The steps described below are for creators and copyright owners. Please do not report a fake unless you are the creator, or have been formally authorized to act on the creator's behalf. Customers: If you spot a fake online, scroll down to the end of this article to learn how you can help.
Reporting a counterfeit on Alibaba
This process is valid for Alibaba, AliExpress, TaoBao and other affiliated sites.
Log in to the Alibaba Intellectual Property Protection platform. There are two ways to do this:
- If you do not have an IPP account, you will need to register first.
- If you have an Alibaba account, you can use it to log in. Go to Alibaba and log into your account. In the Help tab, click Report IPR Infringement.
If you need to, you can translate the page to English in the top right corner.
- Set up your IPP account and verify your identity. You cannot move forward until you have completed this step.
- Before you can submit a complaint, you need to make an IRP submission to prove that you are the owner or co-owner of the copy rights to your product.
- name of the work
- ISBN or serial registration number
- name of the copyright holder
- copy of government-issues ID
- a copy of official trademark/copyright/patent certificate. If you are claiming ownership of unregistered copyright, download the Copyright Claim Statement, complete it, sign it, and upload it.
3. Once authenticated, you can submit a complaint.
Gather the URLs of all infringing listings and copy them into the last field, each separated by a new line. You can enter up to 300 listings at once. Click Submit.
You can check the status of your submission in the User Center, under “Manage Complaints”.
This process can take up to several weeks to complete, so be patient and trust that if you provided accurate documents, your complaint will be successful.
Be aware that sellers have a right to counter your claim. This is what such a counter-notice looks like. *In my case, the seller tried to prove that my ISBN did not exist. That is untrue.
In most cases, sellers will not argue and simply take down the listing to avoid problems. This doesn't mean that they will stop selling the product, though, so be diligent and continue to check regularly on all platforms.
Reporting a counterfeit on Amazon
Even if you not a registered seller, Amazon has protections in place to help you remove listings and/or sellers that infringe on your intellectual property. Visit this page to get started.
You will need:
- a link to the copyrighted work (such as a link to your website or Etsy listing)
- if your work is registered, provide the registration number. If you are not registered, leave it blank.
- the ASIN/ISBN or the url of the infringing listing(s)
- your contact details
Use the 'Additional Information" box to describe your work and the extent to which it was pirated (was it the whole product or a single design?)
If you can, I recommend ordering suspected fakes to make sure they are, indeed, fakes. Some of your stockists may be using Amazon without your knowing, and a misguided complaint could jeopardize their business. Plus, ordering the counterfeit item can be helpful to prove you are the rightful owner. And if you report your purchase as being a fake, you may be eligible for a refund.
Reporting a counterfeit on Etsy
While it is not well-known, Etsy also has a platform where you can report intellectual property infringement. It's called the Etsy Reporting Portal and it is very easy to use.
- Sign in to the portal. If you have an Etsy account, sign in and choose 'Continue' with your email. If you do not have an account, choose 'Sign up' or 'Register your Brand' to create one.
- Choose who owns the rights to your property. If you are acting on behalf of the owner, you will need to include a letter of authorization later. Add information about yourself and/or your business.
- Go to the Intellectual Properties tab to add a property. You will need:
- name and description of the property
- url of your property being used online (link to your website or Etsy listing)
- copyright registration number (optional)
- In the Reports tab, choose 'Create a report'.
- Select the property owner
- Add Etsy listings. You can search Etsy for listings to report. You can add multiple listings in the same report.
- Review and submit.
Etsy will review your report and get back to you within a few days via email. If they need more proof, they will contact you. You can see the status of your report in the report manager.
If Etsy approves your claim, the seller(s) should receive a takedown notice. However, keep in mind that sellers have a right to file a counter-notice: you should be prepared to present proof that you are the rightful owner of the original work.
Try to contact the seller before filing a report. If they do not comply with your request to take down the listing, then file a report. If you need more guidance from Etsy, visit this page.
Customers: what to do if you spot a fake online?
If you suspect a tarot or oracle deck may be a counterfeit, do not report it unless you are 100% sure. In this scenario, the best thing you can do is reach out to the original artist/author and show them the listing(s). It is up to the creator to take action to protect their intellectual property.
While we appreciate you looking out for us, if the deck turns out not to be fake, you might just have hurt the seller's business by making a false claim. This happened to one of my stockists in Asia: someone reported them on TaoBao before alerting me. Unfortunately, I didn't recognize my stockist's shop name and believed that someone was selling counterfeits. I didn't report them, but this well-intentioned customer did and my stockist almost lost their online shop in the process. It also damaged our relationship. Please be mindful.
However, if you ordered an item that turned out to be fake, report it and ask for a refund. Then, alert the original creator so they may take action to protect their work.
One last note for creators
If you found a fake online, you're probably feeling a bit sick and demoralized. Do not panic: there are systems in place to help you protect your rights. I highly recommend registering your work with your country's copyright office. In the United States, it costs $65 for each registered title. I know it's a lot, especially if you have several titles, but it will help your case if you run into counterfeits. Sometimes an ISBN number is not enough. Having a registration number will help these platforms rule in your favor when the seller submits a counter-notice.
Copyright and ISBN Registration for Self-Published Books