Today ICE and Homeland Security carried out Project Copy Cat, seizing 70 websites selling counterfeit merchandise. The websites looked so much like the real sites that it was almost impossible to tell them apart. They even had SSL certificates which captured customers personal information and credit card numbers.
As the owner of patents, trademarks and copyrights, I have had an ongoing battle with counterfeiters in the past couple of years. One day I just happened to Google wrist water bottles and found a site in China that had a picture of me wearing my own product. When I called them they tried to sell me my product.
That’s when I launched infringerblacklist and spent the next 6 months getting the counterfeit products removed from the Internet. It was a daunting task. I finally managed to remove most of them from the Internet. But counterfeiters are like cockroaches. If you don’t keep it under control, they multiply.
It would be great if creators could spend their time creating value for customers and not have to deal with the negative side of the business, but you can’t avoid it. So, I highly recommend that you start off by protecting your creative works as much as possible. You will still have to monitor it and keep others from using it, but at least do the basics of copyrighting and trademarking your stuff. Go to http://www.copyright.gov/ and http://www.uspto.gov/ and do some research.
Spend a little time every week looking through the search engines to make sure no one is infringing on your products. If they are you need to vigorously defend it. You work hard to create your products. Make sure you protect them.