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Wed Jan 1 2014 21:07:36

What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
For the past two weeks I have been trying to get eBay to remove a listing that is clearly using my images in their own listing. The item is very rare (from 1890 and only a few hundred if that were made) and for the longest time I had the only one for sale up on eBay.

This changed not too long ago when I noticed a new seller (under 165 feedback) had the very same item up for sale. And when I say very same item, I literally mean they took my main image and used it for their own listing. Now it appears as if there are 2 of the same listings for sale on eBay.

This new seller also took part of my title and severely dropped the price by $800 or so. Due to their lack of selling and non description they did not sell the item at auction. So they then relisted the item and put it up for Buy It Now.

I have reported the item several times as copyright violation and I have even called eBay 2 times about the matter. The first call I was assured that the listing would be removed within 3 days. This was over a week ago! I just called again today and found out that my report has not even been reviewed by their team! I got the person on the phone to even admit that the images are the same and that it should be taken off right away, but of course they have no power to do this and they cannot put me in contact with anyone who does have the power.

Is there anything else that I can do about this? This is really hurting my views on the item and when you search for it, only a few items come up and 2 are exactly the same. The only difference is 1 of them is much much cheaper and is in terrible condition compared to mine.

So what is a buyer to do when they see 2 of the very same item and 1 is priced at $900 and the other at $250? Of course if they did end up buyer the latter of the two it would most likely end up being returned because it is not the item they intended to get!

Is this a lost cause?
Sincerely,
A Beyond Frustrated eBayer Seller




Comments (36) | Permalink

Readers Comments

What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?   What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?

by: cayenna This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 1 23:45:27 2014

Yes, it is a lost cause. eBay will never do nothing about this. This has been my experience. I had all kinds of my photos stolen and used including my listing descriptions, and still do. eBay did nothing after repeatedly reporting...If you want to sell on eBay don't expect them to follow their own policies. I have Trademarks etc and it still doesn't matter. I report and call and nothing is EVER done.

What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?   What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 2 00:18:55 2014

Not to be a wet rag, but in the User Agreement you agreed to in order to sell on Ebay, the photo becomes a part of Ebay. It can be used by all Ebayers and Ebays associates. Somewhere in there you will find that in small print in legal mumbo jumbo.
That said, I too do not like the fact that others use my photos. How do you think the card sellers and others who work hard to take the best photos of their stock. Spend hours and days doing it and the Lazy Price Undercutting Slug Sellers move in and use the photos to sell their often inferior stock? The same way you do, ripped off royal.  

What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?   What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?

by: cayenna This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 2 00:35:09 2014

This came from the Trust & Safety Board on eBay re this issue:
Rules that affect how you can list items for sale

Not allowed


In a listing, eBay members:

   Can't encourage or enable others to infringe copyrights, trademarks, or other intellectual property rights of third parties.

   Can't improperly use eBay intellectual property including use of the eBay name or logo and linking to the eBay website.

   Can't include authenticity disclaimers or deny responsibility for the items offered in their listings.

   Can't use someone else's picture or item description without their permission. If you believe someone else is using your photos or text without your permission, report it to us.

So if it is in the user agreement that photos belong to eBay then it contradicts their policy I have just copy and pasted.

What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?   What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 2 00:54:21 2014

@Cayenna And yet, when you read the user agreement, you waive all intellectual property rights. And in general nothing is done by Ebay about photo stealing. Ebay should have a rule; If you are listing an item for sale on Ebay, the photo for that item has to be your own photo of that item, or you are history! Works for me.  

What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?   What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?

by: cayenna This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 2 01:14:01 2014

Hi  Tiffee Jasso, Like I say their user agreement sounds contradicting to the info I provided.
When you say 'works for you' what do you mean?

What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?   What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?

by: LinneyPinney This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 2 01:22:29 2014

I have been selling on eBay for 16 years. Years ago I had images stolen and every time eBay took care of it right away. The best thing that you can do is simply re-shoot your photos and watermark them. Re-shooting photos is a plus anyway because Cassini has image recognition so having fresh images will give you a boost in search. Sometimes, it is easier to be proactive.

What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?   What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?

by: cayenna This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 2 01:25:25 2014

Hi LinneyPinney, Last I learned adding to my photos is against eBay policy unless I use their water mark which doesn't do anything. I used to add to them before eBay decided it was against their rules.

What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?   What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 2 01:33:42 2014

I mean if you are caught using any other Ebay seller's photo(s), you are suspended from selling on Ebay. Titles and descriptions are different. After all, there are just so  many ways to describe a t-shirt, sports card, green glass, Bauer pottery, etc. If someone swipes your title so be it, but they would still have post their own photos (and clear ones too) of the item they supposedly are selling in the ad they posted. Original photos of any item up for sale would undoubtedly, cause less buyer problems and that is a plus for everyone involved in the sale. Watermarking photos is good, except, according to what I have read Google will not use them. Possibly Ebay's search engine is the same.    

What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?   What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?

by: cayenna This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 2 02:06:17 2014

Hi Tiffee Jasso, I think you are speaking in general terms for typical store items. I sell one of a kind items which doesn't seem to make any difference, and I am speaking from experience re my 'original' photos and listings being stolen and NOTHING being done about it at all, ever, no matter how many times I have reported it etc. So if someone has stolen something nothing's going to be done about it contrary to what you are saying. AND, someone did word for word use my title etc for my unique item which does matter; it made it look like I was selling their item and hurting my business... It's called plagiarism I believe, and against the law...I have trademarks and copyrights which are supposed to be protected even according to eBay but they don't. I have a real business and I am also protected according to my State where my things are registered, if someone breaks the law and that includes eBay or someone on eBay and we are encouraged to prosecute outside of eBay if they can't do their job; and I most certainly will if someone steals one more thing of mine. If it's called 'stealing' it's against the law. Since when does a policy say there's nothing wrong with that? I am venting because I am so sick of people doing this to me so please don't take it personal. But I do hope people do not minimize this issue. I am trying to make a living at what I do. We live in tough times and the last thing I need is someone stealing what belongs to me, making it harder for me and nothing being done about it.
Half the people on eBay that sell one of the items I sell are not even truthful about it and lie to their customers and which could affect their health. I can say this because I have proof. eBay's not concerned about that either...and how that can ruin my good reputation that I work so hard for.

What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?   What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?

by: LinneyPinney This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 2 02:27:21 2014

Adding to your photos is not against eBay policy. I have been updating mine for months since the search engine changed. I have 800 listings which I have reduced from 1700 as a result of changes that eBay has made in the last year. Another subject all together. Anyway, eBay has millions of users and many of those users are sellers. If you want to make money as an eBay seller you need to take care of business and not wait around for eBay to do something. I am making a living, a very nice living on eBay. I sell one of a kind things as well. When bad things happen on eBay, and they will, do report it to ebay, but take control of your business and do what needs to be done to fix the problem. Take fresh photos and replace the stolen photos with fresh ones and move on.  

What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?   What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?

by: OzKid This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 2 02:32:41 2014

I have just been through this same experience - tho this newbie stole over 3,500 photo's, headings and descriptions line for line, including the spelling mistakes, and unique stock which he (according to feedback) could not supply.

I reported over 1,000 items to eBay - result? Zilch!!!

I rang the seller and suggested he was in breach of copyright - I don't think he understood the term. He offered to come to town 'to sort me out'

I instructed a solicitor and sent a stiff letter demanding about AU$25,000 copyright fees. I provided over 1300 examples of like for like listings in the letter to him!!! I was telephoned and abused again.

He then had a chat to his lawyer and after I got a non substance reply from his lawyer he decided I was serious and pulled the listings. He then changed User Names and still has my listings in his Activa back end. I am expecting a second try shortly.

We are a small industry so I 'spread the word' I was about to file a claim in the Federal Supreme Court. Cost me AU$4,000 for the lawyer fees BUT I suddenly doubled my turnover back to normal so I figure I was in front. I am waiting till he puts his head over the parapet again and I will sue him if necessary.

Even better I found he had ripped fellow Dealers for the bike make he was selling. I advised them of the situation, which should make for an interesting conversation at the next Dealers meeting...  

What REALLY brassed me was the listings were the result of 6 years hard work and 25 years experience and he just did a copy and paste'

I have learnt my lesson; I do regular checks of other sellers; I have started listing one application per listing; I have removed stock codes from the listings; I have added a Copyright disclaimer.

Cost? Well AU$4,00 for the lawyer + about AU$25,000 in gross turnover in a matter of 5 weeks!!! So far!! But things are back better than ever, probably because I was coasting... In one sense, serves me right!

What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?   What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 2 03:14:48 2014

Ebay sold my photos of a rare antique item and the buyer copyrighted them as their own. Ebay has the right to do that I was told.  

What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?   What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?

by: KathleenJohnson This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Jan 2 06:48:19 2014

Want to enforce the copyright infringement clause?

Send a cease and desist certified letter to eBay including all your information.

Feebly calling eBay on the phone and talking to an 18 year old earning basic wage - probably not going to resolve anything.

What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?   What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Jan 2 07:20:23 2014

"Cassini has image recognition so having fresh images will give you a boost in search"

Cassini is the VERY worst thing that has happened to search. If I were a buyer, and I could not find what I was looking for due to the fact that Cassini isn't showing it due to the listing being an old listing or it is #2,657 at the bottom of search I'd go elsewhere. One should not have to refresh images to get good placement in search.  A buyer should find what he is looking for simply by using key words that match a description.

One should also be SEEN in search, but that is a whole other post.  I think eBay is paying the price though.  All  you have to do is look at the completed listings and you see what isn't selling and there's a whole lot of great stuff that isn't selling.

How broken is search?  I searched for men's blazers the other day and all of the returns were winter coats and jackets, not men's blazers or sport coats.  A coat is not a blazer.

What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?   What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?

by: yz250chick This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Jan 2 09:16:03 2014

After having this happen several times with no relief from ebay (and their supposed watermark protection), I took matters into my own hands. Now I put a light watermark with my user name across the center of every photo. Haven't had one stolen yet. I'd be happy to help you out if you need it done. Only takes me a couple minutes using Adobe Lightroom. Quick turn-around. Now I resize my high res RAW photos to 1700 and stamp them with a watermark. Easy to do in Adobe Elements also using a layer. Just contact me on my blog above and I'd be happy to  tell you how to do it.

See http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=131082641949&ssPage
Name=STRK:MESE:IT
for sample.

What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?   What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?

by: alfabarn This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 2 09:18:20 2014

I think that unless you have a copyright there is not too much you can do. Ebay and other sellers are not the only offenders, type your item description into any search engine and select ''images'' You will find that your images may be out there for any one to use. How often do you read that a family or person has had their photo used in an ad?
I am not going to go into a rant about conservative ''activist'' judges and IP rights but if you publish a photo without a copyright you have given it away. They can copyright ''your'' material, they can trademark ''your'' business name. Intellectual Property Right trolls are now Corporations with hedge fund manager clients. They and federal judges have blasted holes through any ones intellectual property rights. And as a result your IP rights, like your right to Justice, are only as much as you can afford.  

What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?   What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Jan 2 09:25:47 2014

I realize that this is a very specific case that would greatly harm this particular buyer. Over the years I have heard many sellers, not necessarily on ebay, complain that others are using their images to sell their goods. I always wonder who has the time to go looking for them. Someone once asked me about how I felt about the photos someone had stolen from me which I hadn't even known about. If other sellers want to be lazy, that is their problem. The particular seller that had been pointed out to me had such a hodge podge of photos, it was obvious that they weren't taking their own photos. How can you run a business without the ability to take your own photos or scan your items is beyond me. That means that they have to find a photo for each and every item they sell which to me sounds rather time consuming. When you sell sewing patterns, that is a lot of photos to generate, but some patterns aren't being sold anywhere on line. What do they do set the thing aside until a big seller like me lists that pattern? Not a good or ethical way to run a business in my opinion.

Someone writing a blog one day did use my photo of a pattern and I really appreciated it as they had linked it back to its listing in my store. I ended up getting between 50-60 hits if not more to my store just form that one photo.

What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?   What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?

by: TXDashcovers This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Jan 2 09:28:18 2014

Watermark all of your images. It will slow the thieves down. I have had the same problem with Low lifes stealing my images

What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?   What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Thu Jan 2 10:58:31 2014

I had 2 recent experiences with stolen photos.

The first was on a 7 day auction. I happened to find the listing the day it went live. I reported the stolen photo via the report item link, waited 2 days and nothing happened.

Day 3 - I called eBay, spoke to a Peggy, and was forwarded to Trust & Safety where I was assured action would be taken in 24 to 48 hours.

Day 5. Listing still up. Called eBay, spoke to another Peggy, forwarded again, and promised again that action would be taken in 24 to 48 hours.

Day 7. Last day the auction is running and the listing still has not been taken down. Call eBay (again), transferred to T & S (again), promised action (again). Needless to say, the auction closed with a bid and no action was taken by eBay as they promised.

In the second issue, a different seller stole my photo of a different item.

Determined that I would get action this time because the listing was up as FP30. I reported the item using the Report Item Link. Waited 2 days, and nothing had been done.

I called eBay customer service, spoke to another Peggy. I explained the previous issue which I was promised action in three different calls and that no action was taken, and after bitching was over explained that I now had a different seller who had stolen a different photo and was using it on their listing. After a hollow apology for the past failure, I was transferred to Trust & Safety.

I repeated my dissatisfaction with the dissatisfaction of my previous experience with Trust & Safety promising me action and failing to protect their seller not once, not twice, but three times, and that I now had a new case of stolen photo, and I am hoping there will be a better outcome. Needless to say T & S promised action would be taken this time the time frame was 24 to 72 hours.

I waited 4 days, and once again, the listing had not been taken down.  Called eBay, spoke to Peggy, spoke to T & S, and was told the issue would be escalated and action would be taken within 72 hours.

Waited 4 more days. Listing is still up. Called again, spoke to Peggy again, asked to be transferred to a supervisor. Explained the past issue as well as the current issue to the supervisor and asked that I be transferred to a Trust & Safety Supervisor. I get transferred to T & S, and was told that T & S was very busy since it was the holidays, but the supervisor would escalate the issue and it would be taken care of, for sure, in 24 to 72 hours.

4 more days pass, no action taken. I call again, am transferred again to a ''supervisor'' , I explain the ongoing issue and how I feel that eBay is just giving sellers lip service hoping that we will just go away. I ask why eBay promises repeatedly that issues will be taken care of and then no action is taken to protect sellers.

I was promised that action would be taken and I would receive a follow up email again in 24 to 72 hours.

I did receive the promised email, and the second listing was finally removed on day 5.

Bottom line, eBay will throw hundreds of millions of dollars at executive salaries, but when it comes to having adequate front line staffing to handle and resolve problems in a timely manner, eBay will not dedicate the revenue necessary to provide sufficient staffing.

eBay will invest untold amounts of money creating automated programs which wrongly flag photos with prominent watermarks which would prevent these issues, but they will not invest in adequate staffing in departments where policies are enforced.

Sellers who are led to believe that eBay is protecting them are flat out being lied to since the company refuses to provide sufficient numbers of humans to act on and resolve issues in a timely manner within the time frames they promise.

On the other hand, when a seller falls short of their expectations, eBay somehow manages to act against those sellers before those sellers have the opportunity to correct their issues.

At the end of the day, eBay needs to reexamine their priorities. Instead of paying millions to executives to create policies their minimal staff can not enforce in a timely manner as promised, they should terminate a handful of the redundant non productive executives, and invest the salaries saved into providing sufficient staffing in order to be able to protect sellers in the time frames promised the first time.

eBay seller protections are a joke, as is the wringer sellers are put through when they try to have eBay act on enforcing their own policies.

eBay seems to believe that sellers will accept lip service instead of actual problem solving.

Their system is designed to wear down sellers to the point that they no longer have the fortitude to stand up for themselves by investing the time to be persistent enough to get eBay to act.



What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?   What Can eBay Sellers Do About Stolen Images?

by: abid This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 2 11:05:30 2014

Sign up to be a VERO member and host your images on your own website.
If you make a VERO claim, the listing will get pulled.

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