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Tag Archive: Copyright infringement


 

Unbelievable… after copycats still stealing our designs from Society6, Cafepress and Zazzle the next can of worms has just been opened! Are you a designer/artist on Design by Humans (DBH)? Then you should definitely check out these Society6 members and “their” designs since they have stolen images right off DBH!

https://society6.com/search/prints?q=DBH+artist

I have just searched through one user (Isabeli) and clicked through over 80 pages of stolen and copied designs to find mine. And I have reported them to Society6, maybe you would like to do the same?

Here is the link to Society6’s contact page:

https://help.society6.com/hc/en-us/categories/200300807-I-m-an-Artist

I have chosen “Intellectual property concerns” and here is the message I have sent to Society6 so that you can use it as an example hoping to make it easier for you, especially when you are not good in English:

 

Dear Society6 Team,

I have been notified of other artists that the artwork we have uploaded to designbyhumans.com (DBH) has been stolen and uploaded to Society6 to several accounts.
Please take a look at my DBH profile and then find all artwork uploaded by Society6 user “Isabeli” as direct links. I request that you remove his/her account immediately. I will also send this message to DBH.

My profile with my artwork on DBH:
http://www.designbyhumans.com/shop/stine1online

My profile with my artwork on Society6:
https://society6.com/stine1

Copies by Isabeli:

https://society6.com/product/blue-wormhole-in-spac_print#s6-6190177p4a1v45
https://society6.com/product/santa-monica-pier-pop_print#s6-6194315p4a1v45
https://society6.com/product/ghostly-green-santa-m_print#s6-6194299p4a1v45
https://society6.com/product/chichen-itza-temple-o_print#s6-6191658p4a1v45
https://society6.com/product/abstract-rainbow-palm_print#s6-6215856p4a1v45
https://society6.com/product/blue-seattle-space-ne_print#s6-6215632p4a1v45
https://society6.com/product/sparkling-grey-santa_print#s6-6213051p4a1v45
https://society6.com/product/blue-and-turquoise-ic_print#s6-6212160p4a1v45
https://society6.com/product/isla-saona-caribbean_print#s6-6211259p4a1v45

Please note that Isabeli is not the only one stealing our work, here you can find all infringing accounts:
https://society6.com/search/prints?q=DBH+artist

I surely hope that Society6 will do something about this case of copyright infringement. DBH is informed and they say that they have also contacted Society6 on this topic and are waiting on a reply. I will try to keep you posted here, too!

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Are you a designer on Zazzle, Society6, Cafepress oder other print on demand shops and a victom of blatant (mostly Chinese) copycat who sell cheap items with your original designs on Amazon? Many of us are affected, if not most. It happens with our most popular designs and our least popular designs alike. Anyone can be their victim and Amazon does little to help us.

Society6 and Cafepress do nothing to help us either. As far as I know, Zazzle (as of now) is the only site that really cares and tries to help their designers. They have understood that these cheap copies also hurt Zazzle’s reputation and earnings. We are not alone in this! Zazzle has even managed to make the process of reporting copies a bit easier for us, there is no need to repeatedly fill out Amazon.com’s online form!

I am writing this blog post as some kind of manual on how to find copies, how to report copies and what else there is you can do to fight back. Be warned, it will be tedious and annoying. You might even cry because it seems to be impossible to solve this but remember: The worst is to not even try it.

Please note that this “easy” process does only work with Amazon.com and there will also be copies on Amazon’s country pages (like Amazon.fr, Amazon.de and so on) that will NOT be removed via email. You will still need to hunt them down separately since they do have their own product numbers (ASIN) and you will need to fill out the online form for the respective country page. This might be a separate blog post in the future. Let’s concentrate on Amazon.com first.

How to find copies of my work?

Whether it will be easy to find your work or not depends on the amount of designs you have published online on sites like Zazzle, Society6 and Cafepress. Simply go to Amazon.com and search for titles or as unique keywords as you can imagine. I myself like to open my Society6 profile and then copy and paste each and every title of my designs from Society6 to Amazon – one by one – until I find something. This is tedious and works best when you are using the same titles on all pod websites. You could also concentrate on your 10 most popular designs on Society6 and Zazzle but then you might miss out a design. I have one design that I have never sold on Zazzle or Society6 but it keeps popping up on Amazon so you can never know what copycats like and sell.

Let’s take a look at a very popular example that keeps popping up every few weeks, the title on all pod websites is “Scenic Caribbean Photo Collage”:

Stolen Design on Amazon

It is incredibly popular as pillow and smartphone case 😦 Before reporting the item you need to make sure it is a copy and not some reseller or official Amazon Marketplace account like Society6 has one. Official resellers do mention your artist name in the description or title and so does Society6. Looking at this example screenshot there is no mentioning of my artist name anywhere.

2. Have proof about your ownership

You need to have the links to your original work handy, it does not matter whether it is a product page from Zazzle or Society6 and to the piece on an online portfolio. The only thing I do make sure is that my user name is matching or similar on all proof links and I do mention this user name in my email.

3. Prepare and send email

Start a new email to “notice@amazon.com” with the subject “Zazzle Image Report”. The subject is very important. If you don’t use it, Amazon might not read your email since they usually do not accept copyright infringement reports via email!

You also need to find the ASIN from the product you want removed, it’s Amazon’s unique product number. Scroll down on the Amazon page until you get to a box with addition product info like this, which also includes the ASIN:

ASIN

Use the following template exactly as it is and replace the text in [brackets] with your info:

Dear Amazon,

I am a Zazzle and Society6 designer.

My name is [Full Name, not Artist Name].

Amazon can contact me via email at [Your Email Adress].

I understand that Amazon may share my name and my email with third-party
sellers on Amazon who posted the content I want removed.

My Copyrights: I am the owner of the following copyrights which I believe
are being infringed by listings on Amazon:
[Link to your matching Product e.g. on Zazzle on Society6]

Content on Amazon I want removed: I believe the following content on Amazon
infringes my copyright(s):
[B01K1KLE1M]

I have a good faith belief that the content(s) described above violate(s)
my rights described above, and that the use of such content(s) is contrary
to law.

I declare, under penalty of perjury, that the information contained in this
notification is correct and accurate and that I am the owner or agent of
the owner of the rights described above.

Signed,

[Your Name]
[Your Artist Name – optional]

It is important that you send out one email per design, not one email with several not matching designs.

Possible: Design 1 has been copied on a pillow and on a phone case. Report it in one email with the ASIN for the pillow and the ASIN for the phone case.

Not possible: Design 1 and 2 have been copied on pillows. Do NOT report them together in one email!

Send the email and Amazon will usually reply within a few days and have the product removed.

4. Repeat

As already mentioned, be prepared to copies popping up again and again and again. The only good thing is that when you encounter a product you had already reported before, simply search for its ASIN in your emails and copy the text including the proof links into a new report email. That way you do not have to create it all from scratch. And after a few weeks doing this, you will know what titles to search for. This will also save some time *sigh*

 

Fight against Image Theft on Amazon! #stopimagetheft

Fight against Image Theft on Amazon! #stopimagetheft

Zazzle has started an online survey where you as a Zazzle seller can report counterfeit Amazon Marketplace listings with your stolen designs!

Please help Zazzle providing them the info they need. And please note, that submitting these links to fake products is NOT a substitute for reporting them on Amazon. Zazzle is currently collection information and hopefully plotting a plan to help and support us!

Here is the link to their form:

https://www.research.net/r/KFWJL6Y

Fight against Image Theft on Amazon! #stopimagetheft

Fight against Image Theft on Amazon! #stopimagetheft

So, you would like to help us raise awareness of the problem we independent artist from Zazzle and Society6 have with the Chinese copycats in the Amazon Marketplace? (Read about the issue HERE)

Here is a list of useful links. It includes an online petition and supportive Facebook groups you are free to join. Let’s work on this together πŸ™‚

  • Online Petition on Change.org
  • Facebook group “Who stole my images?” for information on what to do. It’s closed but you may request to join
  • Facebook group “Amazon1Stars” to exchange low 1 star reviews on counterfeit Amazon products. Very supportive! Request to join, it’s closed πŸ™‚
  • I have put up a Pinterest pin you may like and share into different groups to make other artists and the public aware of the issue
  • Wheen tweet or pinning or writing on Facebook and Google+ about this issue, please use the hashtag #stopimagetheft – maybe we can make it viral? πŸ™‚ You can also start by retweeting other tweets about this topic, just follow the link to the hashtag, it will lead you to Twitter.

Please let me know if there are noteworthy links I should add. Thank you!

Fight against Image Theft on Amazon! #stopimagetheft

Fight against Image Theft on Amazon! #stopimagetheft

Image theft on the Amazon Marketplace is a huge deal. Are you a designer selling your artwork or photos on Zazzle and/or Society6? Then it is very likely that your designs have been stolen from mainly Chinese businesses and are sold on Amazon without you getting one cent from it! So far, we do not yet know how these copycats do get our images but it is likely that they only take a screenshot and use this screenshot which will result in very bad printing quality.

On Zazzle, you can add watermarks to your designs which seems to help in most cases, but Society6 does not have watermarks and they do not want to use them in the near future.

In the last few months, many of us have tried to report these copyright infringements to Amazon. Some stolen designs from a store get removed, most won’t be removed since Amazon is not very cooperative and requests more and more proof that this is OUR work we are reporting. Even Zazzle did try to help us by contacting Amazon directly but Zazzle does not hold the rights to our work. Good to know but that’s a bad thing in this case πŸ™‚

And even if a counterfeit product is successfully removed, new products and even sellers pop up almost instantly. It is insane! And when you contact them about what they are doing and that they are stealing your design, they do not even understand the concept of copyright!

So here is a new idea: Did you know that after only one purchase from Amazon.com, you are entitled to review EVERY item listed on their marketplace? Yes, really! Since I am from Germany and have never ordered anything from them I thought I could not review but hey, apparently my free Kindle ebook purchases did count, too. And here is the plan:

Let’s all write very low 1 star reviews on products with our stolen designs. Let’s raise awareness about image theft on Amazon and let’s fight back! All it takes is a comment about the poor printing quality, e.g. like this:

The printing quality will be very bad since the image was stolen! Do NOT buy this item!

And you can rate the other 1 star reviews as helpful πŸ™‚

If you don’t know where to start, please take a look at my Amazon profile where my reviews are all public. I do not only review my own products but also help other designers. Just click through the products, review and rate the other reviews:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/A2101VVWW4OQ28

You can also leave a link to your Amazon profile as a comment or links to stolen artwork on Amazon. I will visit and review them!

A few weeks ago, I found out about Pixsy. It is an awesome website made for photographers and graphic designers. It starts as an image search engine but when you find an unlawful match of your photo or design on a website, you have the possibility to fight back. You can submit your copyright info and file a lawsuit. Best of all: It’s free! The only cost would be 50% of what you earn from the lawsuit. That’s the theory, I have not yet been able to test it. To be honest it is a bit tedious to click through all the possible matches after you have imported your photos (that part was easy and very user-friendly!) and what kind of success rate would starting a lawsuit with someone in Vietnam have? Mhhh….

Anyway, one match I found to be EXTREMELY interesting. Take a look at it:

I was curious to see what this is, since this is my Isla Saona Palm Tree photo on a clutch or pouch. At first, I thought that someone was blogging about a pouch they had sold with my design but little did I know!

You may be wondering why I was so sure this is my palm tree as there are many Caribbean palm trees out there and even more photos of Isla Saona… The horizon is off balance. I never cared to improve it by 1 or 2 degrees and THAT was a good decision. I keep selling items with this photo nevertheless and now it was the proof I needed that this is my photo.

So, where were we? Ah yes, I visited this blog post and read through it. At first, I did not really understand it. The blogger writes about unpacking a subscription box from Nina Garcia (never heard of her but I am not an American) and suddenly, my pouch was uncovered. From Printalloverme…. Hey wait… I never sold a pouch on Printalloverme and have not many sales in general over there. I checked my account and sales and I have never sold this pouch. And it’s getting better: A subscription box is not something unique, they are sold a 100 times or more. You can read about the Nina Garcia Subscription box by Quarterly here if you’d like.

Apparently, in June 2014 my Caribbean pouch from Printalloverme was part of the Nina Garcia Summertime Fun Box #NGQ03:

A search for the hashtag#NGQ03 had unbelievable results… More and more bloggers unpacked the box and commented on my pouch design! One of them even mentioned that it seems to be designed by Christine aka stine1!

In summary, Printalloverme had my design on pouches added to a subscription box – god knows how many af them – and never paid me my royalty!

So I wrote to Printalloverme. Not via email, but via Facebook messenger. I summed up all I knew and included several blog links all writing about my pouch. It took them almost three weeks with a few messages back and forth but I have received some compensation by now via Paypal. It is probably not the full amount I would have gotten for 100+ pouches sold but I guess Quarterly also got a discount.

I would like to thank both Pixsy and Printalloverme in helping me. This image theft happened in 2014 and Printalloverme’s team was indeed helpful and cooperative. My intention with this blog post is not to shame them – although everyone should be careful. I doubt this happened more than once, at least I did not find other Printalloverme products in Quarterly boxes.

What I would like to do is to encourage you to do an image search. Be it with Google’s Image Search, with Pixsy or other similar websites. Just do it and fight back!

Remove product listings that sell stolen artwork, shut down stores that violate the seller agreement with regard to intellectual property rights, and have a better vetting process in place to approve sellers

Remove product listings that sell stolen artwork, shut down stores that violate the seller agreement with regard to intellectual property rights, and have a better vetting process in place to approve sellers

Amazon.com, please remove product listings that sell stolen artwork, shut down stores that violate the seller agreement with regard to intellectual property rights, and have a better vetting process in place to approve sellers!

Artists, please sign this online petition by clicking on the screenshot above!

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