Beware Counterfeit Items On Amazon Using Stolen Artwork

I’d like to give shoppers a “head’s up” about a problem graphics designers are having with some 3rd party sellers on AMAZON. If you are shopping for any product with a design/artwork on it and it’s from a third party seller, be sure to check it out very well before ordering.

There are a lot of graphics thieves operating on Amazon as 3rd party sellers. They steal images and offer them for sale at prices much cheaper than the legitimate products. Can we say counterfeit? A lot of these don’t bother to simply take the image and slap it on something – they are such sorry pieces of humanity they take the actual image from a Zazzle store – the article for sale with the image on it, then slap it up for sale on Amazon. Most of these little scumbags say the item will ship from China and their stores will say “just launched”, although I have seen some that have managed to stay in business for a long time in spite of their thieving ways and at least one thief was in the US.

It doesn’t help that Amazon has some kind of catalog/database they store everything in – even products no longer available. It seems that once something is in there it is hell to get it out. They seem to want to lay claim to anything that gets uploaded to them – even if it was uploaded illegally by a thief. According to the e-mail I’ve pasted below, they make it available to all their sellers.
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“Hello,

Thank you for your message. Based on the information you have given us, we must respectfully decline your request to remove the listings of your Pillow from our website. Currently, Amazon.com does not offer the item(s) for sale. Rather, its catalog contains bibliographic and other information about the materials.

The website also contains mechanisms for third parties to buy and sell copies of the item(s) that are already in the marketplace. Under the first sale doctrine, codified in Section 109 of the Copyright Act, once a copyrighted work is legally purchased or otherwise acquired by another owner, it may subsequently be sold and resold without restriction. That lawful activity is what Amazon.com’s website enables.

You have not alleged that any of the copies of your Pillow by third parties using the Amazon.ca website were illegally manufactured, re-copied, or otherwise unlawfully obtained when first transferred. Accordingly, we must decline your request.”
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Excuse me, Amazon, but I sure as hell DID allege it was unlawfully obtained when first transferred by filing a copyright infringement report with your company.

Seriously?

Even worse is I’m seeing some stolen designs that have been sold enough by the thieving little rodents to have reached Best Seller Rank. Guess they’re making money for themselves and for Amazon. Never mind they are stealing from the artists. That’s pathetic. It doesn’t help that even if a store happens to get shut down more, sometimes with very similar names pop right back up.

Anyway, these disgusting little thieves really like pillows, mousepads and rugs, but I’m noticing they are expanding their illegal activities to cups, shirts, wallets, and probably anything else they can get their nasty little paws on. And it’s not just Zazzle – Cafepress Society6, other platforms allowing artists to sell their work as well as websites of people selling their own are being ripped off. ANY image out their is subject to be stolen and used illegally.

Of course there are legitimate 3rd party sellers, just have to weed through to separate the good from the crap. It’s a shame that one bad apple can spoil the entire barrel. BUYER BEWARE

2 Comments

  1. It is terrible for such a large company to act like this. Artists should only need to report this infringement once to get it completely removed from the site, if we did not put it there then they have no right to store the image for thieves to keep reposting.

    • I agree Sarah. I’ve found several stolen designs that have seller ranks – which I would think means they must have sold a lot of them. Also, I see some stores that stay up, no matter how many times they are reported. I suppose it’s all about that mighty dollar. Amazon COULD stop this if they cared to. Seriously, when you see “just launched” stores that say shipped from China – and look over to the “by” and see the same names over and over, or senseless names, it’s pretty obvious.

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