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newuser-23c18239-25ed-48e5-a752-19a0d01039a4 avatar image

Copycat Detection?

How does copycat detection work? If I list my design, one with white text and one with black text, so I can choose more shirt colors, will this be flagged by the copycat detection or is it ok to do?

policy update
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Or the same account holder uploading the same design with a premium and regular shirt version, for example. Will Amazon know this is not a copycat or are we in for a big headache?

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They will see it is the same account, my problem is what if a copy cat reports you just to take down your account

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newuser-d616bb5e-3ef0-4e00-a2b9-911d7dcf7ed5 avatar image
newuser-d616bb5e-3ef0-4e00-a2b9-911d7dcf7ed5 answered

That could obviously be a copycat.

But what happens if you upload YOUR OWN design on 4 shirts (different colors and back/front side and different keywords)?

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I was talking about my own design in two colors, so I can have more shirt colors. Not change the color of someone else design.

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newuser-d616bb5e-3ef0-4e00-a2b9-911d7dcf7ed5 avatar image newuser-d616bb5e-3ef0-4e00-a2b9-911d7dcf7ed5 newuser-23c18239-25ed-48e5-a752-19a0d01039a4 ·

Oh I see, then this is the same question as mine :)

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Pratik avatar image
Pratik answered

What about the t-shirts which are in style and follows same pattern? For example, straight outta tees. There's not much you can alter for a style that's widely recognized. Does this mean we'll get a violation if we are not the first one to upload on Merch?

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This is why it really is best to steer clear of doing the same old thing that everyone else is doing. If the originator wanted to bust people on it, they could.

That doesn't mean you can't use similar text though. It's simple really:

YOU CANNOT OWN TEXT - unless it is trademarked. If a phrase is trademarked, don't go near it.

If the text isn't trademarked - Make it YOUR OWN. Don't use the same fonts or even the same STYLE of fonts. That would mean COPYING. Don't use the same layout. CHANGE IT UP. The key is to simply, NOT COPY. Why on earth would anyone want to make the SAME thing? CHANGE the phrase. Come up with your own unique layout and come up with your own unique fonts. Simply erasing their words and writing them back in - in SIMILAR fonts isn't going to cut it. That's re-creating their design. It is going to be complicated when you use the same old thing that people have done a thousand times. For example, straight outta tees. People obviously make them look the same. And yes, you can get busted if the person who created them decides to come after you.

My advice - BE ORIGINAL. Come up with your own unique thing.

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I agree with Kristi...stay clear of what everyone else is doing and come up with original unique designs and then it won't be an issue. Some niches are over saturated for this reason. There are too many similar re-creations of the same design which does little to enhance the customer's buying experience, in my opinion.

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ChrisL avatar image
ChrisL answered

I am wondering the same thing as Pratik. There are sometimes 1000s of similar designs using the same phrase and/or style. How can we determine what is okay and not? (Apart from trademark check)

I definitely think we need some more clarification from Amazon on this new policy.

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Same here ChrisL! I would love to read more info on this topic too! Thank you all!

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Chris... keep it simple.. don't copy others work ;-)

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newuser-5b16c084-9b70-45e1-9ff6-167e55aee828 avatar image
newuser-5b16c084-9b70-45e1-9ff6-167e55aee828 answered

Yes my questions is also what if a copy cat uploads my design, who is going to get busted as a copycat? Uploading first also does not means you are the owner, so all of those people that have their designs stolen can maybe be pointed as copycats since there are duplicates out there of their shirts. You can get your design stolen from another site, uploaded to merch and now you look like a copycat (and some people have been reported as copycats by a copycat)

They need to be more clear how this works.

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Yes - exactly. I have been selling online since 2006. I have found numerous Merch sellers who have stolen my designs from other platforms and have added them to Merch before I've had a chance to. Will there be something in the new system that gives us a chance to prove our ownership of a design before ours is rejected or deleted?

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I agree. I have the same issue as Nina. I've been on PODs since 2008 and have several designs that have been copied for years. I am absolutely axious about losing my account over something I didn't do wrong, and I don't understand how this actually works.

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newuser-968ec2b7-2b2f-458c-8a02-1771408fdd46 avatar image
newuser-968ec2b7-2b2f-458c-8a02-1771408fdd46 answered

I'm guessing their 'copycat' rules are to mostly target direct pixel by pixel copies of tees and the next worst iterations (complete pixel copies which have then been re-coloured or re-sized ... and large elements of design (though not complete tees) that have been pixel copied. This rule would potentially best improve the lives of those that create original tees using a substantial portion of original and time consuming artwork. For Tees that are far more text oriented... if we stick to the spirit of this new rule... it probably does mean we should at least use different fonts than the original and/or different word 'arrangements' on the tee itself and for such tees this new rule might prevent 50 versions of almost the same tee-shirt (Amazon clarification here would be very helpful - although I'd also understand if Amazon didn't clarify this point because then it would make people very careful about simply copying a text based idea because there would always be this concern of the consequences). For the designer who wishes to make different colour versions of the same tee... technically this would be infringement, but as you are the original designer then I am sure you could make as many iterations of the same tee as you want.

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These aren't just Amazon's rules. These are the LAW. Amazon is just clarifying it since people seem to be joining left and right with no clue about copyright law.

Text designs complicate things, but really, it is simple.

The words themselves are NOT OWNED unless they are TRADEMARKED. If they are trademarked, don't go near that phrase.

If they are not trademarked, you are FREE to create a design using the WORDS, but you CANNOT COPY already made designs. So the words are usable, but you have to do something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT with it. So let's say you see an EXTREMELY plain text shirt. They used an Arial type font for the whole thing. And they put 3 words on the first line, 2 words on the second line, and 4 words on the last line. You would need to make yours look COMPLETELY different. Change how many words are on each line, in fact, you should honestly change the phrasing if possible! And then don't go and find a SIMILAR font - if you are trying to RE-CREATE it, you are COPYING. Use your own unique fonts.

To summarize -

Don't copy. (this includes changing the size and/or colors and/or erasing a portion and putting it back in different)

Don't re-create. (if your goal is to make the SAME shirt or the SAME shirt but "slightly" better - don't do it)

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Ricardo Almeida avatar image
Ricardo Almeida answered

Amazon knows who uploaded what. They have your IP. If you upload the same design in many colors they will know it was you who did it.

I like the new policies. Copycats are thieves and have to be punished.

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This would be good to get clarified. I use my design on a set of dark shirts and the same design on a set of lighter shirts in a separate listing and wouldn't want them to be seen as copycat.

Amazon, can you clarify?

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EmG avatar image
EmG answered

I appreciate that Amazon is taking steps to protect our IP. But the biggest problem is off site. Just look up any of your designs on Google Shopping, and you'll see a swarm of thieves that have stolen the image straight off your Amazon listing. The product previews are too flat and high resolution. They need to protect our work from being stolen in the first place.

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EXACTLY! I have yet to find copycats of mine on Amazon, but my designs are being copied and listed on google shopping, shopify, and offshore accounts by the hundreds.

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mimhe avatar image
mimhe answered

I like the new news. MBA is taking action. This is like spring cleaning. I believe soon will happen something big. Maybe, selling also in Europe.

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Elizabeth@Amazon avatar image
Elizabeth@Amazon answered

Thank you for your question. Please see the following information from our FAQ which can be found here:

Can I use someone else’s artwork in my design?

Designs with the same idea or concept are allowed, the artwork itself however cannot be copied without the owner’s permission. Copying other content creators’ original artwork without their permission is strictly prohibited.

What is a copycat design?

Copycat designs are strictly prohibited and defined as the following:

·Exact reproductions of the entirety or a significant portion of original artwork

·Resized, recolored, or visually adjusted reproductions of original artwork

·Design reproductions containing distinct design elements

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If there are no graphic designs and only (non-copyrighted) text, and someone copies that "phrase" or saying is considered a copycat infringement?

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