Intellectual Property and Copyright Laws and Issues for Artist, Photographers and Artisans
Online Retailer WISH Breaching intellectual property and copyright laws on on artists, photographers and artisans work. So this is not intended to be a guide regarding intellectual property owner rights and copyright issues for artists, artisans or photographers or even "wildlife artists" like myself. However I wish to be a bit more vocal regarding how eastern retailers selling cheap goods and how large online corporate companies (e-commerce retailers) retailing in the west are able to ignore intellectual property laws and copyright infringements and get away with it. Leaving it with the owner of said image or painting being treated with more hoops and hurdles than the individual, company or organisation that original broke the intellectual property rights and breached your copyright.
Above is one of my images / original paintings available for sale by a company in China in WISH. That is being sold through the online retailer WISH here in the United Kingdom and the US and basically Worldwide.
So there are various very large companies (i.e. Wish) that are getting away with this and are now retailing via the web or apps to the uk:
These are the main ones which are displaying images and products of goods that I and others own the intellectual property and copyright for. In my case they have used and are using my images and photographs and intellectual property rights to sell products akin to mine: Wish, Alibaba, Aliexpress and Zazzle.
These are just some of the big ones but there are dozens and dozens of other companies (including Russian) that can hide behind the "Digital Millennium Copyright Act's ("DMCA")" which effectively gives them a safe harbour and gives the owner of the copyright absolutey no recourse or means to get compensated. I am still fighting to get the individuak company details to take this matter further.
This ACT allows these large companies to pretend to put the onus onto the uploader to declare that the goods are legitimate. However it is easier for me to upload a product than it is to make a claim that a product is my intellectual property rights or under my copyright.
I can upload a new product in 5 minutes with no questions asked but a tick box but when I make a claim I have to upload proof, evidence and links to prove it is mine. And 5 days in they have still not all been deleted.
In addition they (WISH) believe it is entirely up to you to police the 10 x 100,000+ products available on each of these platforms. Luckily some use the artist name in their description text but this is far and few between as many don't. So happy searching........!
However companies like WISH maintain they are adamant on protecting "Intellectual Property". I have asked them numerous times how they are adamant on protection intellectual property and they have not responded. I have asked them lots of questions but all I get is a copy and paste response. I'm at over a dozen of these copy and paste responses already. All saying the same thing.
HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO GET PRODUCTS REMOVED FROM WISH!
So all I get is a cut and paste response to my equiries, then they try to lengthen the process and say I have to submit each claim seperately and then again if it falls underneath different catergories sich as:
I have to fill out further forms, none of which give me the suppliers name or address or away I can seek compensation.
It is akin to the phrase I heard today, "can we work on a 50/50 commission. with the artist saying "which 50% of the painting did you paint?" Well in this case the artist gets nothing. And the 3rd party and the large online reseller WISH gets everything.
Well in this scenario the artist has painted the painting and the image has either been stolen or recreated and then sold under the artists name and then the artist recieves absolutely nothing.
And the artist does not even recieve an apology!
ITS A CRIME THAT LARGE ONLINE RETAILERS LIKE "WISH" ARE GETTING AWAY WITH THIS!
Through Brexit many of us artists have really struggled to make a living and the market has become so stale with the uncertainty that we have almost given up.
Now we have these large corporate companies like WISH (that probably pay no UK or Tax elsewhere) hiding behind these useless digital media acts that only benefits others and those with the lust to make money off of others and use these laws benefit themselves and are happy to breach copyright laws of up and coming, amazing, trend setting famous artist from around the world.
Across these platforms and many more Wish, Alibaba, Aliexpress and Zazzle I have spotted hundreds of original paintings that are being illegally reproduced and sold as posters and art deco prints that have been painted by my dear friends and respected famous artists whom I have exhibited with and admired.
How do I know this because I have emailed most of them and I appreciate that most will not sell a fullsize rendition of their amazing paintings on a large printed canvas for $6 only to devalue their own limited edition prints and original artworks.
What are your thoughts?
Is this damaging your brand?
Who is to blame?
So what can you do to protect your image rights.
Here is an interesting article be it quite old but several of my wildlife artist friends are featured in this Huffington Post article. www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-grant/copyright-infringers-targ_b_750463.html
You can issue a cease and desist notice but how do you find these online retailers that are using your images illegally?
Well you can use https://www.tineye.com/www.tineye.com/ to upload any of your images and this will tell you where else your images or photographs are being displayed or used. However if they have manipulated your image such as in WISH and use a background or have it at an angle or use it within a collage of other pictures it will never be found.
But even so you then you need to contact them and if they are based in he Far East or Russia there is little you can do to hold them to account or claim compensation.
We have done over 20 of these and they nearly all have come back with they have no address , they are using proxy servers unregistered or registered elsewhere or with no contact details so we cannot further our claim or they do not fall under the international jursidiction.
Then If you go through the western retailers, that are allowing these people or companies to sell your image or artwork on their networks, apps or websites.
Then they will do very little to help and will not take any responsibility for allowing the sale of these counterfeit goods whilst still cashing in on the sale of your interlectual property.
I say lets fight together and get all proceeds from the sale of these counterfeit goods donated to a good conservation cause.
I will post and updates here as and when I recieve them.
UPDATE FROM WISH
WISH have said they have removed the images that I have highlighted but still found about 20 online, that I had previously flagged with them.
Still getting the repetitive copy and paste email response with every email.
They will not answer any questions!
I am keeping the original trasncripts of all correspondents with these companies and will post the as and when I recieve them.
Here's the first copy and paste job
The Wish Brand Protection Team (Wish)
Nov 22, 04:59 IST
Thank you for your email. Wish is adamant about protecting Intellectual Property so we thank you for bringing this to our attention. Please find our Intellectual Property policies here-https://merchant.wish.com/intellectual-property
If you would like to report an Intellectual Property violation, please use our online form to submit a report: https://merchant.wish.com/brand-protection/brand-violation-report
As you may not know, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's ("DMCA") provides "safe harbors" for platforms such as Wish. While it may seem obscure, the liability for the infringing activities falls on the third parties who are infringing on your rights. The DMCA does not impose platforms such as ours to be obligated to watch or "police" for potential future infringements. Unfortunately, this burden lies on the copyright owner to actively monitor the use of their copyrighted work, therefore Wish is not required to reimburse any fees requested.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Brand Protection Team
Business Hours: Monday - Friday 9am-5pm Pacific Time"
WHAT IS WISH DOING?
Please Keep Me Informed on how you get on! And please CC this email to other artists and friends, so that together we can be stronger!
So far I have discovered 40 items / products using Alan M Hunt's images on WISH. Through a very length and time conusumig process I've had 36 removed of 40 but there are many many more. And believe me there are many many more by other artists.
I have already asked WISH to donate the commision that they have recieved from their illegal sales of Alan's work, to a charity to help protect conservation (of the artists choice). YET STILL NO RESPONSE.
Can we all join in this fight against WISH and other online retailers?
From Wiki about WISH
It was founded in 2010 by Peter Szulczewski (CEO) and Danny Zhang (CTO), former programmers at Google and Yahoo. In 2017, the Wish mobile shopping app claimed over 100 million users on the iOS and Android platforms..............STRONG TIES TO CHINA AND GOOGLE THEN SO THEY KNOW HOW TO WORK THE SYSTEM!
It may be worthwhile that we create a joint action on this and join forces.
So I have CC'd others into this email that have already responded to my initial email about WISH. Whom by the way "are set to be the biggest online retailer of 2019 above AMAZON!"
Here is a list of the main retailers in Wish that I have found Alan's work being sold on and possibly yours!
WISH is a terrible e-commerce search engine and any search results actually result in 10 of thousands of search results for random products that have neen tagged with absolutely anything. I don't even know if you can search by retailer?!
It seems search terms / tags are constantly flouted by 3rd party resellers making search results huge.
Seacrh Terms I have used are "Wildlife Canvas Art, Animal Canvas Wall Art and then combinations changing to specific products such as "Shower Curtains"
Also try using specific animal names i.e. "Tiger, Lion, Elephant, ETC
Plus you can not use image search tools as the retailers use image on walls or at angles that will not be picked up by search engines or software.
We need to know is how many copyright or property right infringements or violations are needed for a retailer to be removed or banned from WISH.
Again Wish will not tell me this.
And how we can be compensated and stop having to police this injustice and theft to us the artists, artisans and photographers .
And how we can put more onus onto online companies (retailers) to vet and police their own system they have created and that they ultimatley profit from. By Ignoring the rules!
Further Update FROM WISH: When Trying to Request Sellers Details
Wish Brand Protection Team (Wish)
Dec 5, 01:40 IST
Unfortunately, we are not able to provide the merchant's contact information without a subpoena or court order.
So although you say and quote your are "adamant on protecting "Intellectual Property". You actually protect those that are fragrantly breaking people's and companies interlectual propert rights.
Have these sellers been banned from WISH and if not what would constitute a ban?
And what is to stop hese sellers setting up a new account with you and selling my and other artists copyrighted images?
RESPONSE FROM WISH
At Wish, we constantly strive to ensure products and merchants meet compliance standards. When considering removing a merchant from the platform, a variety of factors are carefully considered and merchants who do not meet our platform standards will be banned.
Alan M Hunt
Wildlife art blog by Alan.
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