PayPal Enforces Temporary Court Order; Cuts Off Funds to Pirate Websites

 

By Paul Pannone

PayPal is not being as friendly as the name suggests, especially to off-shore websites cited for piracy issues. eWedNewz has learned that over $60,000 dollars has been frozen in compliance with a recent court order that empowers the legal team representing the The American Bridal and Prom Industry Association (ABPIA) to do so.

 

PayPal recovers $60,000 dollars enforcing a court order won by the efforts of ABPIA.

 

The head of the organization, Steve Lang, shared the information and a response from one of the defendants caught in the sweep. The response, addressed to Craig Hilliard, a senior partner at Stark and Stark in Princeton, New Jersey, shows the result of the court order and how it affects the people on the other end of the world. The response appears exactly as written by the defendant, including all grammatical errors:

Dear Mr. Hilliard,

How are you? This is XXX who is a user from paypal, Sorry to interrupt. I just received an email from paypal regarding of lawsuit filed, may i ask what’s the exact lawsuit filed? Paypal never show to me and let me contact you.i bought the website from a designer, and selling dresses for more than 3 years, no one complaint about my products, and paypal never inform me that my products have a law issue. i had no idea about that.

By now i lost all the money, i have a house debt, 2 kids and a family to feed, so please help me, tell me how to do. i would close my website and swear never sell these products again. Waiting for your reply and sincerely regards. Thank you very much.

The plea is the first of what is expected to be many more to follow now that the organization obtained the court order to shut websites and seize funds from all sources, including PayPal.

“It’s a shame that it has to come down to this but given the choice between their families and ours here in the United States one has to lose. How long have our families suffered because of the actions?” asks Steve Lang, president of ABPIA.

In a recent statement Lang estimates the wedding dress business bled over $150 million dollars in lost sales and an undetermined amount in intellectual property theft and damages. In an attempt to silence some of his critics Lang moves forward with his plan to hunt down perpetrators and stop them in their tracks. But recent discoveries by this newZ source finds a reluctance to support the impassioned, sometimes fiery Lang.

According to Lang he’s become thick-skinned to some of the criticism and negativity thrown at him by detractors. Lang told eWedNewz he will not relent in his mission to protect the industry and create an organization that will enable small businesses to buy affordable life insurance for its employees.

“First thing’s first; the rampant abuses that were allowed to exist must be stopped. Once we hit these people in their wallet they’ll know we mean business. We will see what comes after that,” according to Lang.

In strong support of the movement Jim Duhe of Bridal Guide wrote a 12 paragraph statement for an eWedNewz story outlining how consumers must be protected from the piracy. According to Duhe brides are just average consumers in search of a bargain, calling for a united front of wedding industry professions to guide them.

In response a new addition to the Wedding Water Cooler, Jacqui Wadsworth, had this to say;

“I’m with Jim Duhe on this one. In order to truly beat the online hacks, we need round table communication. When you can exclude the consumer from your communication, that’s the day your business is doomed. If you’re a manufacturer who thinks your retailers aren’t smart enough to do a good business or if you’re a retailer who thinks your brides aren’t smart enough to understand the problem, you have effectively begun strangling your business. If what you’re saying isn’t being heard, maybe you need to listen to what your customers are saying, and then come up with a new plan of action. It helps to try and “observe” as you watch and listen, which I will admit can be painful because many times you have to set
aside your belief systems on how your business works and start over. We’re living in a new world of bridal/wedding sales and changes have to made in how we all do business.

Per Albert Einstein, the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. This seems to be particularly true in the wedding industry, with its high school mentality of whose better than whom, which shop has the longest run, which manufacturer will let you carry their gowns,
retailers who treat their brides as “less than” to make a sale, our entire industry has a nasty propensity to look down on others. This propensity separates us from each other and is at the heart of why we have a hard time uniting. Until we all realize we’re on the same team and make a concerted effort to work together, the online counter fitters are going to be hard to beat.

There is hope in the form of the ABPIA. I applaud them and Steve Lang for taking the first giant step in saving our collective businesses. I will also pass the word along in every way I can to make sure more bridal businesses get involved, as well as related wedding businesses. What’s happened to us is only a little step away from what’s going to happen to the associated businesses from bridal shows to wedding favors. We’re all connected and it’s time we started acting accordingly.”

Other independent bridal store owners responding to the coverage support Lang’s efforts, denouncing other manufacturers who have not yet committed to the campaign. Many say they’re waiting for more information and how the $100 dollar price of membership could help them find a health care solution for their employees.

An ongoing eWedNewz Poll shows 18% of respondents saying they would support a wedding industry organization like ABPIA if it was properly run. 15% said they would support the organization if it offered good benefits. 10% said they would support the organization if it wasn’t too expensive. 49% said they would support the organization if it hit on all three points. Only 5% said they would not support a wedding industry organization.

 

What do you say?

 

 

Join the ABPIA

 

 

eWedNewz

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2012

American Bridal & Prom Industry Association Draws First Blood against Internet Pirates

By Paul Pannone

As promised, the American Bridal & Prom Industry Association, under the guidance of Steve Lang,  filed  a federal complaint against 37 online merchants accused of abusive practices including Internet counterfeiting, scheming to advertise and sell counterfeit products, causing harm to American gown makers.

According to the complaint;

Plaintiffs are victims of a massive Internet counterfeiting scheme to advertise and sell counterfeit products,” the complaint states. “Defendants have manufactured, imported, distributed, offered for sale and sold counterfeit goods, including bridal gowns, social occasion dresses, prom dresses and other formalwear bearing counterfeits of plaintiffs’ marks (the ‘counterfeit products’) and continue to do so.

 

The American Bridal & Prom Industry Association draws first blood, filing a lawsuit in New York against Chinese pirates. According to sources, some have already thrown up their hands wanting to know what can be done to stop the litigation against them.

A discussion with the president of the new organization, Steve Lang told eWedNewz he is more than pleased with the progress and performance of the legal team of  Hilliard, Stark & Stark.

“They’ve done an outstanding job and not charged a penny doing much of the preparatory work to file the lawsuit,” according to Lang.

eWedNewz has learned that the demands of the organization has put off some of Lang’s plans and duties as head on Mon Cheri. According to Lang the greater good of the wedding dress business and industry takes precedence over other tasks.

“If we don’t defend ourselves against this attack, there won’t be any business to administer too,” he told eWedNewz.

Lang said scheduled meetings at all the major markets including Dallas and Chicago will keep members in complete touch with planned actions, now that the suit was initiated.

Critics of Lang and the entire project have fallen out of sight along with other blip moves that questioned his motives or tried to ride his coat tails to make a name for themselves. Lang leaves behind a string of casualties planning to continue his efforts, delivering affordable health care to members of the wedding industry.

 

So far only 3% of respondents say they would not support a wedding industry organization. Tell us what you think.

 

 

eWedNewz

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2012

The Week of April 2nd in Review

 

By Paul Pannone

The past three weeks of newZ, dominated by the war waged against websites, has the wedding industry concerned with the growing path of ruin left by foreign sources who do not play by the rules and have no regard for the outcome. Decades of sending American manufacturing offshore and partnering with foreign countries empowered them to come back and haunt us. The devastation has reached epidemic proportions impeding on the strongest American manufacturers that are combining to take action.

The top eWedNewz story for the past month includes a list of suspected websites that sell knock-off dresses being read by the industry and consumers alike. eWedNewz coverage of the story warns consumers of impending trouble, as we dig deeper into horror stories sent to our attention.

From the wedding industry side manufacturers are organizing to wage war against a faceless enemy. The movement, led by Steve Lang, called out to fellow manufacturers to raise awareness and funding for the war against the growing problems.

So far in a little over a month, Lang has managed to raise nearly $300,000 dollars in hard cash and resource commitments and rally a fragmented industry. In an unprecedented move major media sources met in New York  to learn more about the campaign and what they could do to help.

Along the way Lang’s campaign is criticized by a very small part of the business, as he revealed the movement would continue beyond the limits of the dress business.

In an eWedNewz exclusive Steve Lang feels the Wedding Industry could be united to pool resources and create benefits beyond just fighting off shore foes.

As eWedNewz continues to service consumer demand for information, formal products in both men and women categories are helping celebrity brand products like the Situation, directing them towards the updated products. As the women finished up gown shopping for proms last month ongoing promotions involving tuxedos shows a renewed interest for the iconic look that suffered steep declines since 1999.

Also high in eWedNewz reader interest is online sale by manufacturers.  The Dessy Group story weighed heavy in the industry forcing its owner, Alan Dessy, to abandon his role as a hiding figurehead of the IBMA organization. A current poll shows voting readers frowning down on online sales and finally sending a clear message to manufacturers that try to justify their actions.

In the weeks ahead eWedNewz will unveil more information we’re fact-checking and, as always, are here to answer any and all questions you may have.

eWedNewz

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2012

Wedding Industry Movement to arm State Senator for war against Pirate Websites

By Paul Pannone

 

The wedding dress industry movement waging war on pirating Chinese websites is diligently moving ahead, gathering funding and support while meeting with political allies who want to see the efforts succeed. Leading the war on pirate websites is Steve Lang of Mon Cheri, who has managed to gather support and funding, as he said he would.

 

Lang and his legal team are meeting with American political figures like Robert Menendez, Democrat from New Jersey,  that will guide the movement through proper channels.

 

In his latest update Lang reports;

“Our Industry Counsel, Craig Hilliard and I just met with  Kerri Talbot, Head Counsel for Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey. “Kerri instructed us to create a presentation for Senator Menendez that can be used with United States Customs.

We will use that presentation created by Mr. Hilliard to arm the senator to get us to the right audience at Customs. Senator Menendez and his staff  will help facilitate this action. Craig will create a presentation that has web sites and exhibits as if he were presenting to a judge; in essence, he will create a primer that anyone could use to get a full grasp on the dilemma facing us all.

I had a meeting with Rebecca Kelly, Head Counsel for Senator Charles Schumer of New York. She is setting up a meeting with her Head of Trade in Schumer’s office, Stacy Ettinger, for next week. The angle here again is US Customs.”

 

Sources near the story told eWedNewz the unexpected but welcomed decision by Alan Dessy to step aside as president of the IBMA, coupled with weaker presentations from splintered factions of the business are an open invitation to ramp up the efforts.

Sources also say Lang has his eye on the reported quarter of a million dollars now held in the struggling IBMA organizational till.

eWedNewz continues our investigation and invites you to weigh in on the story.

eWedNewz

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2012