Dont Do a Copy Wrong

Copyright is a legal term that describes the right of the creator of a creative work (or a person or entity to whom the creator has sold the copyright) to control how it is copied. If someone uses permission covered by copyright without asking the copyright owner, the copyright owner can sue and be compensated for any losses that have been suffered. The owner can even obtain a court order (called an injunction) that forces the infringing party to stop.

It often surprises people to learn that everything that is published on the Web, just like everything that can be considered intellectual property, is automatically covered by copyright law, whether it is accompanied by a formal copyright notice or not (such as the one at the bottom of an eBay auction listing and shown in Figure 18-1). So if you're in a hurry, you need to create 20 or 30 auction descriptions 18

at a time, don't simply grab something from another auction listing and drop it on yours. At the same time, don't try to sell something like pirated software or entertainment material that, itself, represents an object that infringes someone's copyright.

FIGURE 18-1

Images and text published on the Web are protected by copyright law.

FIGURE 18-1

Images and text published on the Web are protected by copyright law.

If you do sell something that's in violation of copyright infringement, don't expect eBay to be legally liable. In a 2001 legal case, Hendrickson v. eBay, a federal judge in Los Angeles held that eBay was protected from secondary liability after a seller sold a pirated DVD at auction. In other words, if you sell something that's been pirated or that is copyrighted,you're liable.

You can read about the copyright infringement case at http://www .usatoday.com/tech/columnist/2001/09/13/sinrod.htm.

You can sell used books and records at auction as long as they are legitimate copies rather than pirated or bootlegged versions. But because they are copyrighted material, the way in which you sell those items can possibly get you in trouble. Here are some suggestions for avoiding copyright infringement trouble:

■ Don't scan the trademarked logo on a book, record, or product and use it in your auction listing. (However, you can photograph an item, including its manufacturer's logo, and put that in your listing.)

■ Don't copy the text or part of a record and include it in your auction listing, or in a link from your auction listing.

■ Create your own description of the item, rather than copying promotional descriptions from the dust jacket (if it's a book) or the cover (if it's a record, CD, or DVD).

Ebay Cash Insider

Ebay Cash Insider

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