Study by Visual-AI company VISUA reveals online print companies across the UK and EU are embroiling themselves in potentially significant copyright and trademark infringement issues
*Figures show demand for customised products has accelerated in Q1 2020
*VISUA provides its Visual-AI technology to major companies in this market, including GearLaunch and TeePublic, as well as brand monitoring/ protection companies and marketplaces, such as Brandwatch, eBay, NAGRA Kudelski, MVP, and Synthesio
UK: New research from Visual-AI company, VISUA has revealed that 70% of online custom print-on-demand businesses in the UK and EU are leaving themselves open to lawsuits. VISUA provides Visual-AI technology that helps brands monitor digital content. To date, VISUA has helped many leading companies including UK based Brandwatch, eBay, MVP and Synthesio. In the print-on-demand space, companies like GearLaunch and TeePublic use Visual-AI technology to eliminate the risk of lawsuits associated with infringing on copyright and trademark protected content.
A recent study carried out by the Visual-AI firm researched the top custom print-on-demand companies in the UK and across the EU, and identified a serious issue with copyright and trademark infringement. It was found that 70% of print-on-demand companies are failing to police the use of copyright and trademarked images, forging ahead with printing. The result of such actions could be millions of pounds in damages from legal action and corresponding fees if left unattended.
With hundreds of print-on-demand companies across the UK and EU, this recent research highlights a proportion of those will be failing to detect and stop protected images from being printed. The UK alone is the world’s fifth-largest producer of printed products, experiencing £14.3 billion in turnover every year. To conduct the research, VISUA analysed every demand company with a turnover of £1 million and over across the UK.
Recent data reveals 80% of customers are more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand which provides personalised content.
The infringement on copyright and trademark images places print-on-demand companies at a high risk of lawsuits. In the UK, reproducing such images can result in high fines and the added possibility of further legal action being taken by the copyright owner. The online print-on-demand infringement is part of a much wider issue on illegal replicas of brands, with piracy and counterfeit goods costing the UK economy £9 billion and 80,500 job losses each year.
Commenting on the findings, VISUA Co-founder and CEO, Luca Boschin said:
“Having worked so closely with GearLaunch to implement our technology in order to help them eliminate lawsuits, we know this is a major issue for companies like this. We weren’t surprised that the number was significant, but we were surprised to see it was such a high percentage of them taking this risk every day and leaving themselves susceptible to lawsuits.
Luca continues, “Our understanding of the challenge for these companies is three-fold. Firstly, the volume of images to check is beyond feasible for humans to do. Secondly, not every design is obvious, like a mash-up of the throne from Game of Thrones in the Adidas 3-leaf logo. Thirdly, we believe that print-on-demand companies don’t know that AI can resolve these issues effectively and affordably. But we’re here to say that failing to police these issues in 2020 is frankly negligent when it can be eradicated so easily.”.
Lending his insights on the technology, Gearlaunch’s VP of Operations, Jared Hunsaker, commented:
“We’re delighted to be working with the VISUA team to continue to combat illegal image use. By implementing their Visual-AI technology within our platform, we can spot any images that may be cross copyright infringement and free ourselves of the risk of costly lawsuits. The thing we didn’t expect was that our revenues would increase because sellers started delivering more unique and creative content that became more appealing to consumers.”
VISUA VP of Sales and Marketing, Declan McGonigle, added:
“Through implementing this investigation we were able to identify a clear gap in copyright compliance around the print-on-demand sector. Interestingly, 90% of companies approached had some sort of legal text for customers to accept on upload or order confirmation, so they understand the legal consequences of printing protected content, but are putting the onus on the consumer to police themselves. Unfortunately, we know that the law places the ‘blame’ entirely on the producer, not the end customer. It is therefore imperative that the responsibility be taken by the print companies themselves in order to avoid legal action.”
VISUA offers solutions to help with brand protection, authentication and monitoring, and also consumer engagement campaigns through Visual-AI. Visual-AI is used to deliver deep intelligence and solve issues in counterfeit detection, social media, sports sponsorship, ad and digital piracy monitoring.
VISUA boasts best-in-class Visual-AI that powers the world’s leading brand protection, authentication and monitoring platforms. VISUA delivers solutions ranging from logo/mark detection and counterfeit product detection to holographic authentication and ad detection. Its Visual-AI technology is proven to deliver the highest precision with instant learning, at unlimited scale, and is adaptable for any use case. VISUA believes in People-First AI, they see a world where Visual-AI will lift humanity out of the mundane, empowering a society that focuses more on creativity and collaboration and less on binary tasks, and empowering services and solutions that humans alone simply can’t deliver.
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