Wednesday, May 25, 2016

CNBC press on image theft; Articles on ePacket shipping issues

Issues that impact indie artists are getting national Press coverage. Two major topics:

1) theft of images for commercial use by others
2) shipping policy loopholes that small businesses can't compete with..


Enough with the art theft already. It's beyond egregious .... how can the titans like Amazon manipulate all sorts of algorithms to their advantage, but can't protect the RIGHTS of indie artists who supply the goods Amazon and others profit from!!!.

Source: (top); Zazzle
Pillow from Artform Patterns. Top is Amazon knock-off. Bottom is original on Zazzle.

May 2016 article by Art Levy, CNBC Senior Tech Reporter


"....With all that technology, shouldn't Amazon have an effective way of authenticating sellers, recognizing bots and fake IP addresses and blocking banned images, even if ultimately the fraudsters make up a tiny percentage of merchants?
"If they're giving me such a runaround and not wanting to take down stuff, I'd think on the flip side there would be just as much oversight and rigor for someone to become a seller," said Nidhi Chanani, owner of Everyday Love Art in San Francisco.
Chanani said she recently removed all of her illustrations from Zazzle, because the exact same mugs, pillows and phone cases were too frequently finding their way to Amazon. She's now focused on building an audience for her own website....."

Link for article:

2) -- ePacket shipping issues

9/12/14 article by Jeff Guo in The Washington Post on USPS wrinkle that makes shipping from China to US so much cheaper than shipping from US to China...

".... a couple years ago, people stopped buying McGrath’s toys. He discovered that Chinese merchants were selling the same boats shipped directly from China for a total price of around $18, including postage. He couldn’t compete. Just the mailing cost would put him way past that price.
Though McGrath didn’t realize it at first, he was running into a quirk in an international treaty that makes it possible for an individual to send a pound of stuff from Hong Kong to D.C. for less than it would cost to send the same package from, say, Seattle.....
.....Forums on eBay are filled with angry notes about ePacket. “I must say that it is simply an economic disaster for US Sellers,” one person wrote. “One product that we sell for 2.00 with 2.50 shipping a chinese company is selling for .99 with free shipping,” another complained. The person added, “Too much work no money here anymore. Let the Chinese have it.”
The benefit of ePacket, though, is that it allows USPS to charge extra for services that are fairly easy to provide thanks to existing infrastructure. The inspector general’s report says that the Postal Service could have lost another $1 million or so in 2012 had Chinese shippers opted for regular mail instead of ePacket.
All of this is little comfort to McGrath, who chafes at the thought of the Postal Service helping Chinese merchants poach his customers. “All of us sellers are selling a lot of Chinese goods in America but at least we’re creating jobs, making money, and adding to the economy,” he said. “But when people buy direct from China that’s adding nothing to the American economy.”...."

2016 info on ePacket here:

excerpt from this article by Tony Lam (I have added BOLD to "sellers" to clarify. US sellers are not getting a reciprocal deal). 

ePacket Service is a trilateral agreement between US Postal Service, eBay China and Hong Kong Post office to offer China and Hong Kong eBay sellers a fast but low cost shipping option. This service offers local pick-up service, label printing, online tracking and pre-customs declaration for a 7 to 10-day guaranteed delivery period at a 30 to 50% discounted price compared with many equivalent.
Using this service, China sellers can now ship small packages weighing up to 2 KG with co-branded shipping labels marked with China/HK post and USPS. Upon arrival in United States, these packages received USPS First Class Mail service with delivery confirmation service. To let you have a clear picture of this special post office shipping rates, I searched for a long time and finally find the latest price information in a Hong Kong Post Office Webpage. To view the English version, you can open the webpage with Google Chrome and translate it to English. Below is the comparison of ePacket rate with domestic post office shipping rates.
- See more at:

ePacket shipping rate chart from Tony Lam article...

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