Remember when eBay allowed “digital download” products to be sold?
Remember the businesses that went “ballistic” when eBaby cut off that profitable income stream?
Remember when all the “Junk” digital download garbage disappeared from eBay? Yippee!
Some smart businesses scrambled to provide viable/valuable products on CD/DVD and some business owners just cried like a baby and hid under a rock.
Ignorance Is Not An Excuse
Have you seen the scrapbook sellers still trying to sell digital downloads because of pure ignorance?
Why do sellers think selling digital downloads is allowable in the scrabooking category? Because they see the words “Digital Scrapbooking” in the category list.
Yes – you can sell digital products on eBay… ON A CD or DVD!
Yes – you can still sell digital downloads – but you need to list your item only in the Everything Else > Information Products category using only the Classified Ad format.
You are responsible to know what you can and cannot list. What someone else is doing or not doing doesn’t change that.
eBay Addresses Copyright Laws (and Trademark)
You are so smart! You already know what is copyright and trademark protected. You wouldn’t break any laws or “rules” that would get you into “hot water”. Right?
Some eBay sellers “Are Not Smarter Than a 5th Grader” and violate the law every day! They should be taking a “hot water bath” right now.
Some eBay sellers are in “Hot Water” and have done Nothing Wrong.
Why are they in Hot Water?
Because some dumb a*^ has sent them (or eBay) a “violation” email. This email is usually worded to scare the “pants” off us.
Deb Henry describes one of those “dumb” emails sent by a dumb a^# in her latest blog post ME vs. Me. You really “Must” read this… and then keep this in mind:
Just because you receive an email that “says” you have violated a copyright or trademark law… doesn’t mean you did violate anything. You are smarter than most… because you are here on this website!
Ebay Copyright Basics page: (this page is ambiguous and vague at best)
eBay does have a disclaimer:
*This information is not intended to be legal advice. If you have any doubts about whether you can sell an item on eBay, we encourage you to contact the copyright owner or consult your own attorney.
Know All The Listing “Rules”
This from eBay:
“As a seller, you’re ultimately responsible for the legality of any item you offer for sale on eBay and the listing describing that item. If your item or listing violates eBay policy or is reported to eBay by an intellectual property rights owner as violating its rights, the listing may be removed from eBay. eBay has a Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) Program for reporting an intellectual property rights owner violation.”
Ebay offers a tutorial for VeRO (you must log-in to eBay to view) http://pages.ebay.com/help/tutorial/verotutorial/intro.html
This is actually a q&a interactive teaching “thingy” and it’s really good. It doesn’t take long (2 min max) and you might learn a thing or two.
eBay does have a disclaimer:
“There’s one thing we need to tell you: the information in this tutorial should not be thought of as legal advice. If you have specific questions about the law or whether your item is legal, you should contact a lawyer.”
Compilation and Informational Items Policy
This one may “trip you up” – because we “are” selling compilations of Public Domain content… and yet that is NOT what is included in these restrictions:
and this one also has some confusing “rules” for us as public domain content sellers:
Public Domain Media Rules
“Before you sell any media, such as music, movies, or photos, you’re responsible for finding out if the media you’re planning to sell contains content that’s protected by copyright.”
“Make sure your listing follows these guidelines. If it doesn’t, it may be removed, and you may be subject to a range of other actions, including limits of your buying and selling privileges and suspension of your account.”
Disclaimers In Your Ebay Auctions
One recommendation that has been thrown about for years is to use a disclaimer in your eBay listings similar to the following:
“Attention eBay Staff: The book or books on this media were copyrighted prior to January 1, 1923 and/or are Government publications which are free of copyright restrictions. This media resides within the Public Domain as defined by the United States Copyright Office. This ad complies with all eBay rules and regulations.”
“All of these rare and hard to find books are in public domain. They were produced in late 1800s and early 1900s and they became public domain in 1920. They are now mostly out of print.“
“The recorded readings are from the author’s original work which is in the public domain. All readings and artwork are in the public domain and there are no infringements on copyrights.“
“Note to Ebay Staff:This item does not infringe on any eBay or Vero Rules.
This Product is NOT AN ILLEGAL COPY nor does it breach eBay’s Digital Media Policy.
I am fully within my legal rights to resell this product as I am either:
AN AUTHORIZED RESELLER,
THE COPYRIGHT OWNER , THE WORKS ARE IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN
OR THE AUTHOR.
Proof of the above can and will be provided to eBay Staff if requested.”
However – I can no longer find “that specific recommendation on eBay”
These disclaimers may or may not work. Even if you have a notice like this in your eBay listings – your listing could still be pulled by eBay. It is eBay’s playground and they can do what ever they want.
This is what I’m going to use in my eBay listings (until I find something that works better):
I may or may not use the words “public domain” – I might instead use the words “copyright free”.
I like the idea of using the two details right in the ebay listing… for eBay’s information.
I Don’t like that I’m sharing my ability to research and find hidden gems of public domain content with the “world” (can you say “competition”?).
I’ve noticed that public domain content sellers often don’t include a “disclaimer”. Usually these are sellers of content originally published “before” 1923 and the dates are noted in the auction listing.
I would be interested in hearing from those of you that are “experienced public domain eBay sellers” and what you recommend.
I hope this is “helpful” for those of you that are working along with me to begin to “sell public domain on eBay“.