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Crime Pays For Aliexpress and Alibaba

Keck Fine Art

Posted 7th November 2016.

One Artist’s Fight to Knockout Chinese Knockoffs

After weeks of trying to get Aliexpress to remove counterfeit reproductions of my artwork from their web site to no avail I started doing a little research into Aliexpress/Alibaba and its founder Jack Ma.

Mr. Ma is the first mainland Chinese entrepreneur to grace the cover of Forbes magazine. China’s Billionaires of 2016 list on Forbes.com has Mr. Ma ranked at #2. He has an impressive story of overcoming a lot of hurdles to become the success he is today. In 1999, Mr. Ma and a team of 17 friends founded Alibaba, a China-based online marketplace.

Alibaba had a record of $463 billion in business transactions conducted on Alibaba’s retail platforms in the fiscal year through March 2016. Aliexpress, Alibaba’s transaction-based retail web site, is the reason I am writing this article. I have no doubt in my mind that Mr. Ma is a highly intelligent, hard-working, inventive and persistent man. I’m extremely impressed with his accomplishments. What I am not impressed with is how a portion of those billions in sales on Alibaba/Aliexpress are obtained. While Mr. Ma and the shareholders become wealthier, there are real people on the other end of the spectrum who lose their entire livelihoods because of the illegal activity that is allowed to take place on Aliexpress and Alibaba.

One year ago I became aware of the illegal copies of my artworks being sold on the Aliexpress platform. My husband and I tried tirelessly at that time to file complaints through Aliexpress’s system and received no assistance. I had a conversation with a collector of mine who happened to be a patent attorney for a large IP firm in the U.S.. I explained what I was going through and he said his firm could help me pro bono. Today there are over 35 different Aliexpress stores selling illegal copies of my works when last year at this time we only knew of 5. A few of these stores have over 150+ of my art images that they sell illegal prints of. The giclee print sales of my business make up over 85% of the sales I bring in. These counterfeit Keck artworks being wholesaled by Aliexpress stores to online and offline retailers world-wide have destroyed my print business.

To the reporters writing articles about how hard Jack Ma is working to prevent counterfeit goods on Aliexpress/Alibaba, I have a very different story to tell. I know there are others who do as well. But you won’t hear our stories. We are not billionaires or millionaires, we are just hard working folks trying to make an honest living and let’s be direct that isn’t really a story the media cares to share. I however am going to share my story, and other stories I find along the way of people, real people, who are losing their businesses because of the illegal practices that are not only allowed but I believe encouraged on the Aliexpress/Alibaba platforms. Those counterfeit goods are BIG MONEY folks. Get rid of the stores selling illegal merchandise and Aliexpress/Alibaba and the shareholders lose money. Period.

Aliexpress has made it impossible for us to file any complaints against the infringers, and I have the proof. Aliexpress will not accept phone calls. Aliexpress runs you in circles when you try to access their chat service to protect your IP rights. Aliexpress chat representatives will tell you they will respond within 24 hours they do not. Voicemails left at Alibaba’s corporate offices are never returned. Aliexpress refuses to remove illegal merchandise even when they are provided with the copyrights I have registered with the U.S. copyright office proving my ownership of the art. It is an endless, tireless cycle. They go out of their way to make reporting crime impossible, because for them, crime pays.


Press Contact

Name: Michel Keck

Phone Number: 812-859-4191

Email Address: michel@michelkeck.com