eBay Copyright Thief 'treasureminx'
Just when we thought eBay copyright thieves could not get much more dishonest or stupid, along comes 'treasureminx' to prove us wrong, using our Krugerrand photographs.
During the third week of April 2008, we noticed yet another eBay copyright thief. This particular one uses the eBay ID "treasureminx". Not untypically of lazy, dishonest eBay copyright thieves, he had used a copy of our, by now quite famous, 1974 Krugerrand image. Nothing too unusual there, it happens all the time, we report them to eBay on a daily basis, and eBay remove the offending listings when they get round to it, otherwise we could sue eBay for copyright theft, and probably make a good living out of it.
View More Items From This Seller
Depending on your feedback, or some other criteria, eBay help their sellers to cross-promote their existing listings on their sold item pages. Not only does this help the individual seller, but it also helps eBay because they get fees (commission) on the extra sales produced. All well and good, except that, if you steal images, the stolen gallery images of your current listings get shown in the "View More Items From This Seller" section of some, if not all, of your completed listings, which potential buyers or other members can view if they search your feedback, your completed items listings, and also on search engines such as Google.
Whenever these gallery images happen to be our copyright images, we exercise our legal rights, and report the offending listings to eBay's VeRO department. What happens then is up to eBay. It tends to be one of about four things:-
- eBay remove all the listings we have reported.
- eBay tell us they cannot understand why we are reporting the listings, we tell them, and they remove the listings.
- eBay tell us they cannot understand why we are reporting the listings, we tell them, and they remove only the listings which directly contain the copyright material, and leave alone the ones which we reported. This option causes least inconvenience to their vendor, but it requires the application of a little intelligence and effort by eBay.
- eBay remove only the listings which directly contain the copyright material, and leave alone the ones which we reported. This option causes least inconvenience to their vendor, but it requires the application of a little intelligence and effort by eBay, without asking us.
As most eBay members will know if they have ever had a problem, eBay have a problem communicating. Even when they appear to be trying to be helpful, it's often difficult to understand what they actually mean. In the first two cases above, they send the vendor an-e-mail saying the listing have been remove at our request, because they infringe our copyright, and suggest that the vendor contacts us if they want further information. We think this stinks. eBay should have the guts to tell its customers at this point about copyright, instead of passing the buck back to the rights owners. It's bad enough that their members have stolen our images, without eBay telling them to contact us for explanations.
However, a long time ago, we created an autoresponse e-mail, which does explain about Intellectual Property Rights, and point to a few pages of one of our websites for even more information. The autoresponse also informs the recipient not to expect a further answer unless they contact us further stating their actual real name and address, together with their eBay ID. It also tells them that we are entitled to take legal action, and to charge fees for the unauthorised use. We take the opportunity to warn them that if their original e-mail was offensive, unpleasant, or belligerent, then this may affect our judgement when deciding what further action to take.
Most don't bother to make further contact. A few send an apology, but hardly ever reveal their full contact details, which incidentally we are entitled to request from eBay (otherwise we would have no choice but to hold eBay legally responsible).
Listing Policy Breaches
In the last two cases above, eBay cannot fairly tell their member that we have requested the removal, as we avoid reporting the directly infringing items until later. So they have to tell their customer that it is because their listings "Breaches eBay Listing Policy", neither can they tell their member to ask us why, and they have to do this job themselves. We have never yet seen a typical e-mail they send their member in these circumstances, but we guess it is pretty uninformative, as are most communications from eBay. Of course, it's almost impossible to get in direct touch with eBay, and certainly frustrating at the best of times.
We are happy enough with this outcome, as the two parties which are party to the IP rights infringement have only each other for company, if they want to eyeball each other, that's fine by us.
If eBay got their finger out and gave their customer some real useful information, it could help prevent or at least discourage the member from repeating their errant behaviour, but we guess that eBay don't manage to do this, as the almost inevitable result is that the vendor keeps using our images, and keeps getting reported. Nobody tells him why, he is left to work it out for himself. We do not see it is our job to train and educate eBay vendors.
Of course, when we later report the directly infringing items, and eBay remove those as well, you might think that even the thickest of plonkers would be able to work it all out.
This particular eBayer telephoned us today, although I did not get to speak to him, it sounds as though he was aggressive and abusive, demanding to know why some of his listings were removed (case #1 above). It also appears that he could not be bothered to e-mail the response e-mail address we provide to eBay for the purpose, or he would have been better informed, (but probably no wiser!). We did suggest that he should read the e-mail, but it appears he was too stubborn or stupid to do so. When we looked at his listings later, we can see that he has decided to not only continue the copyright violation, but modify our images by adding his own purported copyright notice to them. Not only is this copyright abuse, but it may well be classed as "passing off", which is even more serious. The question is,"do we make this our test case, and sue the pants off this guy, or is he the proverbial 'man of straw'?" For now, we will simply let the matter play out and see what happens...
Couldn't Get Worse? - Don't You Believe It!
On the 21st April, tresureminx added the following eBay listing:
1974/79 Krugerrand - message to my bidders
Important message to my bidders:
The reason I have had to delete and then relist some of my gold items, is that I have been under attack from a jealous competitor who has been falsely claiming that my listings are a direct copy of their own.
The truth is that this person asked me to sell behind eBay's back and I refused, and they retaliated. (If you look, I am the only eBayer selling several Krugs at once right now, and I guess they felt this was too competitive for them. Whatever....)
I apologize to those of you that have had your bids deleted, but all auctions are now back up and running -- let's hope for good this time!
[NOTE: There is nothing for sale here. Do NOT bid on this page!!]
Some people might say we should just ignore this dishonest ignoramus, but we feel we should correct his misleading comments, and defend our integrity which he has questioned.
- Important message
Actually it's not that important.
- under attack
We are not attacking anybody, simply protecting our Intellectual Property Rights (copyright).
No, we are not jealous, unless you can show us you live in a $10 million ocean-front mansion with Halle Berry and Scarlett Johansson (some of our female staff would prefer Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp), have more cars than Jay Leno, and a yacht with twin helicopter pads.
Yes, we are in competition in a way, and you sir are using our high quality photographs of a 1974 Krugerrand to compete with us. We take objection to this. It is dishonest and unethical.
No, we did not do anything falsely. You use of this word is libellous and defamatory.
- claiming that my listings are a direct copy of their own
No, we have claimed that you are using our copyright images.
- The truth is...
No, actually most of what follows is invention (lies).
- this person asked me to sell behind eBay's back...
No, we did not. Again this statement is not only untrue, but also libellous and defamatory. We made not such request, nor any approach or contact. Please provide evidence of your claim, or withdraw it.
- ...and I refused..
See previous point, it follows that you could not refuse something which was not offered. Please produce evidence to support your statement or withdraw it.
- I am the only eBayer selling several Krugs (sic) at once right now
No, we think that if you check, you will find a number of sellers offering multiples of Krugerrands, including:
n3wt5 who has 4 auctions each for 1 Krugerrand.
rarecoincollector, who has 30 individual Krugerrands listed.
1935bc, 3 listings for 1 Krugerrand each.
healthsuccessriches, 1 lot of 5 Krugerrands.
We ignored the numerous members who were selling only 2 Krugerrands each, as there were too many to bother counting.
But then, facts and accuracy do not seem to be your strong points.
- There is nothing for sale here
This is in breach of eBay's listing policy.
Please see our "Copyright" page for further information.
Copyright Infringements Remedies
Our suggested draft remedies for copyright abusers dependent on category - competitors, bloggers, pseudo-expert & advice sites acting as eBay & Google portals, eBay & other auction site sellers.
Other Copyright Abuse
Other Copyright Abuse
Buying Gold Coins & Bars on eBay
Selling Gold Coins & Bars on eBay
Copyright Thieves on eBay
We already have a page naming and shaming dealers using our images without permission. It's time we did the same for eBay, although if we include them all, this could be a very long page.
Find More Items From the Same Seller. Bid or Buy Now!
This eBay Cross-Promotion and Marketing feature causes similar problems.
Alphabetical Listing of Other Copyright Theft Sites
Other Web Sites
All comments about copyright also cover content of all our other websites including, but not limited to:-
Treasureminx eBay Listing 150238295224
Reverse of 1974 Krugerrand As Used by Treasureminx
Modified 1974 Krugerrand Image As Used by Treasureminx