Friday, January 27, 2006

eBay ramblings

Or maybe rants?? I thought I was alone thinking eBay did not do enough to prevent copyright infringement. Some time ago I reported a woman who was selling print-outs of free online patterns, and photocopies of patterns from magazines (yes, they were copies, not real pages), and I *think* ebay warned her. The patterns disappeared, then a few months later, she was back again. I complained again, nothing happened. So...I decided to send an email to someone who might be able to kick eBay in the keister and get some action. DRG network. THAT seemed to have done something, because since then, although the woman IS infringing on copyright by selling graphs of Disney pictures (without their permission), I haven't seen any photocopies.

Today, I visited my favourite writer's site: BIG Harry Potter fan! I was getting teased by my husband because I would watch the Harry Potter movies over and over and over (and did I say 'over'??) again. Sometimes, I wasn't paying full attention, they were background, inspiration, when I was designing. Anyway, I stray. Apparently, some sellers on eBay were selling items autographed by JK. Uh...that is...items she hadn't even touched, let alone signed. And from the sounds of it, eBay wasn't too willing to uphold their policies of copyright infringement and FRAUD.

Why not?? Have you seen the eBay fees??? It costs 10 cents more to list an item starting at $1.00 (only up to 9.99...then it's higher), than it does to list an item under a dollar. So...if the item sells for that ninety-nine cents, let's see how much the seller gets: subtract 25 cents for listing, that's down to 74...less 5.25 percent of the selling price...that's down to 69 cents...minus paypal fees (if you use paypal) which would be 33 cents...

SO, you get a whopping 36 cents out of the 99 cents.

And if you start the item at $1.25, you pay an extra 10 cents insertion fee. Over $10? SIXTY CENTS. Because it's more difficult and time consuming for the ebay program to list them. Please, note the heavy sarcasm.

The fees, and the unwillingness to uphold their own policies, has really turned me off ebay. That, and the fact that I can list something for $1.75 that someone else sells (with 5 or 6 bidders) for almost $10, but no one bids on mine, lol!!

So, besides being wary of eBay, you must be wary of sellers abusing the system that eBay allows them to abuse. If you're looking at a single crochet pattern, if it's not stated whether it's a photocopy, a page ripped from a magazine (HUH???? but people actually will buy it!), or the seller's own design, ASK them. And if you don't get a satisfactory answer, don't get ripped off. Avoid the seller. If the auction says 'photocopy of a vintage pattern', it's probably not. I just saw one seller listing a so-called vintage/public domain pattern, photocopies (10 of each pattern available), that are found free on the internet via the copyright owner.

And for pete's sake, if you do get ripped off and receive a copy when you thought it was the original pattern, PLEASE leave negative feedback, so others are warned. And don't be bribed by the seller to take it back.

Remember, just because it's free on the internet, does not mean there's no copyright.

If you've read this, thank you for reading and apologies for ranting. I PROMISE next post will be more upbeat. Guess you have to let the bad out before you can proceed with the good.

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