These programmes prohibit dealing with certain designated persons and targeted countries. Because Etsy is a US-based company, all members who buy and sell on Etsy are subject to these restrictions, even if they live outside the United States. For example, this includes restrictions on: 

	 Transactions involving the countries of Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria, or involving any individual or organisation located in those countries
 	 Transactions involving any item of Cuban or Syrian origin
 	 Transactions involving Cuban nationals
 	 Imports from North Korea
 	 Transactions involving jadeite or rubies from Burma (Myanmar)
 	 Any transaction or dealing with an individual or entity specifically identified by OFAC, notably those listed on OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals (“SDN”) List or Foreign Sanctions Evaders (“FSE”) List

	Etsy’s policies prohibit our members worldwide from engaging in any transaction that would violate OFAC sanctions. While we attempt to protect our members from unwittingly violating these laws by preventing certain prohibited transactions, it is up to each seller and buyer to ensure that he or she is familiar with—and compliant with—OFAC regulations. 

	Etsy members can consult the OFAC website for complete information about the various sanctions programs administered by the US Department of the Treasury: 

	In addition, Etsy members should be aware that other countries may have their own set of trade restrictions, and that certain items may not be allowed for export or import under foreign laws. You should consult the laws of any foreign jurisdiction when contemplating a transaction involving the shipment of goods overseas. 

	Finally, Etsy members should be aware that third-party payment processors, such as PayPal, may independently monitor transactions for sanctions compliance and may block some transactions as part of their own compliance programs. Etsy has no authority or control over the independent decision-making of these providers. 


	Items which aren’t from Cuba, but are Cuban style, such as “Cuban shirts” Example: Cuban Style Fedora Hat

	Informational materials such as art, books, film, photos, or music Example: Vintage Biography of Fidel Castro

	Jade or rubies which did not originate from or pass through Burma Example: Mexican Jade Letter Opener

	RESOURCES: US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Sanctions 


	As a creative community, we tend to be fairly liberal about what we allow on Etsy, but we draw the line at pornography. Beyond that, we restrict mature content so that people who are offended by this kind of material don't have to see it. If you are selling mature content, we ask that you understand that there are differing sensibilities around the world and that you try to be respectful. 


	Pornography of any sort is prohibited on Etsy, whereas mature content is restricted. 

	Although pornography can be difficult to define, an item generally qualifies as pornography when it is a particularly extreme or explicit version of mature content. 

	We define mature content as depictions of male or female genitalia, sexual activity or content, profane language, violent images (within reason; see also Violent Items), and explicit types or representations of taxidermy. 

	Mature content must be properly listed and tagged as such. Not all nudity is considered mature, and examples of non-mature nudity are listed below. If you find yourself questioning whether your item is mature, then it is likely a good idea to assume that it is mature content, and you should label it as such. 

	When deciding whether mature content crosses over the threshold into pornography, we take into consideration how realistically mature image or images are portrayed, and the explicitness of depictions of sexual activity or content. 


	Non-pornographic nude photography and depictions of breasts Example: Authentic Tribal Photograph

	Non-pornographic depictions of buttocks Example: Fine Art Photograph of Nude Man

	Abstracted or cartoonish depictions, within reason Example: Cartoon Men and Women Nude Print


	 Mature language
 	 Violent images (within reason; see also Violent Items)
 	 Sexual wellness items, such as dildos, vibrators, and BDSM items

	RESOURCES: Etsy Seller Handbook Guide to Editing Mature Images; Etsy Help Content on Listing Mature Content Correctly 


	We want Etsy to be a safe place for everyone. While violent content can be a legitimate part of historical, educational, or artistic expression, it should never be used to promote or glorify violent acts against others. 


	We do not allow Items or listings that promote, support or glorify acts of violence or harm towards self or others, including credible threats of harm or violence towards self or others. 

	The following items are not allowed on Etsy: 

	 Items that glorify human suffering or tragedies, including items that commemorate or honour serial killers
 	 Items that attempt to exploit natural disasters or human tragedies
 	 Items that encourage, glorify, or celebrate acts of violence against individuals or groups
 	 Items that encourage self-mutilation, starvation, or other self-harm


	Fictional literary or art work (such as zombies, vampires, or other fictional works that tend to contain violence) Example: Real Looking Zombie Photo

	Items that have educational, historical, or artistic value Example: Real Photograph of a Protest in Ukraine

	Items that show support or bring awareness to those at risk of self-harm, including those with eating disorders  Example: Suicide Awareness Poster

	BDSM items (See Pornography and Mature Content for additional information) Example: BDSM Ball Gag & Whip

	Donating proceeds of sold items to charities, as long as you follow these guidelines 

	We hope these guidelines are helpful, but we cannot catalogue every permitted or prohibited item. We reserve the right to remove listings that we determine are not within the spirit of Etsy. Such listings will be removed from the site, and the member's selling privileges may be suspended and/or terminated. 

	If you see something on Etsy that appears to violate these rules, you can report it to us. At the bottom of a listing page, you can click Report this item to Etsy. To report copyright or intellectual property infringement, please follow the instructions in Etsy's Intellectual Property Policy. 

	For all other reports, or for any questions, please contact Etsy Support. 


	In crafting these policies, we found a number of thoughtful essays and articles. Here are a few that we found illuminating: 

	Sexism, Racism and Other -isms in Library Materials (1973) 

	“It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society each individual is free to determine for himself what he wishes to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive.... We realize that application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.” 

	How the world loved the swastika - until Hitler stole it, BBC News Magazine, October 22, 2014 

	Should Blacks Collect Racist Memorabilia? The Root, June 2013 

	Understanding the American Indian Mascot Issue, STAR (Students and Teachers Against Racism 

	Keeping Kids From Toy Guns: How One Mother Changed Her Mind, The Atlantic, Aug. 9, 2013 

	Toy Guns: Do They Lead to Real-Life Violence? WebMd, December 1, 2011 

	Why Gun Play Is Still OK, The Huffington Post, September 29, 2012 

	Art And Violence, The Huffington Post, September 18, 2014 

	When the master of peace did violence, The Guardian, October 25, 2003 

	Last updated on 02 Oct, 2015

If you'd like to be notified when makes updates to documents like this, choose which ones you'd like to subscribe to today (it's free!).