Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun May 26 2013 13:12:59

ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay seller Eric Saeger said it was pure luck that he discovered that one of his product photos was included in some other merchant's listing. But it wasn't just any merchant - it was a listing on the website of large retail chain ToysRUs.

In an email sent to me this morning Saeger wrote, "We're a medium-sized toy seller on eBay. Toys R Us stole our picture of one item and not only used it on their eBay listing but on the Toys R Us website as well." The item was for a Ben 10 Omniverse Action Figure- Kickin Hawk. "It was pure dumb luck that a customer noticed it," he wrote.

He said he knows it's his photo because of the watermark in the image - see the screenshot below that shows the watermark enlarged taken from the ToysRUs website. We've reached out to the ToysRUs public relations department for comment.



Saeger operates Cyberontix.com. He has emailed ToysRUs including its legal department asking for a quick settlement. He also forwarded a note he left on the eBay PowerSellers Board in which he expressed his opinion that ToysRUs tries to kill the smaller sellers on eBay and wrote, "I getting sick of eBay helping large corporations bumble around like Godzilla, wrecking everything for anybody who has dreams beyond a life sentence in a colorless cubicle."

I wrote about the issue of photo and listing theft here on the EcommerceBytes Blog just a few days ago. While marketplaces and retailers can use product catalogs for commodity items which often include stock photos provided by manufacturers, many sellers spend a lot of time and resources taking their own images and writing detailed, unique descriptions that can help them get better placement in search results and entice shoppers to purchase their items over a competitors.

We'll keep you posted as this particular story develops!




Comments (29) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?   ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sun May 26 17:55:50 2013

Wow. I hope the seller got an intellectual property attorney.

These mega-retailers will pull someone else's listing in a heart beat using VERO, ignoring the right of first sale doctrine.  Sounds like a major toy retailer has some explaining to do.

Perminate Link for ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?   ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Sun May 26 18:15:54 2013

Oh geez. Now eBay will review all his listing and pull any without a plain white background. It's not nice to pole the 800 lb gorilla. I hope Ina gets an apology from that pin head spokeswoman at eBay. eBay doesn't help--it colludes.

Perminate Link for ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?   ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Sun May 26 18:16:54 2013

That's POKE the big monkey, not pole :) That's copyright infringement!!!

Perminate Link for ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?   ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun May 26 23:49:32 2013

Lying dogs. Fleas.

Birds. Feathers.

Slime begets more slime.

Perminate Link for ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?   ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 27 00:14:59 2013

ebay & Toy'sRUS, partners in crime?

Will ebay take action on ToysRUS?
A month suspension?  

I doubt even a slap on the hand would happen.

Perminate Link for ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?   ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?

by: XebayX This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 27 00:26:12 2013

eBay and Bain Capital and John Donahoe. Hmmmm....

Perminate Link for ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?   ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?

by: XebayX This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 27 00:32:48 2013

Since Bain Capital owns Toys R Us, I'll bet the Ho won't dis his old alumni buddies. Pretty sure he lets them do whatever they want. He probably gets a cut for quashing any ''noise''.

Perminate Link for ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?   ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?

This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles

Mon May 27 00:35:09 2013

More proof of the problem of the photos. I don't want to be ToyRUS guy who was so lazy to copy-paste the photo from other seller when it must be available by the manufacturer.

As I said before I don't have problem if somebody wants to use my photos for ''collectible'' or ''educational'' reference or even use it for artwork, but I don't support using my photos to sell their stuff.  

Perminate Link for ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?   ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Mon May 27 09:02:19 2013

Prediction: The OP will be punished for this because the watermark was not 50% transparent. (A clear violation, eh?)

Sigh.

Perminate Link for ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?   ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?

by: Eric Saeger This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon May 27 10:21:49 2013

@Anonymous Annie: If eBay does pull anything weird on me over the next year as retribution, I'll know about it.  But I don't see why they would, really. It's a serious kerfluffle that wasn't my fault, it was TRU's.

@PowerSeller2007: The penalty for one eBay user stealing another eBay user's pic is having the offending user's listing removed, and that's all.  TRU committed corporate malfeasance in the form of intellectual property theft, which is a whole other can of worms.

Addendum: the pic is being used on Amazon also, by some idiot.  Strap yourself in.

Perminate Link for ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?   ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?

by: miaonorato This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 27 11:02:04 2013

After reading all these comments, I don't see where anyone suggested protecting your images from being "copied" I post my listing through a 3rd party that offers me the option of protection. The only way someone could "copy" would be to take a photo of the screen. And we all know how that comes out. It has completely deterred my photos from appearing on other listing and would have probably worked in this instance!
And I just loved the response from my fav "Anonymous Annie"  

Perminate Link for ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?   ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon May 27 12:00:18 2013

Toys R Us has over 3,000 neutral and negative feedbacks over the past 212 months. eBay through it's back door arrangement through Bain goes out of it's way to promote TRU despite the fact the company violates so many eBay policies.

A quick glance through their feedback shows TRU lists items that are not in stock, cancels purchases only to relist items at higher prices and appears to have special dispensation from eBay regarding adherence to policies.

Violations that would get a typical eBay seller suspended or banned from eBay simply roll off TRU's back as eBay ignores their repeated policy violations.

Unfortunately for the OP, it is highly unlikely eBay will act to protect the rights of a small seller against one of their bullet proof class of Diamond Sellers, and as Annie points out, this could have negative consequences for the OP's future simply because he is challenging one of eBay's protected sellers.

It will be interesting to see how this round of David vs Goliath plays out. I am personally rooting for the OP to prevail. Hopefully the direct appeal to the TRU legal department will result in a substantial settlement and will have TRU take action to cease and desist from further use of the OP's intellectual property.

Perminate Link for ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?   ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?

This user has validated their user name. by: Map

Mon May 27 12:01:25 2013

@ Ming the Merciless

Ming, that eBay poetry of yours is funny and so true.

Perminate Link for ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?   ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?

by: Ed This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 27 12:45:37 2013

Did ebay sell the picture to Toys"R"Us or did they steal it? e

bay is sure working hard to get pictures with whit back grounds and no other information or water marks. Do you trust ebay? It could just be another avenue to make money.

Profit is not a dirty word

Perminate Link for ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?   ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Mon May 27 13:20:33 2013

miaonorato says: "The only way someone could "copy" would be to take a photo of the screen."

That is not correct. Even if your photo has been "protected" it's not hard to get. All you have to do is bring up the source for the page and search for any line ending with a .jpg file. I do it quite often for photos I want to save (totally unrelated to anything I will ever sell).  

Perminate Link for ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?   ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?

This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles

Mon May 27 14:40:19 2013

@miaonorato, if your photo is in Internet. There isn't protection. If someone can see the photo in his/her browser. It is storage somewhere in his/her hard drive. They only need to follow some extra steps or have some add-ons in their browser to get it. The only way is to add a watermark.

I'm not a lawyer, but as far I saw and believe. Unless you are the manufacturer or designer. It is difficult go for a case of copyright. Now sites rules are different. Some sites encourage sellers to use their original photos and ''penalize'' anyone using copy-paste.

For the toy seller. I was just thinking. If ToyRUS don't accept the mistake I will not get surprise to see someone taking out of the way or even call ''hacker''.  

Perminate Link for ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?   ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 27 21:24:12 2013

Ebay will NOT take down listings where the image was CLEARLY stolen--as I wrote last week in re::: Ina's column.

They collude--and not only with "Big Bain"---they colluded with some penny-ante seller with something like 50 FB against me---now I am NOT a big time seller but I have quite a few more FB than this guy--if that is the justification!!!!

It is sheer laziness for the most part--the CSR would have to put down that iPhone and stop playing Candy Crush long enough to notify Trust and--what???--Safety????   (LOL!!!)  and then THEY would have to give a rats patootie to actualy DO anything about it--And they are not PAID to do this.

Dunno WHAT they ARE paid to do but--it's NOT protecting sellers from predators.

As far as the OP--I def hope he got a GREAT lawyer for this!!!!

TRU is a TERRIBLE company around here.  Why the local Babies R Us is a great store  and TRU is trashy and dirty with bad managers (there are several stores and for some reason they are ALL like this!)  and their web site  is USELESS--tells you there are "x" number of whatevers in stock-=-so you truck off and find ZERO in stock and NO ONE willing to HELP you---ugh.  Never again!  

One of their store EMPLOYEES tried to HIT my car when they were called out for parking in the one and only handicapped spot!  Did the mgr DO anything?  Nope!

Just evidence of poor hiring and lack of respect for those who pay the bills.

Oh wait--was that TRU or ebay?  So hard to tell them apart....

Perminate Link for ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?   ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 27 21:25:36 2013

OHHHH---

Has ebay made an actual DECISION on whether or not watermarks WILL or WILL NOT be allowed in the coming End Of Days?

Cause for ME that would make a hardship if the Image Thief rears his ugly head again----nothing BUT the watermark stopped him---certainly NOT ebay!!!!!!

Perminate Link for ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?   ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?

This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles

Mon May 27 23:01:10 2013

The seller is really smart. The watermark is so little and in a place that you will not see it easy. It is technically a bobby trap for copy-paste guys. Jejeje!

Perminate Link for ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?   ToysRUs Caught Using eBay Seller's Photo?

by: Eric Saeger This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 28 00:17:46 2013

@elpereles: I'm not that smart.  We started trying to make the watermarks smaller so as to (hopefully) be in line with eBay's upcoming new policies.  Nowadays we don't even watermark them at all, just to skip the hassle.

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