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Fan merchandising store Bluegape shuts down due to copyright infringement issues

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Online fan merchandising store Bluegape.com has shut down operations due to copyright issues and plans to pivot to a new business model, reports Techcircle. Bluegape allowed designers and brands to set up merchandise stores and sell through e-commerce platforms like Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon.

Following complaints of copyright infringement brought to the notice of Flipkart and Amazon these platforms have stopped retailing products from Bluegape powered merchandise stores. This has made it unviable for Bluegape to continue operations as apparently over 70% of its revenues were generated by the fan art merchandising business.

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All Bluegape products on Flipkart are currently marked ‘Out of Stock’, but on Amazon India some Bluegape products are still available for sale.

Bluegape FlipkartBluegape Amazon

ARPS complaint: Last month, Artists Right Protection Society (ARPS), which helps visual artists in protecting their Intellectual Property Rights, had asked Flipkart to bar 15 sellers from its platform as the merchandise they were selling infringed IP rights of some visual artists. These sellers include Aristo, Thirumala Pitshop, 24X7shop, Eclipse, Posterboy, AffordableArtIndia, Pi-Store-NIFC, Printland, Design Studio, Uniquegadget, Gamyam, Koko Retail, Active Elements and Pickpattern. However, products from a number of these sellers like Posterboy & Printland are still available on Flipkart. Surprisingly, Bluegape.com’s name doesn’t feature on either this list of 15 sellers or the petition on Change.org by ARPS.

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In an email sent out to fanstore owners (a screenshot of which can be seen here), Bluegape informed them that the company had discussed the issue with Flipkart & Amazon over the last month but were unable to reach a solution. The email also informed fanstore owners that all due payments will be cleared on December 7, 2014.

Co-founder & CEO of Bluegape Sahil Baghla told Techcircle that they won’t be shutting down the company or the brand name and will be pivoting with the existing team & investors, though it’s not clear what new business model Bluegape is planning to adopt.

Earlier this year, Bluegape had raised Rs 1.56 crore from eight global angel investors via the online funding platform LetsVenture.com. The company had used the funds to improve its technology and supply chain. Last year in May, Bluegape had raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding as convertible notes from Willow Investment Management LLC’s Aniket Khera & Rahul Bhatia and an undisclosed entrepreneur. It was also part of Times Internet’s startup accelerator TLabs, as part of which it had received investment of Rs 10 lakh.

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