Selling artwork and photographs online opens up a world of potential collectors and buyers to an artist. You can reach buyers around the state, around the region, around the country and around the world. No longer do you have to limit your selling area to your immediate area. But with any positive there typically is some downsides. With selling and promoting your work online there is always the potential for some unscrupulous person or company to “borrow” your images, slap them on some shoddy merchandise and try to pawn them off on unsuspecting buyers.
Not only do you as an artist suffer from lack of income from these unauthorized sales but your brand can be damaged as the theft puts low quality images on merchandise. Typically these image thieves are grabbing small sized thumbnail images and putting them on small items such as keychains or dog tags. They hope you won’t notice the blurry, low quality images.
Amazon.com seems to have an abundance of these fly by night operations. Often an artist complains to Amazon only to find the items taken down one week and popped back on the site the next week. Sometimes the whole company is taken off the site only to have it pop up the next day or the next week.
If you have found an unauthorized store selling your work and have trouble finding the rather hidden DMCA reporting form, here is the link:
Policing Your Brand on Amazon: Copyright & Trademark Infringement