Identifying resell rights in an ebook may seem like a no brainer. However, when I started selling ebooks on eBay I did not know how to be truly sure that I possessed the resell rights to an item I was selling. It's a topic I overlooked until a customer asked me "How do I know if an ebook has resell rights?" I felt that it was a good question which I haven't adequately addressed previously so here goes.
To ascertain whether you have resell rights to an ebook the first thing you should do is check the first few pages of that ebook for a resell rights notice. If you do have resell rights then you should find a notice such as "You have Full Resell Rights to this Ebook. You may resell it for any price you wish." If you do not find a resell rights notice in the ebook then DO NOT risk reselling it. The person who sold it to you could be reselling it illegally. On the other hand they could be selling it legally and the ebook simply doesn't have a resell rights notice, but it's not worth the risk. If you do find a resell rights notice then the chances are that you do in fact have resell rights to the ebook.
However, beware as this is not always the case. Sometimes ebooks that do have a resell rights notice are not actually resellable. I have been contacted by eBay's Vero department on a small number of occasions stating that they have removed my auctions because I did not have the resell rights to the item in question. I was under the impression that I did have resell rights to these ebooks. An example of this is David Blaine's Mega Magic Ebook. Inside this particular ebook there IS a resell rights notice. However, eBay's Vero department informed me that a certain magic company (I can't remember the name), had the rights to the use of David Blaine in printed media.
In situations like this there isn't much you can do. I recommend you remove the listing immediately (if eBay has not already done it) and then send an apology to the copyright holder explaining that you were under the impression that you had resell rights to the ebook, and if you knew the material was copyright you wouldn't have listed it for sale.
The purpose of this article is to inform you and not to scare you. eBay's Vero department have contacted me very few times regarding ebook removal / copyright violation and I am sure it is a rare occurrence for all eBay ebook sellers. However, by following the information in this article you should minimise the chance of eBay's Vero department contacting you, and also know how to respond if they do contact you. Just remember the simple rules:
- No Resell Rights Notice - Don't list the item for sale.
- If eBay Vero contact you - Apologise and remove the listing from eBay.
Ebook Success: How to Identify Resell Rights in Ebooks
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31 August 2006
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