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Welcome to my Zoicks.Com Copyright Infringement Help Page
A special thanks goes to everyone's favorite Photos/HTML expert, Bob Bull (Bobal), who originally posted this helpful tip.

Copyright Infringement - What to Do if Someone is Stealing your Images & Copy

Copyright & Infringement Rules

From eBay:"Listings that violate eBay's Image and Description theft policy may be removed early.Multiple violations of this policy could result in the suspension of your account.

Unauthorized linking to your photos is not permitted.

The following information is quoted from the rules of eBay:

Copyrights, Trademarks & Your Listing

How do you know if you're infringing someone's copyright, trademark or other rights when you create your auction listings? To find out, look at the guidelines listed below. This list will help you determine if your item is infringing (violating copyright law) or prohibited (not allowed on eBay). Not allowing these items on the site protects you from liability and helps make eBay a safe place for trading. Selling or buying any of these items could put you at risk for civil or criminal liability. Your auction could be ended early and you may be suspended from eBay.

eBay Guideline:

Contrary to popular belief, the fact that material is posted on the world wide web does not mean it is in the "public domain" or otherwise free to be taken, copied or used by others. Creators of web content probably have copyright, trademark and other rights in the material they create. Copying, modifying and possibly linking to content created by others could expose you to legal liability.

eBay Guideline:

No Copying Allowed! When you prepare your auction listings you generally should use only material (text, photographs, etc.) and trademarks/names that you created or own yourself or licensed from the owners.

eBay Guideline:

No Unauthorized Linking to Photos! You cannot link to somebody else's picture (so it appears in your auction) without the owner's permission.

What is a copyright? A copyright is the protection given in the United States to certain original works of authorship, including text, pictures, music, etc. The owner of a copyright holds the exclusive right to duplicate, distribute and create derivative works from his work. Auction listings often contain text, photographs and the names/trademarks of companies. The text and photographs which you create and use in auction listings may be protected by copyright laws.

If you copy someone else's auction text or original photograph, or copy text or photographs from any other place (depending upon how much is copied), you may be infringing someone's copyright. They may be able to request the ending of your auction through our Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) Progam. Here are some examples of potentially infringing auctions:

  • You scan a photograph of Elvis Presley (without permission) to use in an auction listing in which you are selling an authentic autograph of Elvis Presley
  • You copy someone else's auction text and (without permission) paste it into your own auction to sell the same item (Making slight modifications to the text may not relieve you of liability if it is substantially similar to the original text.)
  • You copy the URL of a photograph appearing on a golf club manufacturer's web site or another user's auction causing the photograph to appear in your auction (without permission).

What is a trademark? A trademark is a name or logo used by a company (or person) to identify its goods or services.

eBay Guideline:

No Confusing Listings! If you are selling a brand name product, you can probably show a picture of the product and refer to the company by name, but you cannot do so in such a way that it suggests that your auction is approved, sponsored or endorsed by the manufacturer. Also, you must be careful not to sell products which bear the brand name of a company which did not make the product.

If any of this pertains to you contact eBay at infringement@ebay.com

Here is more excellent information from Jim Dainis, a frequent poster and photography guru, from the Photos/HTML Board:

"Put the copyright notice on your photo (© J. Smith 2003). That will prevent anyone from claiming innocent infringement and place this notice in your ad:

Other Sellers - The use of our copyrighted photos and/or text is strictly forbidden. Should you ignore this copyright notice and take it upon yourself to plagiarize our text and/ or use our photos for your own ads, you will be billed on a per-incident basis at a rate of $25.00. Using photos or text from this ad binds you legally to this agreement.

If someone is using your photos you might as well get paid for them.

From the U.S. Copyright office, Circular 1=."Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,”

Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the author or those deriving their rights through the author can rightfully claim copyright.It is illegal for anyone to violate any of the rights provided by the copyright law to the owner of copyright.

You own the copyright on any image as soon as you snap the camera shutter and it is fixed in tangible form, either on film, floppy or flash card. To say that anyone can legally use a copyrighted image (and all the images shown in the ads are copyrighted to the person who took that picture) without paying a usage fee or obtaining permission from the copyright owner is not true."

And more words of wisdom from Jim:

"I really don't like the wording on the eBay guidline - "Creators of web content probably have copyright, trademark and other rights in the material they create." You definitely do have a copyright on your images, the instant you take them. Most people don't realize it, but according to the Copyright Act, as amended in 1978, one owns the copyright on an image the instant that the shutter is snapped i.e. copyright protection exists from the time a work is fixed in a tangible form. This is implied copyright and does not have to be registered to be legally binding.Works published on or after March 1, 1989 are exempt from the notice requirement, (i.e. © 2001 John Doe) though notice is still highly recommended as it puts the world on alert that you are claiming a copyright interest in your work. Also, in the event of an infringement action, an infringer will be precluded from claiming "innocent infringement" thereby entitling the copyright owner to a higher damages award. For works published before March 1, 1989, the use of notice (i.e. © 1988 John Doe) was mandatory. If you published a work without notice it would revert to the public domain. So, not only is it wrong to copy someone else's image, it is illegal. This applies to any pictures you see. They are all copyright protected. (Unless they are prior to 1923)"

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