We run a outdoor brand that does $4MM - $5MM/Year on Shopify and we have become a Shopify Plus merchant since start of this year. In May, we start to find out there are websites start ripped all of our images, copies and videos and duplicate the exact same website of us.
We started filiing DMCA on those websites and there's one website that particularly stand out. Because the copycat basically took 100% of our content, including our trademark on their description copy.
Wierd thing start to happen. Everytime we start taking this website content down, the very next day, we got hit by a random website(newly created) built by wordpress accusing us of stealing their content. The way they file take down is extremely wierd since they have
1. No actucal proof of ownership for the pictures ( Only PS version of the images saying they created all the images)
2. The image itself contained clear watermark that obviously don't belong to the website
3. The website looks fake and obviously was not a Ecommerce website.
All they put in their DMCA claim is "The pictures are all plagiarized from me"
As we were doing research on the complaint the name it put down was obviously fake. I tried to contact Shopify Legal regarding to the validity of this claim: All I get from Shopify was: Sorry we can't do anything, you need to find legal counsel.
Things only went worse in the next following 2 weeks. After we tried to take down all the content in the website that copied us, the very next day the attack website hit us the same revenge DMCA and shopify took our listing down. This went on for a few days and then the attack website started hitting us daily with 2-3 DMCA, all early in the morning at the very end of the work day. Every day after we got hit our store was locked and wasn't able to access the shop. This got to the point where shopify warned us that we are hitting the final reminder of DMCA record and one more strike can get our store completely suspended.
Oh, by the way, this is a website I built from Ground Up 3 Years Ago. For 3 years, I worked on marketing, worked on operation, supplier chain, hiring, spent Millions on inventory. And Shopify will shut me down with just a click of a button. Yeah, it seems to me that, I am only a number in the vast pool.
Now all my hardworking employees (5) are all looking to me and replying on me to fix it. But Who can I rely on? Shopify Legal? Their support? I now almost talked to their support 3 times a day and sent multiple emails reporting this to their Legal team. But all I get is machinary response saying if someone file a DMCA, all they can do is follow the process and take the listing down. There's nothing they can do. ABSOLUTELY ZERO DUE DILIGENCE. I mean even if anyone in their team spent 1 minute checking the validity of the attack website, they will find out the absurdity of the issue. But no, no one wants to spend a damn minute on this.
I am now taking this to my lawyer. (Had to spend $10K myself if it goes to trial will have to spend more)
By the way guys, there is obviously an loophole for some people. If you want to knock your competitor down, all you have to do is create fake website and launch DMCA on them(as long as you are not in the States you are not subject to perjury). But what about those good, hardworking owners? Who can protect us???All we want is to sell good products and make our customers happy and we don't want to engage in activities like this. But it seems no one under the shopify umbrella can offer protection to us.
We did extensive research on the scammers and we did find that it is a group of scammer residing in Shenzhen, China. Those guys are extremely efficient in exploiting loopholes and I don't think we can fight them without Shopify's help.
I am writing this for help and also a heads up for everyone in the shopify community. Be careful, because fly sure loves meat, especially us small business owners.
Hi Outdoorleeeo, I'm so sorry this is happening to you. I'm currently going through the exact same thing. I made a thread on X (aka Twitter) sharing my story with these fake DMCAs. Tobi (CEO) has responded but we need more people to share their stories. This urgently needs to be fixed.
If you can, please share your story here and tag @tobi and @harleyf: https://x.com/brndnlouis/status/1709296165944983566?s=20
Going through the same thing right now. Did you find a solution?
I know exactly how you feel, and you would know exactly how I do, so if you have any advice I would really, really appreciate it.
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