If you have ever bought any band merchandise, like a t-shirt off of Amazon, there's a good chance it's a fake, according to research conducted by Andy Young of Tunipop. Young surveyed all of the Top 100 US Artists and discovered the following:
- 51 out of the 100 artists had merchandise available on Amazon
- Out of those, 47% had products that were only available as counterfeits
- The other 53% had a mix of authentic and 'questionable' items
Most likely you are not aware of this problem unless the quality of the product is significantly lower than what you expected. Pirated, unlicensed material on Amazon can really hurt the brand of a group or company. Frustration is growing in brands because of bad reviews due to customers receiving counterfeit products unknowingly, and for counterfeiters making money off their name and marketing. Physical piracy is becoming a bigger problem every day because of technologies becoming easier and cheaper.
T-shirts and band merchandise are not the only areas where this is happening, and it is said this problem is Amazon wide. As long as consumers are able to recognize that it's a fake, Amazon will give a refund for the product that is not authentic.
"Unfortunately, policing counterfeiters is a perpetual game of whack-a-mole," said Young. "Just like a DMCA Takedown notice, Amazon leaves it up to the copyright and intellectual property owners to determine what is listed for sale on their site. A notice can be filed, objecting to a listing, but as soon as a product or supplier is removed, they surface again under a new name, and the process starts all over."
The problem is not just on Amazon, it is internet wide and you take a risk every time you purchase online instead of directly from the company or licensed vendor. Make sure that the site you are buying from has counterfeit policies like Amazon, so you can get a refund for counterfeit goods.
Next time you want to order a t-shirt online, make sure you are buying from a licensed vendor, or directly from the company or distributor to ensure quality of your items.