Friday, May 20, 2005

Is eBay enforcing bad-faith copyright claims?

Here on Ed Foster's Gripelog, you'll find a story alleging that eBay is blindly enforcing the copyright allegations of NetEnforcers, a coin-operated IP enforcement shop. (What they call "comprehensive brand protection services.")

This may be a private IP rent-a-cop going overboard to inflate its enforcement numbers, or it could also represent a copyright owner (in this case, the producers of scuba gear manuals) seeking to demolish the second-hand market in utter violation of the first sale doctrine. I suspect the former.

While the story is as yet unconfirmed, it fits with some of the long-running critiques of eBay. See this six-year-old piece, which critiques eBay's privacy policy--a policy that is not that different today. Basically, eBay appears to work on the belief that alleged infringers are guilty until proven innocent--with no promise that you'll be notified if your personal information is disclosed, let alone be given a fair hearing. Contrast this with Verizon (certainly not my favorite company), which took its case to the DC Circuit Appeals Court to keep from divulging customer identities without a court order and left the RIAA to enforce its own copyright claims.

I have emailed NetEnforcers and eBay in search of commentary; I'd like to hear what they have to say. I'm also posting a link to this on GripeLog, inviting the reader to give further details here on ShoutingLoudly.


At 1:05 PM, Blogger Roberto Iza Valdes said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 8:31 PM, Blogger Billy said...

like the blog ebay


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