Counterfeit Calendars are Back and How to Spot Them

January 10, 2023

Counterfeit Calendars are Back and How to Spot Them

The short version: if you see my National Park Monsters Calendar advertised anywhere that isn't this website, my Etsy page, or one of the seven small business retailers listed at the bottom of this blog post, it is a fake. That includes posts on Facebook, Amazon, Walmart, ANYWHERE. 

The longer version of the story:

Fans of my work may recall the saga last year where some counterfeiters in China got hold of the images of my 2022 National Park Monsters Calendar and proceeded to spam social media and e-commerce websites using my exact product photos to sell cheap knock-off counterfeits. I have no way of knowing how many were sold, but I think it numbered in the thousands.

And speaking of thousands, I spent thousands of dollars in a fruitless legal saga to try to get them to stop. What I learned can be boiled down to these points:

  • China doesn't obey US copyright laws, so there's no way to stop the production of these calendars, or the fake e-commerce websites with names like "Etchmetal-art.com," "Aaajuneeke," or "Petrichrom."  
  • A lot of these calendars were also sold on sites like Etsy, Amazon, Ebay, and Walmart.com and promoted heavily on Facebook and Instagram. These sites have copyright infringement rules, but as detailed in this Verge article from earlier this year, enforcing them puts all of them responsibility on me, the artist, to report them. So either I spend hours a day policing sites or pay someone else to spend hours a day policing sites. These companies make money from the sale of these fraudulent items, and even if I get them to take the calendars down, they don't refund any of the money from the ones that were already sold.
  • I have copyrighted the calendar and applied for a trademark that is still under review after months. This will make my taking down the counterfeit work maybe 5% easier.

So what's the good news?

If you got a counterfeit copy of the calendar last year or couldn't get one of mine after they were sold out, you can buy the same National Park Monsters Calendar now, updated for 2023 but with the same images! I also have a brand-new calendar for 2023, the Wish You Were Here calendar, along with a puzzle featuring the cover of the National Park calendar. All of these are available through my website, AlternateHistories.com or my Etsy store, alternatehistories.etsy.com

The calendar is also available online through a few authorized wholesale resellers. But how can you tell which is real and which is fake? It's actually pretty easy.

Let's take a look at two listings selling my calendar online: Revenge of Comics, and Spinpaper.com

Revenge Of comics has the calendar listed at a normal price ($24.99). There are no typos on their website, and they list a physical address and phone number. They have an active Instagram and social media page, and a quick google shows that they're a verified business with a physical location in Los Angeles and a lot of positive reviews. In other words: if something goes wrong with your order, they are publicly visible and accountable. You can call them up or stop in and talk to a real person (they also seem really great and I'd love to visit their awesome-looking store). 

 

Now let's look at the listing on "Spinpaper.com." This is a site that is advertised on google and Facebook. Right away, we see that the price is "$24.72." Weird. There are multiple typos and strange phrasing on the sale page ("Free shipping for all order," "Company Anniversary Offer"). At the bottom of the page it does list a phone number and address in China; however that address doesn't seem to be real. And a google of the company shows virtually no information, along with a bunch of bad reviews and questions about whether the site is legit. Clearly this is a scam site that is selling fraudulent calendars.

 

Additionally, if you see a cool product on a Facebook ad but you're not sure about its legitimacy, google it! Putting "National Park Monsters Calendar" into a search engine will bring up my website, Kickstarter, and blog posts pretty quickly. 

This doesn't just apply to my calendars; at this point, if you're buying something online from a site you haven't used before or don't know, it's important to spend a minute or two doing this kind of due diligence. 

It really sucks that this where we're at with the internet and e-commerce; that you have to be a detective in order to not get scammed. All because giant companies run by millionaires and billionaires COULD fix this problem but they don't WANT to because then they'd make less money. 

Anyway. I will do my best to post a list of authorized resellers of my calendar below, but I'll tell you right now: if it's coming from China, it's not me.

I really do appreciate all the support that I've gotten from folks who just like my silly little artwork and got cheated out of money because they wanted to buy my calendar. I hope you'll take a minute or two to double-check your purchases this holiday season. Thanks so much. 

AUTHORIZED RESELLERS OF THE 2023 NATIONAL PARK MONSTERS CALENDAR:

  • Wildcard, Pittsburgh, PA (Currently Sold Out)
  • Revenge Of Comics, Los Angeles, CA
  • Powells, Portland, OR
  • Power and Light Press, Silver City, NM
  • Hoot and Howl, Morgantown WV
  • Wild Cat Gift and Party, Columbus, OH
  • Malaprop's Bookstore, Asheville, NC




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