Amazon Responds to Counterfeit CD Allegations: ‘Counterfeit Is an Age-Old Problem’

Yesterday, an investigation by the Recording Industry Association of America found that that 25% of CDs ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’ were counterfeit, with 100% of box sets determined to be fake.

“Alarmingly, 25% of the purchased CDs that were ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’ were counterfeit,” the RIAA relayed (more details on the group’s investigation here).

Now, Amazon is officially responding in a lengthy statement issued to Digital Music News.  The company did not directly address the specific findings of the RIAA’s sting operation, but pointed to broader steps to combat counterfeit products.

Other e-commerce hubs, including eBay and AliExpress, have not responded to the report.  Both were found to be transmitting large amounts of counterfeit CDs  through their sites.

Here’s Amazon’s full statement.

Our customers expect that when they make a purchase through Amazon’s store—either directly from Amazon or from one of its millions of third-party sellers—they will receive authentic products. Amazon strictly prohibits the sale of counterfeit products and we invest heavily in both funds and company energy to ensure our policy is followed. We work with and empower brands through programs like Brand Registry, Transparency, and Project Zero to ensure only authentic products are sold in our stores. We investigate any claim of counterfeit thoroughly, including removing the item, permanently removing the bad actor, pursuing legal action or working with law enforcement as appropriate.

In order to detect bad actors and potentially counterfeit products, we make significant investments in machine learning and automated systems. We employ dedicated teams of software engineers, applied scientists, program managers, and investigators to operate and continually refine our anti-counterfeiting programs. Amazon’s systems automatically and continuously scan numerous data points related to selling partners, products, brands, and offers to detect activity that may indicate a potentially counterfeit product and immediately block or remove it from our store. Over 99% of all Amazon page views by our customers landed on pages that did not receive a notice of potential counterfeit infringement.

Brand Registry

Any rights owner can enroll in Amazon Brand Registry to get access to a set of powerful tools that help them manage and protect their brand and intellectual property rights in our store. Brand Registry is a free service and more than 130,000 brands are already enrolled. These brands are able to report suspected infringement and ensure product information displayed on detail pages are accurate so customers can make confident, informed purchasing decisions on Amazon. Brands in Brand Registry on average are finding and reporting 99% fewer suspected infringements than before the launch of Brand Registry.


Transparency is an item-level tracing service where brands serialize each unit they manufacture with a unique code. Amazon then scans these codes and verifies the authenticity of the product before it reaches a customer. Customers can also scan the Transparency code via a mobile app to confirm authenticity and learn more about the product, such as usage instructions, ingredients, and expiration date. Over 2000 brands, from Fortune 500 companies to startups, have enrolled their products in Transparency.

Project Zero

Project Zero is a new program that empowers brands to help us drive counterfeit to zero by combining Amazon’s machine learning technology with the unique knowledge brands have of their own intellectual property. Using the self-service counterfeit removal tool in Project Zero, brands can instantly remove counterfeit from our store and this information is fed into our automated protections so we can more effectively prevent counterfeit listings in the future.

Customers are always protected by our A-to-z Guarantee. If a product doesn’t arrive or isn’t as advertised, customers can contact our customer support for a full refund of their order.

Counterfeit is an age-old problem, but one that we will continue to fight and innovate on to protect customers, brands, and sellers.

3 Responses

  1. JMartinson

    Yesterday, an investigation by the Recording Industry Association of America found that that 25% of CDs ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’ were counterfeit, with 100% of box sets determined to be fake.

    What is 100% of zero? I’m asking because zero is the number of box sets they bought from Amazon. Keep up the good work.

  2. Ron Thompson sold my copyrighted albums in six locations worldwide. There were only six copies of two albums provided to and those resulted in sales by item numbers. When I sent a certified letter to they refused to provide the sales by those item numbers though I own all rights with registered copyrights. I filed a criminal complaint with IC unit of FBI. also sold counterfeit cds supplied to a group that stocks their stores. They also ignored me. The criminal investigation files are on my site at link: . This music is also involved in the class action settlement awarded from the suit. Aparently DMCA or copyright protection is without significance.