Amazon has filed three new lawsuits against groups that it says are/have been abusing its takedown system by filing thousands of illegitimate copyright complaints against other products. This comes just days after the company said that it will start adding a warning flag next to products that are often returned.
The e-commerce giant has dubbed the legal action a “new offensive against bad actors.” Amazon alleges that the bad actors did not just file fake complaints and sit back to see if they worked. The parties also reportedly created fake, disposable websites with product images scraped from the Amazon store to use as evidence that they were the legitimate copyright holders (via The Verge).
“We know how important it is to our selling partners to have a consistent Amazon store experience, and we will be unrelenting in our pursuit of bad actors that attempt to undermine that experience,” said Kebharu Smith, director of Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit. “These lawsuits should serve as a warning to anyone that uses fraud in an attempt to harm any of the millions of selling partners that work with Amazon every day.”
One defendant, Sidesk, is accused of using a fraudulent trademark application to get into the Amazon Brand Registry program. According to Amazon, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had cancelled the trademark application, but Sidesk used it anyway with product listings on Amazon.
Sidesk was by far the worst offender for filing takedown requests, with around 3,850, according to Amazon’s lawsuits. The others, Dhuog and Vivcic, reportedly filed 229 and 59 takedown requests, respectively, in the course of a few months. According to the lawsuits, the bad actors were sometimes successful in having product listings temporarily taken down in response to their bogus complaints.
Similar challenges exist on other platforms as well. For example, creators on YouTube have long expressed their dissatisfaction with the platform’s copyright claiming system, which permits scammers and companies to make bogus claims that may result in creators being extorted or losing their ad revenue.
Learn more about the three new lawsuits filed by Amazon here.