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Intellectual Property And Ebay

Apr 13, 2008
Intellectual property rights and possible infringements are a major concern in many areas of the Internet today. eBay is by no means an exception. eBay has set forth a clear and straightforward policy on the rules it follows with regard to the protection of Intellectual Property Rights and its commitment to protecting the rights that belong to third parties. The introduction of this eBay policy clearly states that infringement is the unauthorized use of other people's intellectual property - like copyrighted material and trademarks.

Rules that affect what a seller is allowed to sell on eBay include the restriction or prohibition of certain items simply because they have the potential to infringe on the intellectual property rights of others. These restricted items include: replicas, counterfeit items, and unauthorized copies; Celebrity material including faces, names and signatures, and autographs.

Media restrictions include movie prints in both 35mm and 70 mm formats, bootleg recordings of music, movies, videos, etc., recordable media, promotional copies, and digitally delivered goods.

Software restrictions include academic software, beta Software, and OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) software. Applications that have not been opened and are still in the original box are permitted to be sold.

It is recommended that when an eBay seller is selling media on eBay, such as DVD's, CD's, etc., that it is noticeably notated in the description of the auction that the item is "new in box" or "unopened". If a used DVD, VHS tape, cassette or CD is being sold sellers should notate that the item is used and is the original.

There are even restrictions against certain types of equipment that might support unauthorized copies like mod chips, game enhancers, boot disks, and hardware or software that could allow members to duplicate copy-protected material.

When a seller lists an item, the seller is not allowed to encourage or enable others to infringe copyrights, trademarks or other rights. Members cannot improperly use eBay's name, logo or linking to the eBay web site, nor can a member include authenticity disclaimers or deny responsibility for the items offered in their listings.

Using another member's item description or picture without their permission is prohibited and falls under the rules set out in eBay's Item Description and Picture Theft Policy.

eBay has even gone so far that they created a program they call their VeRO program. VeRO stands for Verified Rights Owner. Per eBay, "any person or company who holds intellectual property rights (such as a copyright, trademark or patent) which may be infringed upon by eBay postings or items listed on eBay is encouraged to become a VeRO Program member. Program members presently include hundreds of individuals, local law enforcement, and intellectual property owners from a wide array of industries". The basic purpose of the VeRO program is to allow intellectual property owners to easily report listings that infringe their rights. eBay feels that it is in their best interest to ensure that infringing items are removed from the site, as they tend to erode good buyer and good seller trust. A tutorial on eBay's intellectual property policies can be found at http://pages.ebay.in/help/tutorial/verotutorial/intro.html.
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