Category: Zazzle.com


I’m always trying to get better at what I do. It takes tome to learn new tricks and techniques and improve old ones. This rendition of a Russian AN-2 in flight somewhere over Siberia in the 1950s is much better than the one I did a few years ago. This is sort of a doodle for a couple of other images I want to do which will include an AN-2 or two. The AN-2 was built by the Antonov Design Bureau which is still in existence in the Ukraine.

an_2_wip

As the AN-2 is a biplane, making it more complicated to portray than single-wing aircraft, I first tried out a few things I learned to do on something simpler. Two Dassault Super Mystère B2 fighter bombers from the Israeli Air Force (IAF) 105 Squadron (Scorpion) in flight over a mountainous desert landscape; circa 1967.

two_mysteres_mod

The Super Mystère was the result of progressive improvements in earlier Dassault aircraft which were also flown by the IAF. The Super Mystère went into production in 1957. Israel acquired its first aircraft of this type a year later. They saw service in both the 1967 Six Day War and in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War. It was the first aircraft flown by the IAF which could attain supersonic speeds in level flight. IAF pilots liked the aircraft feeling it was a good match for the MiG-19.

The image of the Super Mystères is available on various products at one of my Zazzle stores. The AN-2 should appear there at some time in the near future.

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Here is more proof that both Amazon and the thieves it allows to sell stolen images in the Amazon Marketplace have nothing but contempt for customers.

Below is a screen shot of an absolutely atrocious copy of my work. Though the image was obviously taken from the Zazzle product page, it looks as if it is the typical degraded  copy of a copy of a copy…. You can see the address in the screenshot though I am sure it will be removed by Amazon when I report it. This particular seller offers a large number of stolen images which are just as degraded.

fukushima_stolen_pillow_amazon_blog

That the seller would offer such poor imagery, that Amazon allows such poor-quality products to be sold. Well, they must think you are idiots.

Compare it with my original image:

radioactive salmon

New Element Salmonium-235

Buyer beware! Lawlessness rules the land. The robber barons and thieves only want to separate you from your money and do not care who they harm to do so.

Amazon sux, and, as you will read, Amazon must have agreed with that sentiment.

The war with Amazon continues. A few months ago the company promised that it was going to do something about the proliferating millions of stolen images offered for sale on its web sites. Of course, we have heard nothing further from them about stopping the sale of stolen intellectual property in the Amazon Marketplace. The situation grows worse by the day.

Some time ago, in order to share my feelings about Amazon with the wider world, I posted a few products on Zazzle which expressed my disgust. Gosh darn it, I should have realized, who woulda’ thunk it, that the same Internet thieves who steal my art and sell it on Amazon would also steal and sell images criticizing Amazon on Amazon. No criminal could be that stupid, could they? No criminal would be so stupid as to endanger the legally-sanctioned, international fencing operation where he sells ill-gotten goods. Oh well, them things just happen.

As it happens, Internet thieves are now offering a number of these images for sale.  They appear on multiple Amazon web sites. I have chosen one to tell you about; one of the English-language ones.

Here is a screen shot of the stolen image on Amazon’s UK site. I have added a sightly enlarged image of the pillow so you can more easily read the relevant text.

fma_pillow_amazon_screenshot

Let me make a short aside here to illustrate something else those contemplating purchasing stolen goods from Amazon’s hordes of Internet thieves should be aware of.

Here is a my original image. A fairly good simulation of a pilot’s leather jacket patch:

fma_patch_trap_small

And you can view the actual product here. And, if you like the image, without the Amazon comment, a full-size version of it, along with some related imagery, is posted elsewhere on this blog. Look for “Flying Moose Aviation Patch.”

Now compare my original with the crappy image from the Amazon product page:

amazon_stolen_fma_pillow

Products sold by Zazzle all have nice, sharp images. That’s because the company ensures only high-quality printers are used and the artists and designers who work with the company submit high-resolution (lots of dots per inch) images.

The images displayed on product pages are not high resolution. This true for Zazzle, Amazon, and most any other seller. Typically, they have less than one third as many dots as do the originals. So when criminals steal an image they have to enlarge it to be big enough to print on a product. That necessarily distorts the image. So, if you purchase something from an Internet thief, and they actually send you something, in all likelihood it will be a crappy image on a crappy product. Not only do these thieves steal my art, but the crappy images damage my reputation as an artist.

The thieves do not care about quality. They only want to make a fast buck, or renminbi – they are criminals.

Okay, enough of that; back to our main story.

Gee, willikers; what to do about the Amazon sux pillow? I am just a member of the lumpen nobody-ariat who can be safely ignored by the uber-rich. You know, those with enough money to buy politicians, ensure that laws are so written as to let them get away with just about anything, and conquer the stars.

However, I actually mean Amazon no harm, certainly not the employees. So, nice guy that I am, I submitted a copyright infringement report. I am really good at this as I have to do it over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, ad nauseum. The same stolen images re-appear over and over and over and over and over and over and over again; often offered by the same thieves on Amazon, often with the same ASIN (Amazon’s product identification number). And very often we go through the same long, drawn-out process: Amazon replies claiming they can’t understand how my copyright is being infringed just because some thief, usually operating from China, has stolen the image and is selling it without my permission.  Well, you can see how I, and many thousands of other artists, might not feel all nice and fuzzy about Amazon.

Anyway, in spite of my antipathy towards Lord Bezos and company, I submitted the copyright infringement report. Amazon replied and flat out refused to remove the product. That led me to believe that Amazon agreed that Amazon sux.

I then submitted a customer review drawing attention to that fact that the product bore text stating, “Amazon sux.” Amazon approved and posted my comment. That only strengthened my belief that Amazon sux and Amazon agreed.

Again, as a member of the lumpen nobody-ariat, I do not have the money to sue Amazon and force it to tend to its reputation. And, anyway, Amazon defeats just about every lawsuit brought against it. The courts have ruled that Amazon bears no responsibility for the stolen goods sold on its web sites. In effect Amazon is a legally-sanctioned, international fencing operation.

Now whenever I come across one of my land mines while searching through the millions of bootleg products for my stolen images I just chuckle, or even chortle, and move on. I will not be reporting them, or similar images made by others. And, once again, given the ever-proliferating millions of bootleg products on Amazon, it is highly unlikely that I have found them all.

Just as I have to spend many hours a day searching through millions of images, so must Amazon – if it cares about its public image.

Just as Amazon operates in multiple countries and multiple languages, so do I.

Just as Amazon bears no responsibility for the stolen images which appear on its web sites, neither do I.

There are certain other characteristics which will make them more of a challenge to find.

It would be a mistake to assume I am the only artist who is torked off at Amazon.

Even though Zazzle artists and designers have to search through the millions of images we do not have to scrutinize them closely as our own art jumps out at us. Amazon, on the other hand, has no idea what to look for and I ain’t tellin’.

Live by the Internet thief, die by the Internet thief.

I was going to inform Bezos about this, “Seattle control to Lord Bezos.  We have a problem,” but decided not to interrupt his conquest of the Universe. In any event Amazon seems to have reconsidered and removed the pillow.

For another interesting tale from the Great Amazon War click here.

Due to ongoing, concerted effort by artists and designers who offer their work on Zazzle.com, along with behind-the-scenes activity by Zazzle itself, Amazon.com now claims to recognize that the sale of stolen intellectual property in the Amazon marketplace,  and Amazon’s facilitation of such activity, must be solved.

Amazon has provided a streamlined method for Zazzle artists and designers to submit copyright infringement reports. Thus far Amazon seems to be responding quickly and removing infringing products.

This is a good start, but so far I have not been unable to determine if Amazon continues to retain the stolen images, associating the with the product details of the infringing products which were removed, thus providing the opportunity for them to be reposted.

Permanent removal of these images and instituting procedures to make it much more difficult for thieves to upload stolen images to its servers is a non-negotiable demand of the Zazzle artists and designers.

We continue to submit copyright infringement reports and contact Zazzle artists and designers who are not aware that their images are among those that appear on millions of bootleg products, fakes, which are offered for sale on multiple Amazon domains. We also continue in other actions which I will not further explain here.

I again want express my thanks to Mr. Bezos for reading my email and arranging that an Amazon representative speak to me personally. I do, however to reiterate, as I made clear to the representative, that the army of mad Zazzle storekeepers continues to grow on a daily basis. We will continue in our efforts until the thieves are permanently driven from Amazon.

There need not be an adversarial relationship between Amazon and the many thousands of Zazzle artists and designers. The ball is in Amazon’s court.