Is it smart to "borrow" (steal) other people's images and descriptions when listing items for sale on eBay and elsewhere?
It's a quick easy way for lazy and dishonest eBayers to create listings, but it is not so smart, for several reasons.
Firstly, it is illegal to use anybody else's photographs or other images without their prior consent, including photographs of coins, stamps, banknotes, collectables, and works of art. A photograph is considered to be a creative work, and its owner has rights over its use, and can deny or permit its use as he wishes.
Intellectual Property Rights
Photographs, other images, and written material, including descriptions, are known as Intellectual Property Rights. It is possible for the owner to sue plagiarists for copyright infringement, A court would award compensation or damages which could be substantial. Professional photographers, for example may charge hundreds or thousands of pounds or dollars, possibly just for one single photograph. Any individual IP rights owner could ask for this sort of amount, although the court would decide the amount, but it could also award damages on a punitive basis, and the loser would normally have to pay both parties legal costs, which could be very substantial, running into thousands, and possibly hundreds of thousands of pounds or dollars.
IP owners have the right to request evidence of previous copyright infringements, and to ask a court to take into account any financial benefit obtained by the infringer.
eBay Suspension and Banning
In addition, when any eBay member first lists any item with any image, he is asked to confirm that he has the right to use the image, and warned about copyright infringement, although we suspect that most people do not bother to read the advice contained in the warnings and links.
eBay have a VERO programme which IP rights owners can join. Whenever an IP rights owner submits an appropriate complaint to eBay against a member, eBay will remove any offending item listings, and warn the infringing member about their future conduct.
If an member repeatedly infringes copyright, eBay will suspend their account, and eventually ban them.
The reason eBay do so is undoubtedly because the IP rights owner could, and in many cases would, successfully sue eBay for permitting and facilitating the continued infringements. Th IP rights owner could be awarded very substantial compensation and damages against eBay, who would almost certainly have to pay both their own and the complainants legal fees.
Why Steal Images and Infringe Copyright?
You may wonder why people think it smart to steal other people's images, hard work and effort. There are probably many possible answers, but these include greed, laziness, and lack of respect for other people and the law.
We notice eBay members using our own copyright images on an almost daily basis. Sometimes we find up to a dozen auctions at a time, from multiple eBay vendors.
When an eBay seller uses a copyright image, he may also do it because he does not own the item, and may be trying to con other members into paying for non-existing goods.
He may use a photo of a better quality item than he owns, or one in better condition, This is deception. Potential buyers should, in our opinion, exercise caution before bidding on items where they know the images to be stolen. Members who knowingly bid on items with fake or stolen images are demonstrating their own lack of unethical standards.
Name and Shame
We believe it is right for IP rights owners to be able to name and shame offenders, particularly repeat ones, and in fact, we do list a number on one of our websites, but there are too many to list them all!
jacksonskelton Feedback Score 503 100% Positive
Interestingly, this last item states "This item has been relisted due to complaints of using another sellers picture"
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