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newuser-a487a2ae-c7d8-4eec-a347-c44a39e3c3de avatar image
newuser-a487a2ae-c7d8-4eec-a347-c44a39e3c3de asked ·

Copyright claims, retaliation

I have been finding my exact shirt stolen on many sites but especially Amazon. I have been reporting several a week lately for direct copyright violation. I spend a lot of time fully painting and illustrating my designs and it bothers me that people copy them off Amazon and then try and resell them.

Yesterday I got an email from someone saying that they are "innocent" and that they are sorry they stole from me and didn't know it was wrong. They TOLD me, not asked, to contact Amazon and withdraw my copyright complaint.

I looked up their email address on Google, they appear to be in Algeria..... I thought Merch accounts were mostly USA.

My question is, what happens when these thieves, who now have my information due to my filing a copyright claim, try to retaliate? Does it happen that they might try and harm me or my business? (I am not worried physically, I am worried they could try and mess with me online through false reports and things) If they are not even honest about their country of origin, or about stealing my work, what is to stop them from being dishonest in other ways?

It bothers me that I put many many hours into an illustration (plus all the money for the tablet, photoshop, art school..etc) and someone can just steal it from me and re-post it. I can claim copyright but then THEY get MY information. These people are obviously already breaking rules and laws and now they get my info....

Anyone have any experience in this?

merch by amazoncopyrightreporting
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Were they Merchers? Sounds like not. Also if they are a Mercher, they can be from a different country, Merch just only until recently sold the shirts to US only. They want you to withdraw your claim because it's a mark against their account and they are worried they will lose it. Ignore their email. They of course know it's wrong to steal and have probably been doing it all along, to many other people. I wouldn't worry about retaliation. They really can't do anything to you, as long as all your designs are original.

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newuser-a487a2ae-c7d8-4eec-a347-c44a39e3c3de avatar image newuser-a487a2ae-c7d8-4eec-a347-c44a39e3c3de newuser-2ba6a363-75de-4dfd-9121-47525b101d0c ·

I believe it was a merch account. Yeah they told me to remove my claim. Didn't ask, told. They stole my original art and wasted my time by making me spend it on reporting it. I am in no way indebted to their thieving. Plus yes, if they stole from me they for sure stole from other more successful people I would assume and would continue to do so. It was a direct screenshot/reposting of my exact art.

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Mr Cheese avatar image
Mr Cheese answered ·

I would say that somebody who is likely to steal IP is unlikely to have... ummm... shall we say 'the resources' to damage your rep and business. They are more than likely just going to concentrate on stealing other peoples work and ideas. The reason somebody copies work is probably because their own work isn't that good in the first place; yours will always be better.

All of my work is in vector format. The work I upload is always bitmap and degraded to a degree, so I always have the original vector to show I created the work originally, by providing a super high res section of the design upon request, which nobody else could recreate from stolen copied bitmaps. I have only ever had to do this once in my career, and that was settled amicably. You may already be doing the same.

I guess it's difficult to chase people legally in other countries. It sounds like you did the right thing contacting the party involved directly.

I also use a rented virtual office address for things like domain name registrations etc, I wonder if you could do the same when making a copyright claim, to protect at least some of your personal details.

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I have the original file which I do in Clip Studio Paint in 600 dpi. I then move it to photoshop and turn it into a smart object and resize to fit on the shirt template. Sometimes using text elements from illustrator or Photoshop. They are digital paintings and I usually have a 3 file process. The biggest is the clip studio paint file, then then psb, then the png I upload.

The stolen ones usually look horrible on other colors because they screenshot merch shirts and don't properly even edit out the background color.

I have all the evidence to prove my work is my own. My biggest worry I guess is that it will be hard to get someone to take the time to review my proof and that they will try and retaliate by falsely accusing me of things or by spamming my email address or worse.

I would hope though, if they are lazy enough to steal from me that they would just move on. I was just surprised to be contacted by one of them asking me to take back my claim. - It's like...No dude, I put a lot of hours and money into being able to do this. You don't get to steal it and then contact me and tell me I need to let it go.

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newuser-e05bd6b4-d313-4f10-ae3a-b7a25561b206 avatar image
newuser-e05bd6b4-d313-4f10-ae3a-b7a25561b206 answered ·

Same here! I´m spending A LOT OF HOURS designing all my designs myself! Copycats are stealing my artworks and selling them through merch by amazon and elsewhere. Well, I´m trying to sell myself on amazon... But not making money because of all the copycats out there... The copycats are selling my designs and even manipulating them (for example by deleting my name signs or changing colors). Me as a real designer has to carefully make sure to check uspto for not losing my account and get "dinged" by amazon because of "single words or word combinations used by accident", "bugs by amazon" or "false reports" and all the copycats are making big money WITH MY DESIGNS and nobody cares about them... Writing take-downs is so annoying... Sometimes I feel like living in a horror movie... I love designing and I love amazon- But the copycats and thieves are pure nightmares!

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The copycats are almost more annoying than the copyright thieves. I have people stealing my brand name, product title, and full description/bullets including a cute short product poem about the shirt. They take my EXACT design and just crappily redraw it or manipulate it and there is nothing I can do about it. I was putting so much time and thought into having fun unique shirts, now I just paint what I want because I know it's going to get stolen and copied anyways. Very sad.

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newuser-a487a2ae-c7d8-4eec-a347-c44a39e3c3de avatar image
newuser-a487a2ae-c7d8-4eec-a347-c44a39e3c3de answered ·

The person who stole from me and then contacted me requesting I remove my complaint is now impersonating Amazon merch I believe. They sent me a poorly worded email from an address which I question is legitimately amazon requesting that I contact them as it is "serious and binding" . They keep requesting that I contact amazon and remove my copyright request. They have now emailed me twice from their account and once from what I think is them impersonating Amazon. I have not replied because it does not appear to be official. It appears this is just someone trying to pressure me into recanting my DMCA complaint.

I emailed this to merch to see if it is legitimate. Is there anything else I can do but wait? This guy gives me a bad feeling.

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Amazon merch replied to my email. The email that was sent to me was not legitamate and was in fact the person impersonating Amazon to try and get my attention.

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okokokokoko avatar image
okokokokoko answered ·

My advice is to set up an email address to use only for IP claims via Amazon - you can insert any email address and this is the only info they pass on to the infringer. something like IPclaims at or CeaseandDesist at. also ignore the cheat.

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newuser-a487a2ae-c7d8-4eec-a347-c44a39e3c3de avatar image
newuser-a487a2ae-c7d8-4eec-a347-c44a39e3c3de answered ·

They emailed me again saying that they closed their account because of me and that life is fair and one day the same thing will happen to me.

They act like I am the bad guy in this. They stole from me, I reported the stolen art. They emailed me and told me I had to remove my claim. They impersonated Merch to try and get my attention. Now they are claiming some day my account will be closed? How in their head am I the bad one deserving Karma?

I am left feeling uneasy even though I didn't do anything wrong. Bleh!

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Don't worry, theft is theft and it is a major problem on Merch.

Many of these people don't believe they are doing anything wrong because they receive terrible advice from these Merch guru con artists and they think this how the shirt business works.

Steal images, ideas, descriptions, bullet points and undercut the original artist on price.

But ignorance of the law and Merch policy is not an excuse.

Don't feel bad about thieves losing their accounts, just put your head down and find the next person who is stealing your IP.

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TEES avatar image
TEES answered ·

Give an attorney your claim find and (C) registration number. Many will do this on contingency when you provide your registration and proof they took it. It works for me. Plus you may get a settlement out of it. When you work hard and register your works nobody should take those rights.

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