Normally I'm pretty laid back and easy going. But one misstep and I will turn on you faster than a cornered rattlesnake. I think under the circumstances, I have the right to be peeved.
Without going into too many details, specifically the items in question (not very expensive, but that's beside the point), I recently listed a series of auctions. Included were pictures that I took of the items. Because it's cheaper and the pictures better, I uploaded them and hotlinked them to the auction via a Web Image hosting site that I *PAY* for.
Within minutes of my last auction ending, another one for the exact same item was listed. On it was one of *MY* pictures. The seller downloaded it to his hard drive then used it as the one free upload that Ebay allows to dress up HIS auction. I sent him an e-mail warning him that he was using a pirated picture, and to please remove it. His response was that "a friend set up the auction because he didn't know how to take pictures". I responded back that his lack of skill was not my problem.
He has since relisted the same auction containing the same picture twice (for a total of three times).
This morning, I filed a formal complaint with Ebay asking that this auction be flagged for copyright infringement, citing that he was using a picture that I created without permission and that my image is protected under intellectual property rights. I sent a 'cease-and-desist' e-mail to the seller along with an ultimatum: "remove my picture from your auction or I will seek any and all other legal measures pertaining to your auction using [my] copyrighted material. And, if necessary, attach your Ebay account with royalties due as a percentage of your sales being levied". I also have [in writing via E-mail] a copy of the grievance stating that an investigation is under way and should take up to 72 hours. The seller has been made aware of this as well.
I fully realize that it's not likely to get to that point. And that retaining legal counsel will cost me far more than any monies I could realistically hope to get from this guy. But unlike many people who always look for "the cheapest way out", I am not above spending that money to make a point and send a message. If I need to spend the figurative dollar to save a dime", I'll do it. I don't give a rats ass about the money. I don't appreciate what this guy is doing. And I don't care what I'd need to spend to put a stop to it. If merely the threat of doing so gets this guys attention and stops the plagarism, then great. But I've already anticipated an equally probable outcome: that this guy tries to stonewall me and ignore my requests and/or responds with an in essence "F-off" type reply. As I type this, I am fully prepared to escalate to the next level.
I don't mind someone selling similar or identical items in fair competition against me. It's a free country. That's not what I have an issue with. Where I *DO* draw the line and have the grievance with is using *MY* images and [verbatim] descriptions to do so; ergo using *MY* information and images passed off as your own in competition without permission. I hope you see the difference and understand the separation. Had this seller approached me first and asked if he could "borrow" the picture (as opposed to poaching it the way he did), I *probably* would've said yes. It's the fact that he did it without asking, and did it two more times even after acknowledging the plagarism that I find egregious. THAT'S why I'm ready to sue him.
So you have all been warned. Some of us *ARE* watching. At least I am. You might want to think twice about plagarizing someone elses material.
Likewise, as with stealing music downloads, this message will only goad some of you INTO trying such a stunt. Fine. Be ready to be dragged through some e-mail and possibly litigation hell for doing so. Some boundaries do not need to be crossed. I don't mind you or anyone saving my pictures to your computer for your own use or even posting them somewhere else purely for informative purposes. But when you try to use them AGAINST me, then stand by. I will catch it.
I have followed this thread with " a smile "-I really enjoyed the reactions.
Personally X-2000R is correct-it is wrong to use someone else's efforts and work without their approval
I do not care whether it is legal or not -it is just inappropriate and wrong-morally and ethically.
I do not know how far I would pursue it but I'm getting old and lazy,in any case I understand X-2000R indignation and for what it is worth(perhaps only to him and myself) he is RIGHT.
He obviously has a higher code of conduct than many.
Maybe maybe not? How on earth do you draw this conclusion?
The auction in question was pulled by the seller. I can only surmise he got my e-mail and decided it wasn't worth the potential hassle and thus axed his auction. Good for him. I appreciate it. But I am still going to be watching him (and others) just in case. However, I have not received a reply. But his actions are sufficient just the same. Now some other things I'd like to point out.
1. Anyone who thinks my original e-mail was a "waste of time" or thinks I need to "buy a life" is someone who almost certainly sympathizes with the seller; ergo they too might be inclined to commit such plagarism given the opportunity. I already acknowledged the presence of such people in my final paragraph when I stated my full awareness of people out there who, whether it's a rebellious state of mind and/or a simple lack of respect for others, see nothing wrong with theft. Yet think that the people being stolen FROM are chumps who "need to get a life" when they actually stand up for themselves. Think the mugger who won't stop to consider that maybe the reason he has to take a life of crime because he never bothered to get a job. No, he's going to lash out at the police for "being mean" as well as the "losers" that called them. And you know just as well as I do that should YOU ever be on the losing end of something being stolen from you, you would be crying foul even louder than I am. But because you yourself are the thief and have nothing that can be stolen, you see no wrongdoing in your actions.
2. I never said that this seller couldn't try and sell competing auctions. I couldn't stop this guy even if I wanted to. He has just as much right to try and make a sale as I do. I only asked that if he does so, to use his own damn pictures. Or at least have the courtesy to ask if he could 'borrow' first. I told you, I'm generally relaxed, open minded, and liberal when it comes to stuff like this and probably would've given him permission. But because he chose to do it and do it two more times even after getting 'busted' (in other words a cyber equivalent of the 'middle finger salute' back at me), I had to take action against him. All I ask for is a little courtesy and respect. Is that *REALLY* unreasonable?
3. Comparing the actions of this seller to posting pictures of components is completely apples-to-oranges. That comparison holds absolutely no water whatsoever and is not even worthy of discussion beyond that. Now if I posted pictures of components and claimed that *I* built them, then that's another story. Or again, if someone took a picture of my components (without asking) and used them to describe "his" components for sale, then that too would constitute forgery. See also above #1.
4. Watermarking might not be a bad idea. Even if a picture gets on the 'Net, it does not necessarily default into public domain, unless whoever took the picture explicitly says so. This is a huge point of contention in the file-swapping debate. It might go into public domain DE FACTO (i.e. in practice), but that doesn't eliminate any potential LEGAL ramifications. In most cases with pictures, no harm, no foul. But in instances as I described in my OP, I can and still do reserve the right to call a foul and invoke intellectual property rights. Why do you think such laws were passed in the first place? Especially when I would have an essentially air tight case that can prove his pictures cause me financial harm (took sales away from my auctions). What *LEGAL* (emphasis on LEGAL) leg does this seller have to stand on?
None. Zero. Zip.
5. It doesn't matter if this is a "lost cause". First of all, the guy pulled the plug on his auction voluntarily, I guess not wanting to roll the dice and risk having it pulled for him INvoluntarily. So obviously, it *WORKED*. So much for it being a lost cause. Second, that attitude is exactly why we have so much BS litigation (and an entire generation of people born with no gonads and no backbones), everyone is always looking for the cheapest and easiest way out. And try to get someone else to do your dirty work for you if possible. Nobody wants to stand up for anything any more. It doesn't matter if it means some effort and/or additional upfront expense on my part. It might save a lot of both on the back end. But of course few people today bother to think past whatever is right under their nose. Right is right and wrong is wrong. Period. Because if I let it go once, then others will see that it must be ok. Before you know it, I might as well just invite someone into my home and tell them to help themselves to whatever they want. If that's what you guys want for yourselves, that's your business. I sure as shit want no part of that.
Yes you have an automatic copyright to any photo you take. But the legal question is what are your actual damages by the copyright infringment. In this case it would be none. You are no worse off after the infrimgement than you were before. The infringement did not impede you in your right to exploit your copyright nor did it cut into your endevour to exploit your own copyright. IOW you have no case. Now if the guy started selling those pictures.......
Photos on ebay are supposed to be the actual item for sale. Unless what ever it is he is selling was in better shape than the item in your photos or unless he disclosed that it wasn't the actual item he is guilty of false advetising.
Ebay [finally] responded to my concerns today. They are in 100% full agreement with me as per their terms of service. They stated that they will "take corrective action" against the other seller though they did not say what the specific action will be. Most likely, a simple nastygram warning this guy not to do it again.
Auction was of course pulled and this guy ignoring me notwithstanding, I consider the matter now closed.
But I will still be watching.
Isn't there a technique of placing ad photos where once the ad is closed or the auction ends, the photos cancel out. There should be a way to protect one's photos from being copied and pasted. Any technology available for this?
Really. That is crazy. I can understand why you feel it is wrong, but the amount of time and effort it will take you to watch, as you threaten, would, for any sane person, outweigh the benefit.
I respectfully disagree. Years ago I got screwed by a seller (GlennView) from Shutterbug; not just a difference of opinion, but he accused me of lying and damaging the (obviously mis-described) item. I take great offense to that. Took years, but quite by accident I ran across someone planning a very large purchase from him, and managed to persuade them to buy elsewhere.
My wife says I put too much negative energy into this stuff, but it sure felt sweet.
Bottom line is, if we don't police these jerks, it will get worse. Worth every minute of it
so you can monitor eBay DAY AND NIGHT.
They are out there. They really are.
And they told me they are after you, and your pictures of audio gear.
They were a carnival of American decay on parade, and they had no idea of the atrocity they had inflicted upon themselves–Henry Chinaski
One of the best ways of protecting your pictures is placing a water mark on your picture with your name or something that identifies you as the owner.
I am not a copyright attorney, but are you sure posted pictures on the internet are considered Intellectual Property (IP)? Were your pictures specifically copyrighted?
At what point does it become public domain once you post it to the internet?
it would not mater because a judge would find some technical grounds to throw this kind of nonsense out of court.
TRIVIA QUESTION: NAME THE MOST COMMON "Disfavored action" that courts will find any means possible to throw out, because they don't like these people using the courts to fight.
Will contests. Courts DO NOT like fights between family members.
AND, you can give your f**kin* money to whomever you want, including the "Save the Squirrels" foundation. So when your relatives say "But he was out of his mind when he gave that lap dancer his money".
The stripper keeps the money.
Got any pictures of the stripper?
I ALWAYS knew people I don't know are watching and after me!
"He (R.M. Nixon) was a foul caricature of himself, a man with no soul, no inner convictions, with the integrity of a hyena, and the style of a poison toad." H. S. Thompson
Before the last big round of revisions to the US copyright code, there was a presumption that a work was not protected by copyright unless certain formalities were observed.
That was changed, and so now there is a presumption of protection, unless there has been a "dedication to the public domain."
This would be an easy case if the eBay listing had carried a copyright notice such as "All images and text copyright 2008 John Doe." That would protect the property, regardless whether fair copies had been deposited in the Library of Congress or an Application for Registration had been submitted.
But I gather that was not the case. The "infringer" may argue that a posting to an auction site without a specific claim of copyright is in fact a dedication to the public domain, while I expect the aggrieved party will claim that such a dedication should not be implied but rather must be explicit.
I wonder--does eBay have in its small print, small print which I would expect that by using the site you argree to be bound by, regardless whether you have read it, a provision that all uploaded text and pictures are agreed by all parties to be the IP of the creator?
I have not followed the case law in this area for years--perhaps there is a case on point.
But it is not as though the "infringer" would totally lack legal arguments what were at least facially plausible.
US Federal Courts have jurisdiction over such claims, but you also must get in personam jurisdiction over the purported infringer, so that usually means associating out-of-state counsel and litigating in a foreign forum.
There may be state common-law remedies as well, but the only thing that would make the case theoretically worth while are the damage and attorney's-fee provisions of Federal copyright law.
I personally would not take on such a case without a $30,000 retainer.
Best of luck,
And how would the damages be calculated in this particular case? If there is no case on point, this might not be the one to do it. Bad facts occasionally making bad law and all...
That's a lot of text for a pretty much lost cause.
Suing him would, IMHO, cost you a lot more money than it's worth...
The best thing to do would be to contact Ebay about it, and basically discredit him in any way you can...but I don't think you're going to get anything out of legal action.
WANTED TO BUY: One (1) life
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