Project Zero, Amazon's new offering for stamping out counterfeit items, will not help artists at all because our work is copyrighted not trademarked. To be covered under Project Zero, or even to register your brand on Amazon under the new policy, you have to hold a US trademark.
My brand, which is my name, is currently registered on Amazon but will no longer be offered any protection because art is not protected under trademark. We artists are the most stolen from, vulnerable online sellers. We endure our art being illegally used by Alibaba and other overseas companies, who just laugh when we ask them to remove them.
These counterfeits, aside from decimating my sales on Amazon, hurt customers as well, who get these terribly-made, pale imitations of my art.
"While trademark laws protect emblems that identify commercial goods and services in the marketplace, copyright law protects the rights of a person who produces original creative works, including paintings, film, music and literary works. ... Hence, a painting would not be eligible for trademark protection."
When I spoke to someone at Amazon about this, he referred me to the copyright infringement form. Yes, I know about that form. Yes, I’ve used it, repeatedly. But, here is the problem. These counterfeiters do not use our names. For me to find the stolen items, I have to use generic search terms. It is extremely time consuming and I only find a fraction of them. In addition, it is, of course, after the fact. They've already been selling and profiting from my art. They keep those profits. Amazon also profits and keeps the fees it makes from these illegal goods.
And I have never seen any of these companies removed from Amazon. I have reported some of them repeatedly. And, if they are using my art illegally, I can tell you that, odds are, every one of their items with an image on it was stolen from an artist.
I have yet to see an overseas company that has legitimate licensing agreements in place for some artwork but not others. One, for example, replied to my infringement claim, that she thought my painting was "cute clip art." Adds insult to injury. And I'll never erase the image from my brain of seeing one place that used one of my paintings as a pendant with rhinestones around it.
This issue is picking on Amazon, so I want to add that I've also never seen sellers removed from Etsy or eBay. There is one who uses my art repeatedly for "diamond painting" on Etsy, and they're still there.
Because these venues keep the fees they make from illegal items, they have no incentive, in fact the opposite, to remove them.