Tag Archive: Copyright infringement


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 🙂

  • 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 🙂
  • 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? 🙂 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 🙂

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 🙂

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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