Ultimately, anything you publish online is at risk of being copied. However, there are a few best practices you can follow to reduce the risk:
Avoid sharing pre-production line art or graphics
Opt for a back stamp with your logo on each pin
Make sure your manufacturer knows that they do not have permission to share photos of your pins & reuse molds
tell your customers
Your customers and social media followers are your biggest advocates, so tell them how art theft affects you! Encourage them to keep an eye out and spread the word.
Consider adding a counterfeit reporting form to your website. You can even offer a % discount for reporting counterfeits.
tell your stockists
Stockists aren't always aware of this issue. Like us, they're usually small businesses doing their best. Let's help them out! Tell them about pintheft.com and remind them not to buy from websites that commonly sell counterfeits. (AliExpress and Wish in particular.)
Vet stockists before wholesaling or consigning with them, and refuse to work with anyone who sells counterfeits.
check your sources
Although most counterfeits are not produced by the same factory that made the originals, always vet manufacturers before using them. Here are a few things to check:
Are they selling counterfeits?
Are they using pin artists' images to advertise?
Does someone you know recommend them?
Are they a middleman or a factory? If middleman, how long have they been working with their supplier?
Are they claiming to be made in the USA?*
Do they have certifications? (Disney, Sedex, etc)
Do they provide inspection reports?
*There are very few pin factories in the US, UK, or Canada. Hard enamel pins are not produced in these countries at all. If the price per pin is under $8, it's probably not made in the USA.
Depending on where you live, it may be useful to register copyrights for your designs. Under most copyright laws, you own your copyright as soon as you create a work.
However, officially registering it can mean additional legal protection. It also makes it easier to fight infringement and submit takedowns.
you're not alone.
Check out all these artists fighting the good fight!