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07 February 2012

Update on the Alibaba Theft Issue

***UPDATE 15 FRB 2012:
**I got an email this morning from another REP; Apparently we do NOT have to sign up for the website to file a complaint, here is a direct link to report the issue and resolve quicker:
  In order to help us investigate and take further action, please file your case on our  Aliprotect platform.  Below is the link:
        I would like to reinstate that you do not need to register as an  Alibaba member  in order to file the claim on AliProtect.  Furthermore, I would  like to        advise you that please file on AliProtect if you find any more questionable Alibaba vendors in the future.  We would also appreciate if you can pass the link of AliProtect to your  fellow artisans  if they find any Alibaba vendors misuse the product photos.   That will help them speed up the filing process. 
Please feel free to contact me at 408-748-1200 ext. 205 or email  at        wendywong@alibaba-inc.com if you need further assistance.

I am reposting what I blogged in my Artfire shop this morning:

Chinese Stolen From Me Category explanation

Artfire Shop Blogg 7 February 2012


I have found that many Chinese mass production vendors, selling on Alibaba.com, have been stealing small American Artisans photos from their craft shops (mainly on Etsy.com and Artfire.com).  The Vendors then use the illegal photo to make a listing of their own to sell in bulk.  This usually ends up in a Bait & Switch or full out scam. The forums on alibaba.com are full of these complaints, as this has been going on for some time.  I am trying to raise awareness for this subject by contacting the artisans that I find have been stolen from. You have to sign up for the site in order to make a formal complaint, but I am assuring these artisans that it is in their best interest to do so.  Below is a screen shot of one of four of MY item with MY picture.  You can view my item in the Category "Chinese Stolen from Me"

 I have formed a Facebook page about this subject for people to post their issues and find more information about what to do.  You can find this page by searching FB for "Alibaba.com Contributes to Theft  of Artisans"  

I had to sign up for the Alibaba website in order to file a proper complaint, which I did and I encourage anyone else who finds their product Stolen to do the same.  When you fill out a proper Complaint through the site, you have to upload Your Picture in question.  The Vendor that has my items also has items from about 6 other  Artisans that I have found so far.  I contacted all the ones I have found and I will continue to contact people and alert them to the Thefts as I find them. 

I was told by a woman who had a similar theft some time ago "There is Nothing we can do"....  Well, I am American and I think their ISsomething we can do... Shout from the rooftops what is going on here and make people aware of it.  Alibaba takes the stand that"challenges to fully screen each new posting remain" (Rebecca Liu) and that "We rely on product owners like yourself to report any suspicious cases to us." FINE!  I am dedicating part of MY valuable time each morning to scan Alibaba for OUR handmade items that we work so hard on, so that we do not look like Chinese Junk re-sellers.  

 She goes on to say, "our copyright infringement policies are similar to other e-commerce sites like eBay and Amazon"  I wonder what eBay and Amazon think of this statement?  Today is the Third Business day that I was told to allow for the process.  In the meantime, I have been Educating people about what is going on, Finding more thefts, and alerting OUR Artisans on what to do.  

This woman Rebecca contacted me after seeing my posts on Etsy (thats right E-peeps you CAN say the E word on Artfire:) She has been very nice and seems concerned to help me with my issue.  This morning I found a copyright statement in my email to fill out information about my Thefts.  So with my Artfire records and Flickr photo records I was able to give them the approximate dates  that the pictures were created and when they were listed in my shop.  

At this point MY items are still listed in this Chinese Vendors shop and I am in a holding pattern.  I will continue to update my cause, Alert Artisans, and Scan for Thefts.  PLEASE if you items have been Stolen, take the time to file a complaint and follow through with it until it is finished.... This saying has been in the footer of my shop and in my signature for email for quite some time and I stand by it:

 "On the plains of hesitation bleach the bones of countless millions who, at the dawn of victory, sat down to wait, and waiting--died!" 

**UPDATE 8 FEB 2012:
I had alerted yet another Artisan last night about their items in MY vendors shop, and they contacted the vendor directly and got their items immediately removed and I got the email below this morning, the Stolen Items are gone. 
It is a Victory! HOWEVER... We must continue to be Vigilant with these people... Keep checking for Your items and Complain when you see them, pass this information along to other Artisans AND our Customers. Knowledge is POWER!
This is Alibaba.com Customer Satisfaction Center.
This email refers to your complaint against 【Yiwu Anlai Import & Export Co., Ltd.】regarding product picture infringement. Please kindly be advised that the product 【xxxxxxxxx】 of 【Yiwu Anlai Import & Export Co., Ltd.】 will be removed in 24 hours. If you have found any other members who are using your pictures without your consent, please kindly report to us by clicking "Report Suspicious Activity" in the product listing page.
Alibaba.com International Customer Services