The DMCA Subpoena Remains Invaluable

March 9, 2023

When tackling the problem of unauthorized resellers on Amazon.com and other e-commerce websites, one of the biggest hurdles faced by brands is unearthing a reseller’s identity. Resellers are able to hide behind DBA’s, various storefront names and other shell entities, making it difficult to know the true person or entity behind the reseller.

How to Reveal a Resellers Identity

KJK’s eCommerce teams relies on a number of methods to identify resellers, such as test buys, reviews of public records and databases, and standard Google searches. But one of the most powerful weapons we have in our arsenal is what we refer to as the DMCA Subpoena. We have written previously on the DMCA Subpoena, but in short, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) permits us to issue a subpoena to eCommerce sites (such as Amazon) for resellers’ identities. Not only do we obtain the true name of the reseller, but also contact information, such as a physical address, phone number and email.

Resellers May Provide False Information

Two years ago, in what came as a surprise to many, Amazon began making resellers disclose their identity on their storefront page. Instead of being forced to file a subpoena, brands could now easily identify resellers and take swift action against those resellers infringing on their rights.

And while this was certainly a step in the right direction, we have come to learn that the public information on Amazon is not always reliable or accurate. We have encountered dozens of resellers where the information provided fails to include any actual identifying information, and instead another DBA or tradename is provided. Similarly, resellers will provide inaccurate or blatantly false information.

DMCA Subpoenas

This leads us back to the title of this article: The DMCA Subpoena remains invaluable. We continue to rely on the DMCA Subpoena for accurate reseller information, and we routinely receive different contact information in response to DMCA subpoenas than what is publicly available on Amazon. Moreover, we also receive email addresses (which are not made public), which we find to be the most effective way to communicate with resellers.

The public information available is certainly a good starting point for investigating unauthorized resellers, but as of now, we still recommend filing a DMCA Subpoena to ensure you have accurate contact information for unauthorized resellers. If your brand needs assistance in identifying or taking down unauthorized resellers, contact Alex Jones (440-832-0599; AEJ@kjk.com) or KJK’s eCommerce Team.