Posts Tagged ‘copyright infringement’

It’s A Good News, Bad News Sort Of A Thing

So part of my Holiday fun this year was spent sending dmca take down notices to Amazon. I was alerted by a fellow Zazzler that a third party seller (actually more than one store) was offering my art on their items.

The good news Amazon does make it fairly easy to lodge a complaint. The bad news … Despite the automated emails saying they really care about intellectual property rights and copyright infringement they don’t really do much to prove it. Yes they took down the offending items. But this shop had been reported prior for the same thing and was still live when I reported them.They’ve been closed down since then but have undoubtedly they reopened under a new persona as is so often the case with these sorts of sellers.

I don’t know what the answer is. Better vetting of sellers perhaps. Make the application process more rigorous providing proof that they are the legal creators or licensee of imagery they sell? I am an approved manufacturer on Etsy (which is different than being a seller of which I also am) and that process required detailed information, personal statements about my business why and how I do what I do and photos. It wasn’t just a “click this box to acknowledge you are the legal copyright owner” which allows the platform to then pretend they’ve done all they can do on the subject like so many Print on Demand companies as well as third party sellers like Amazon and Ebay and such.

It’s A Big ‘Ol Can Of Worms

So truthfully I don’t look too hard to see “who’s stolen my images now for their own personal gain.”


Two reasons. 1. Because I will always find some and then I feel obligated to do something about it and 2. Because it just pisses me off. And in order for me to create my happy little birds and happy little trees … (oh wait … I may have been channeling Bob Ross there so um …) happy little goats and happy little cows. (yeah that’s better) I need to be in my happy place. Or at least it helps when creating.

So How Does This Affect Me?

But if let’s say, I chose to do nothing regarding these (in this instance) Chinese based stores using my imagery for sales … well, what’s the worst that could happen? Probably not much other than ….

I doubt very much they actually fulfilled any sales they might have made. I’m guessing it’s a hit and run scam get as many orders as they can, then when they inevitably got shut down, they take the money and run. I mean knowing something needs to be imported means longer shipping delays so they have a bigger window to sell, sell sell.

Buyers are probably not going to associate my imagery with the Chinese shops. And probably not even with Amazon. More than likely they’ll associate with me.

What’s to be done

I joined another facebook copyright infringement group called “Who stole my images” It’s a real eye opener reading peoples stories. On there someone is starting a petition to make Amazon more accountable for their selling practices. It’s needs 1000 signatures to move forward. Mine was 888. If you’re curious or would like to add your name, you can find the petition here.

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So recently I got an email from a customer who said “Hey, I see your artwork is on puzzles on this site. I hope you knew.”

Well no I didn’t.

What to do … what to do…

Sigh …

So I contact my licensing agent and asked if he wanted to send them a bill for use of my images. And he was all “Hell yeah.”

Okay … that’s paraphrasing on my part … just a little.

Or maybe a lot.

One of those.

But it got me to thinking about how often this happens. Folks using my work thinking it’s free for the taking. And though I have held off doing this it is finally time to watermark all my images on my website. Currently I’m about half way through.

I Probably should have caved years ago but the artist in me wants the images to look nice. You know because people are more apt to buy them if they can see them without a big ol’ watermark across the face. But after much internal dialogue which I will spare you (you’re welcome) I decided to deface my art in order to protect it.

At any rate I don’t expect anything to come of the bill sent to the infringing puzzle company. But it makes me smile a small devious smile to think it may have given them pause.

Even if only for a moment.

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