Request for Master contact file for sending DMCA takedowns to pirate sites and service providers

@drew.coffman Hey Drew,

I was wondering if Creative Market could set-up a Master document that we (shop owners) can access and contribute towards that included information on known pirate sites and the successful method of getting our work removed?

To explain further, I’m sure all shop owners can agree that it’s incredibly time consuming hunting down the service provider or hosting site of the culprit. Sending a DMCA to the actual infringing website is mostly ignored so it’s often more effective to send the DMCA to the actual hosting site, but this can be time consuming, plus these despicable sites hide behind a reverse proxy or pass-through security service. So it would be great for people to start sharing info they have collated already with others to save time and also fight this terrible trend that seems to be getting worse.

I was thinking of a doc could be set up where it includes the infringing website name, then columns with the hosting site and contact details, plus a column for notes or any other advice people could add where they got a positive response and their work removed, which would be an enormous help to us all.

For example, cgispread a well-known piracy culprit who regularly ignores DMCAs, it’s hosting site is DigitalOcean and they have a form here https://www.digitalocean.com/company/contact/#abuse where you can report their client (cgispread) plus they respond, although after two weeks but at least they respond and the work is removed.

Imagine a document with all this info neatly organised where others can look-up sites and related info for successful takedowns, plus where it can be continuously updated as people get more info to add.

That would be a HUGE time saver!

Here’s why I think Creative Market should assist us in setting this up:

  • It appears, from overwhelming feedback from shop owners, that a lot of the pirate websites are getting material from Creative Market. Helping us with this will go a long way into making us feel Creative Market cares about us and is willing to help.
  • Creative Market has the reach in terms of shop owners, this forum would be a perfect place to house such a document.
  • Creative Market should have a strong interest in fighting the fight against piracy as it has a direct impact on sales and the industry in general.
  • It wouldn’t really take much time to set-up, maybe a Google docs that’s pinned somewhere here on the forum in a prominent position and not hidden in some forum thread.
  • It’s always mentioned that we should never include pirate website links to encourage click-rate etc so this would be a perfect solution for that as the links would be in a doc and not on a web page.

Hope you’ll consider this and help us fight this. Theft and piracy is a massive threat on this industry and has an impact both in time and income. We need to help each other, it’s the only way we’ll get anywhere if we stand together and sharing knowledge is a great start!

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This is a great idea!

I second this. It’s a serious problem that will only be solved by a joint effort such as this.

Hey @Glanz Great Idea.
The piracy epidemic is out of control right now! I’m a working on a idea of setting up a subscription service for designers where you pay a monthly fee and either A: a online piracy expert handles the DMCA’s and google takedowns for you, or B: A hacker disrupts the pirate sites enough that it does not make it worth their while (ddos attacks and things like that). You just submit links when you find them and pay a certain amount each month. I can no longer spend 2 hours a day trying to get my work taken down!
Of course Creative Market could afford to do this for us but they say legally you have to submit your own DMCAs. I’m not sure this is true as i’ve found legal teams do this on others behalf all the time.

We as an industry really need to find a solution to this and i think it’s best to team up. Piracy is hurting all the legit digital product sites right now. I wonder if you could talk to Tom Ross about this or put it out there on the podcast?

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Thanks @NewTropical for chiming in! I think your idea sounds amazing and if it’s affordable you’ll have many artists and creators interested in such a service.

Regarding Creative Market and Design Cuts doing this on our behalf, as far as I know you would need to sign a power of attorney to someone who is representing you and claiming copyright infringement on your behalf. As it’s a legal claim, I don’t think anyone can just do that on your behalf.

But I do however think that marketplaces should try and assist their creators as much as possible. And although Creative Market has instructions on how to send a DMCA I still think they can do more. And starting a master file with helpful contacts and info would be a great start and an opportunity to show the pirate sites that they also mean business and will be joining creators in the fight against them.

@drew.coffman It would be great to hear from you regarding such a serious and important topic. Thank you!

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Sounds good.

I particularly like the idea of using a hacker (would this be legal though) just to spam them with error messages etc, which could all be designed using our wonderful products for a nice slice of karma/irony.

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Hey all, very interested to see this discussion, I know it’s an important (and sensitive) subject.

The issue of piracy is an extremely complicated one. Primarily our best method for preventing it as a marketplace is to do everything we can to ensure that fraudulent transactions don’t occur — something we work to improve every day. However, preventing piracy off the marketplace is much more complicated. Though in many cases the fraud is clear, there are also times where it’s trickier to understand who’s in the wrong: the website or those uploading to the website. This is part of why the DMCA system is in place, to provide a system to take down improperly uploaded material from websites that don’t understand they’re being used for fraud :slight_smile:

On a personal note, I think making a list of pirate websites well-publicized might do more harm than good. I’m not sure I would want to give more eyes to these websites, for obvious reasons! It’s also worth noting that pirate websites come and go as they’re spotted, which means that any such document would likely go out of date pretty quickly.

We’ll continue to work to make our marketplace transactions as clear as possible, while also ensuring that customers have easy access to your assets so that sales aren’t hindered by a clunky checkout. I’ll also pass this thread on to the rest of the team so they can see this (super valuable!) feedback.

Let me know if you have any more questions!

@Glanz thanks for starting the conversation. @drew.coffman thanks for your response, but if CM provided a working document to its contributors, I do not see how that would publicize these sites. I am imagining a contributors only document that would be updated by your legal team regularly.

Also, there are several sites that are repeat and gross offenders that do not change their sites or behavior and CM’s bottom line is being affected just as badly as ours by this. Why would CM not want to participate in helping stop piracy? 40% of nothing is nothing. I understand that CM a does not own our copyright and your legal team may rely on that for putting the burden solely on us, but again you’re bottom line is being attacked by this behavior.

Note to all, the best way we’ve been dealing with this is to have Google shut down the search results. You can’t get them all that way, but you can stop “assetname free” from coming up in google results. Submit the DMCA through google. Yes, it’s a massive time suck, but one that does show results. We are also in the process of doing this over other search engines.

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Here’s the link to the google DMCA dashboard.

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/dmca-dashboard

I agree with @DISTRICT62 I can’t see how having a well maintained document available to shop owners only is publicising these sites. I also haven’t, in all my years of experience, seen ANY pirate site “come and go”! I wish that was the case. It appears they are here to stay if we don’t take action as an industry, and the obvious ones who are really enormous at this stage continue on without a hiccup despite the endless DMCA notices they receive and despite the host companies telling them to remove items.

Sorry @drew.coffman I don’t want to be rude but I think your statement is very naive “This is part of why the DMCA system is in place, to provide a system to take down improperly uploaded material from websites that don’t understand they’re being used for fraud”. Those repeat offenders (websites) are FULLY aware that most of their content is pirated. But they continue to operate because it’s money in their pocket.

The bottomline is, unless you’re directly affected by piracy and the negative impact both on income, time and emotional strain, you will never fully understand what it’s like. It’s a HUGE problem and incredibly time consuming and disheartening.

I was hoping that a marketplace that “helps [creators] spend more time doing what they love” would jump at the opportunity to assist us with such a big problem, but I guess it’s me who is naive after all.

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@NewTropical agree there would be a huge market for a service you describe. @Glanz agree with all and thank you.

Agree with everything that has been said. @drew.coffman DMCAs just don’t work or if they do it takes so much time that you don’t have time to create. If pirate sites were going to abide by the law ( DMCA ) then they wouldn’t have broken it in the first place. Of course you can contact their webhost but as i said before this takes up so much of your time. @StudioAurora this is probably illegal but a pirate site won’t try and sue you and as we all know the internet is basically a lawless place. you have to fight fire with fire! @Glanz The reason i mentioned contacting Tom Ross is that designcuts pride themselves on being the helpful marketplace that is not just about profits. While creative market will just give us the standard legal advice which is no help, I think designcuts (who suffer from the same piracy problem) and specifically Tom might be better help. I am having trouble finding a good hacker as you can’t really advertise this on a job website so if anyone knows someone who could be helpful, let me know!

@Glanz What a brilliant idea, that has been once again shot down by @drew.coffman and CM.

Talking to each other and sharing information about piracy sites is absolutely the only way we will gain any ground on this. I have been baffled by the lack of real community, and industry impetus in solving this massive problem.

Why are we each separately spending hours hunting down email addresses, web hosts, google etc, when we could just leave the information all in one place so that another seller who’s stuff is being ripped off doesn’t have to.

I also think that the risk of piracy associated with having ones products on creative market is growing and provable.

I agree @NewTropical Design Cuts and Tom definitely care more for their community and creators. The only hurdle is they don’t have a forum (yet) for the creators and Creative Market does which is why I thought this would be an ideal place to have such a document available. On a side note, I have products on Design Cuts that aren’t available here and I have yet to find them pirated (from what I can see so far). That’s not to say that products aren’t pirated at all from Design Cuts, it’s just my personal experience.

@ABBIEUPROOT Yes it is disappointing that it appears Creative Market is not really interested in fighting the problem with us. Like you I’m baffled that more isn’t done to fight this as an industry. I sent a message to Megan from @DISTRICT62 with some ideas I had. Would you be keen to thrash out some ideas over a Zoom call? In fact if anyone is keen to team up I’m all ears! We need to start somewhere!

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Yep. I’m in Lisa @Glanz lets set it up.

@drew.coffman I hope that Creative Market will hear us, accumulate the courage and start fighting with piracy websites. Just because each of artist is individual we don’t have appropriate power to resist, but we are ready to consolidate. I spent so many hours to send DMCAs and too often my efforts had no luck. What should I say that even ETSY close their eyes on piracy accounts and allow sell stolen fonts, likely they respond to DCMA, remove items but not remove accounts instantly.

@NewTropical the idea of paid service may work if it will be supported by a real team as CM with access to top attorneys and huge willing to confront. Since nobody did this before it will be very difficult task. I believe it is very difficult task for an artist.

Additional idea that may be useful in future all of us: to have a website where designers are authorised (upload their documents/contact information/etc) and create a catalogue, actually a list of their products with with indicating real links of sites where it can be purchased. In other words designer confirm through a site that there are just specific websites where it can be purchased/downloaded legally and rest of the websites who share their items are illegal by default. If such a source would exist and it had an outstanding reputation, then probably it will help to proof ourself as it is evidence from copyright owner that it is was not allowed to sell anywhere else.

But again I still insist that CM should start doing something in that direction and change a phase from a victim to attacker, otherwise I predict recession as more and more top designers become disappointed that nothing happens.

@Glanz thank you for sharing your experience and useful links. I have found my fonts on the site and sent DMCA to appropriate place. Here is my experience of fighting with ETSY: Please help! Someone sells my fonts on ETSY The most difficult is to find your item as they constantly change strategy (do not use original names, some time change covers, create huge bundles and you can’t imaging what’s inside)

I (and the whole team) appreciate the thoughts expressed here. I wanted to take some time to provide a more detailed explanation on Creative Market’s role and our obligations in this situation.

First, we completely understand the disappointment that our Shop Owners feel when they find their products are being pirated. It might seem that Creative Market is looking at this situation “from above” and can’t possibly understand what piracy feels like on a personal level, but (besides the fact that some members of our team have personally experienced piracy of their digital assets) we can assure you that our entire company hurts when our Shop Owners’ products are stolen.

In talking with our team and discussing this thread, here are some more detailed points I wanted to address about what I see discussed here:

  1. To preface, Creative Market is classified as an Online “Service Provider” under US Copyright law (i.e. the DMCA). Basically, that means we’re a platform offering a place for others (e.g. Shop Owners) to upload user content that they own. As a Service Provider, Creative Market allows each Shop Owner on our site to retain all exclusive rights to their content, which is outlined in our Terms of Service (See section 1:b of this page and because of this, Creative Market legally cannot claim copyright infringement on your behalf which is why we are unable to submit DMCA takedown notices for our Shop Owners. We are far from uninterested in helping in the fight against piracy, but legally, Creative Market has strict limits on what it can do! In the meantime, as I mentioned previously, we will always continue to do our best to prevent fraud on our site, which is a leading precursor to piracy.
  2. Regarding the idea of Creative Market hosting or sponsoring a database of piracy sites and anti-piracy resources: I can definitely see that this would be a useful resource, however, there are a number of reasons that Creative Market unfortunately cannot help set this up. As I mentioned earlier, Creative Market generally does not wish to be responsible for any increased traffic to sources of piracy. Second, hosting any list of sites positioned as “bad” or “illegal” could result in liability for our company, especially if a legitimate domain or subdomain ends up on the list somehow. Lastly, Creative Market cannot give legal advice, and nothing presented on our site can or should be construed as legal advice now or in the future. Offering a resource like this may misrepresent Creative Market as an authority on piracy that we cannot be.
  3. We realize the intent here is to explore ways of fighting piracy, which truly hurts all of us. However, Creative Market cannot allow discussions of hacking, DDOS-ing, or suggestions of any kind of attack directed toward any site to take place here. Again, we understand the intent, but Creative Market is not the platform where these conversations should take place.

This is not, and never has been, an easy issue to navigate, but I hope that this helps explain Creative Market’s role a little better! We will continue fighting fraud here and making the best experience possible for customers and shop owners alike.

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Hi Lisa

This site has your and my brushes https://ninjaload.com/, they also have a FaceBook page. I filled in the FB copyright form. I’m so done with this crap.

Thank you for the info @drew.coffman it’s made Creative Market’s position on this crystal clear.

If anyone would like to join me and other shop owners in fighting this problem please email me: help@lisaglanz.com

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CM is not interested in the legalities of DCM takedowns. They don’t want to get their hands dirty or put in any kind of effort. They would like to get paid though… as long as the money rolls in.

I love design cuts! It’s super hard to get accepted there. They are a bit too “nichy” at present, but I think they need to broaden their spectrum a bit.

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