Idea

Kristi avatar image
Kristi suggested

Image Protection

It's been mentioned numerous times. But I cannot stress just how absolutely vital it is that you do something about the images being displayed. You need to address the size/quality and/or put some sort of water-marking on them. Whatever you can come up with that will address the RAMPANT theft that is happening. I don't think you even grasp just how widespread and out of control this problem is.

1. A thief either steals the image(s) and posts them under a different merch account... OR takes them to another site outside of Amazon and sells them there.

2. If the thief sells it here through Amazon - it's bad because it ruins the original creator's income. It can potentially ruin their business if they have any branding attached to it. And, on top of that - it will be a POOR QUALITY product that will cause people to not want to buy from Amazon. It will be pixelated, skewed, etc... You should see some of the uploads these folks are doing. And, it will make the REAL artists leave.

3. If the thief is selling through an outside site, they almost always put up ads and those ads drive the business to their site instead of Amazon. This is a lose-lose for the artists and Amazon. Again, it's a poor quality product that will be associated with our own branding which means that not only do we lose out on that sale (both the artist and Amazon), but when they later see the same stuff here on Amazon, they won't buy it thinking it's the SAME GARBAGE they got scammed into purchasing. This sort of thing has LASTING effects.

4. Once the thief has the image it's game over. Good luck chasing them around the internet - though many of us will continue to do it until we are dead and buried. They will continue to upload it over and over and over and over and over again. Again, this is ridiculously exhausting - absolutely frustrating - incredibly time consuming - and is RUINING people's businesses.

If you don't step in and find some sort of solution - I'm not looking for you to end theft altogether - it'll never happen - but take some measures that will help reduce the problem and bring it back down to a manageable level - you will lose people. Either because they realize it's not worth their time once the thieves steal all the sales away from them or because they LITERALLY are put out of business.

I appreciate your reading this far if you have gotten to this point. I'm begging you, step up to the plate and protect us AND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.

copyright
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Sea2Skye avatar image
Sea2Skye commented

Agreed, and the answer can be done pretty simply by using a good watermark.

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Holly S Hertzel avatar image
Holly S Hertzel commented

Many good designers are leaving Merch because of the theft issue. When it gets to the point where one feels as though one is creating content FOR the thieves, then it's time to cut losses and go. I'm nearly there myself. PLEASE Amazon, take this seriously.

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Amazon Customer avatar image
Amazon Customer commented

Come on Amazon Merch.

At least make a comment on why not.

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Ron Bates avatar image
Ron Bates commented

You have to understand that you cannot be 100% safe, but you can be much safer than you are now. Watermarks are very easy to add on photos, and can help you protect your photos, but you also need to know that some watermarks are very easily removed. If you go here: http://www.paintshoppro.com/en/pages/watermark-photos/ you can find a tutorial on adding watermarks to photos that are transparent, and much much harder to remove from photos, which makes them much more protected. You can also copyright them, but that just takes your free time and money out of your pocket.

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TEES avatar image
TEES commented

Just go and spend the money and protect your styles. Be the first to issue an "original' style and have a registration (C) or (R) to protect the IP. that's it. Amazon are good people and know IP (legally protected IP) will give you the rights to stop others whom came after you (meaning whom have put their style on commerce (showed up) after yours was published). Proof is in the registration and date you first showcased a publication. You can't complain, unless you pay for registrations that give you a statuary and dated defense. An IP lawyer will love to take on a case only if you were the first to publish (with proof) and have a registration. Otherwise, eat it up and live with it.

4 comments
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You are completely wrong. You can demand a take-down under the law WITHOUT a registration. There are other ways to prove the work is yours and I assure you, Amazon removes without a "registration" because they would be breaking the law if they didn't. The registration is ONLY useful if you go to court. And then, you don't have to pre-register it, you can register it right before you go to court.

Seriously, if you don't KNOW the law, stop talking as though you do.

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TEES has missed the point completely.

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This is Amazon's sandbox. Not ours ...I made 10K on one design in two months last year --- I was first to launch - followed by a slew of copycats and one was smarter than me and TM'ed it

I posed this question last year. I'm sure their stance has not changed: https://forums.developer.amazon.com/questions/30621/copyright-filed-months-after-designs-created.html

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They still haven't answered after many questions, if we can type in the description. Copyright 2019, (company name) May not be reproduced without permission.

All designs if unique originals and you are the first to publish, they are protected.

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Medhunter avatar image
Medhunter commented

this is very important to avoid be Copied by copycats ! I vote 1000 times

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newuser-ca459680-3606-45d6-9d41-d57d868266a9 avatar image
newuser-ca459680-3606-45d6-9d41-d57d868266a9 commented

There are too many sites popping up using Merch mockup images that are selling the design themselves without involving Amazon. Protecting your artwork can only go so far with sites that are hard to get shut down. Theft will never stop completely, but right now it is far too easy with Merch. It needs to be addressed at the source of the problem, so Merch team, please do something about the images! In Merch Facebook groups this theft is discussed on a daily basis.

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jmee avatar image
jmee commented

Hello. Wondering what happened about this. Anything new coming? --So tired of ripoffs.

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Tere avatar image
Tere commented

Is there a reason that this is an ignored question with Merch by Amazon? Don't they care?

Can we at least add to the description area "Copyright 2019, (company name)" May not be reproduced without permission." Copyright symbol is not allowed in text but we could type it out like this.

My last upload was rejected with a threat to cancel the account if this happens again. I received NO specific reason, they only email a form letter referencing nothing pertaining to what they claim. Because they have no services other than this forum we need to wing-it if we want to try and make some money. They are not going to help us.

Many crowdsourcing companies that sells artist's designs online at least do everything they can including following up to resolve the problem if a design has been stolen. If the community of worldwide designers and social media was alerted that uploading designs to Merch by Amazon are not protected they may not use the services if the designs are "unique" and high quality. One way to stop the thieves is call them out on social media, it would at least be of some good to the world.

Think it through carefully, if you upload a design here, make sure you don't care what happens to it.

2 comments
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You could spend forever looking for copycats on the web and spend much time "catching" them. Then maybe something happens and they are taken down. Then your design magically pops up again somewhere else...this happens over and over. You can spend the time looking for these copycats or continue designing. That is why putting a watermark of some kind over the image would slow things down. You are only allowed to describe your design with keywords in a sentence...anything else is a no go.

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I guess you can put a copyright in a description bullet. I don't think it will do too much about protecting the image though. If they want to steal they will.

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Tere avatar image
Tere commented

Wonder if Merch by Amazon is responsible legally in any way for allowing this to happen? All art and designs are the property of the artist/designer until there is a contract to release them. There are online legal companies that may help us protect our work? All copyright on designs are automatic. Last I read you only need to apply for the copyright if you have a legal action. But international infringement like with China could be impossible. Someone has a helpful answer for us.

I am a seasoned designer and don't sit idle when I see this type of ignored questions. this may get deleted by admin or may just get my account canceled for these comments. But if Merch goes that route let it be, it isn't worth the stress of dealing with their 'no service' on very important questions like this.

In the long run do what matters most. Instead of spending enormous amounts of time on getting things corrected and trying to find answers, than being productive. It feels contrived.

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