AfterDawn: Tech news

Software industry prepared to sue eBay over pirates

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Jul 2008 1:24 User comments (20)

Software industry prepared to sue eBay over pirates The Software & Information Industry Association announced yesterday it is prepared to sue the auction giant eBay "for failing to do enough to prevent the sale of pirated software" on its site.
The group also claims that eBay refuses to take several simple steps to reduce sales of the counterfeit software. The group has had years of discussions with the site but says eBay refuses to do more than simply take down the auctions that the SIIA has deemed "pirated."

"Once notified, they will do something,"
Keith Kuperschmid, senior VP of intellectual property policy and enforcement for SIIA said. "What they won't do is what we consider pre-emptory, proactive measures."

A couple of these measures include "placing a notification in the buyer feedback section that the seller has had pirated items removed from the site; penalize sellers of illegal software, even if it's their first offense; and develop technology to try to find repeat offenders who use multiple identities on eBay."

The group estimates that up to 75 percent of all software sold on eBay is illegal and that the volume is so large that the group cannot even identify all the offenders.

Because eBay wont listen to these "recommendations", the SIIA is now prepared to sue the auction site. The SIIA is backed by many behemoths of the industry, including IBM and Oracle.

"It continues to be on the table,"
Kuperschmid added. "Does that mean we will be suing anytime soon? No. But it's definitely being discussed by SIIA and its members."

EBay is not new to such lawsuits. The jewelry maker Tiffany sued the site last year to force it to become "more proactive in removing counterfeit goods" but a judge recently ruled that eBay could not be held responsible for fake goods sold on the site.

The SIAA has so far filed 32 lawsuits this year against sellers of pirated software on auction sites and has many more planned.

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20 user comments

126.7.2008 13:52

Okay and I'm sure they are going to track down all the improper OEM installations of XP on machines too. Half of these people selling these computers have no idea software is pirated or not. I do not think there is any reason for a seller to have a red mark that says 'had pirated/counterfeit items removed' whatsoever, regardless of the situation.

226.7.2008 15:43

Originally posted by tatsh:
Okay and I'm sure they are going to track down all the improper OEM installations of XP on machines too. Half of these people selling these computers have no idea software is pirated or not. I do not think there is any reason for a seller to have a red mark that says 'had pirated/counterfeit items removed' whatsoever, regardless of the situation.

326.7.2008 17:36

ebay should take action, once they have discovered someone is doing something illegal on its website, and they do.

I figure if the software industry wants to produce something so easily pirated then the onus is on them to identify the pirates to law enforcement agencies.

It appears to me, that what the software people are trying to do is to make other parties responsible for securing their products, so they don't have to expend any time, effort or money.

Where is the lawsuit by Cosmopolitan for people reading their magazine in the grocery store check-out line without paying?

All in all, once the sofware industry transitions to per month or per use fees , pirating won't be an issue.

426.7.2008 19:26

yea, not just the software, they should take action about the counterfit DVD, Shoes and Clothing too. I got screw couple times for that already, and its pissing me off. Cant trust nobody on Ebay.

526.7.2008 22:45

Ebay is the World's Flea market. It is impossible for them to remove all pirated/counterfeit goods. I think it is a bigger problem with counterfeit products like antiques and designer names and such. What if you spend thousands of $$$ on an antique sword and then find out it is a $20 Chinese reproduction?

For software, it is like $60 at a store and counterfeit software works just as good as non-counterfeit software. The buyer is not totally screwed with software, but in the first case, they are out large sums of $$$. Also, isn't pirated software the authentic software with a pirated key? Just buy a key from the company and get your money back from the pirated stuff. If you use a Credit card or Paypal, then you are protected. Also, use common sense. If something seems too good to be true, then odds are it is. When you buy a PC, only spend as much as the Hardware is worth.

I think eBay is doing a good job with piracy and counterfeits. They have a lot of people post FAQs on counterfeit goods and they will remove listings of counterfeit goods. Some items are flagged when listed and will be checked by someone. Also, it is very possible for an honest seller to sell something counterfeit without knowing it. Some people cannot tell the difference from a pirated DVD and an authentic one. Most people can't tell the difference between counterfeit and authentic jewelry, designer clothings, antiques, etc... Then with all the reproductions out there, you almost have to be a professional in the field in order to question somethings authenticity.

626.7.2008 23:01

I hope they get sued for millions. i hate eBay so much now. Its so annoying because its really the only choice we have and they exploit it by treating sellers like shit.

726.7.2008 23:05

Its so annoying because its really the only choice we have
I'm curious as to how that's the only choice anyone has?

Legitimate software purchases can be made all over the place.

827.7.2008 01:02

I have had only 1 case of when I bought a movie from e-bay it was pirated. As soon as it arrived, I knew it was my fault for not checking that the seller sent from china. It was a good copy tho, pirated, but good. It was very easy to tell once I opened the package....the front of the case was in english, and the back of the case was in french. The backing in no way matched what the movie inside was.

927.7.2008 03:56

I do have to say this is not ebay's fault of responsibility.

As I stand a good example - I am selling a laptop for proprietary parts- said laptop comes with an OEM sticker, as I am selling the base of the part, I mention in the listing that the "Original Equipment Manufacturer's sticker for Windows XP pro is still affixed to the bottom." this is considered pirating... I own the license, can I sell it? No. Should I be able to? Yes - I paid for it, and I'm sure as heck not using the damn thing! I even spoke directly to an MS rep and explained myself, stating, "In no means was I attempting to pirate, I am just trying to sell my property." to which the reply was "Well the only way you could sell an OEM license is with a full PC, or at least hardware, even then we would need you to include the Disc, as it's an impartial product."

While this issue is in no way illegal (as far as I am concerned I feel if I can sell the laptop for parts, one of those parts can indeed be the License sticker and it should be legal for me to sell it in any way I see fit... as it's mine) it is somehow a violation of the EULA.

Now, MS patrolled e-bay in this case, and informed them to take down the software. I see no issue with the software manufacturers doing this, it is not ebay's responsibility to do anything but advise users on it's site about it's rules and it's attempt to follow the EULA - but there are so many EULA's that it gets confusing, sometimes the EULA doesn't even make sense, because software manufacturer's don't expect people to actually read them. MS even has a mistake on it's windows vista business EULA which states that if you do not like the product being sold on the laptop by default MS will issue you a refund for the OS... that's right, MS will offer you a $200 dollar refund if you don't like Vista - it's in the EULA - did they ever think you'd read it? NO! Of course not, if anything someone put it in as a joke, and I doubt MS would honor it more than the fluke of one man finding out the info.

Basically the end point is this: It's not ebay's task to keep track of your software's crappy EULA definitions, and to determine what is piracy. the fact that I can't sell my own copy of Windows XP Pro... well that's just a sad fact alone - the fact that they want to PENALIZE me for it? Ebay didn't refund my listing fee - that's penalization enough, thank you - I never committed the crime, I was informed I was in violation, and that is all. Legally I could even argue that I have the right to sell the sticker... I OWN IT.

1027.7.2008 23:56

exactly. i got a dvd from deepbluedvd on ebay and it was a fake copy down to the jewel case.


no quality standards on ebay anymore. its just a house hold name associated with crap.

1128.7.2008 01:18

The problem with this is that eBay will no longer allow any software to be sold. This is what happened with the digital products on eBay, yes they are still being sold but it is against eBay's guidelines.
It is true that they have an aweful team of staff in this area that crackdown on the people that do nothing wrong such as my listings, I sell golf clubs and offer 3 age groups in one listing, it costs me £6 to list and they still want me to do 3 seperate listings when I only make 1 sale per week!!!!
They definately need to get their heads sorted on who is a worthy customer and who's not because the only people they penalize is the good sellers and new members!!!

1228.7.2008 01:30

yup.. fleabay.. the counterfitters friend. I have had more ebay accounts than I care to mention, every one selling rubbish or fake goods. As soon as they booted me I was back with a new individual bank account (just set up for ebay) and a convenience address.. also easy enough to obtain.

I gave up when my conscience got the better of me, but I could be back any day I want.............

Who wants securerom on all software knowing the damage it can do to physical hardware? get real.. if software is worth having it is worth paying for, trouble is most of it is overpriced rubbish with loads of features nobody will ever use.. freeware alternatives are nearly always available without "stealing" anything.

1328.7.2008 01:46

"Ebay is the World's Flea market."
LMFAO! so buys that have multi million $ hones can sue people who steal or rather the people who let the thieves sell the stolen goods but when my work truck is broken into in front of my small ass condo that is worth nothing i cant sue the local holder of the flea market for watching who sells what?! There are bigger things to worry about! this is why out justice system is F*%#ed! I am not saying stealing is right, especially cause i know how it feels but eBay isn't at fault it is the thieves & the buyers who support them. yes i know some people may have no clue but i am sick of STUPID SHIT!

1428.7.2008 06:08

I wish they would sue e-bay and bring them to their knees - piracy in all departments is rife on that site and they actively encourage it by doing nothing about it - why ? we all know why - the commission they charge ( which has doubled in the last few months by the way )

for every pirate sale made ebay get ...
- insertion fee
- 8 % of the final sale value
- 3.4 % via paypal fee ( plus 20 p ) - yes they own paypal now as well.

in other words, almost 12 % of the cost of the item goes directly to ebay - of course they won't do anything - that's why their software section is plagued with pirates , the same as their dvd section, particularly TV series and most high fashion clothes section. if they were serious about piracy, they would ban chinese sellers.

they even have a "report this" button to tell them about obvious pirated material - I did this about 9 times as a test on obvious fake TV series pirate dvds where the pirates had even had the balls to show the crappy boxes they came in on the page - the form is automatic to report them, contains no space whatsoever to write individual short comments to explain why it is obviously pirated and generates an automatic ebay bullsh*t answer about how seriously they take piracy and thanks for the message.

1 week later all 9 pirate sets were still up for sale from the same chinese sellers ( all power sellers as well ) and a total of 440 multiple sets had been sold generating about $ 3000 of revenue for ebay.

ebay loves pirates - that's why they encourage them.they have made the owners billions. they've even reduced the fees for multi selling pirates at the same time they have increased fees for small genuine sellers in the hopes of forcing legal small time sales out of the market on ebay and running a sort of pirate amazon.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 28 Jul 2008 @ 6:11

1528.7.2008 07:10

It does annoy me how these pirates get away with it. I once sold some discontinued stock at cost price when I was working at my last job. This was £6.99 P&P & £1 Postage per item. Sold about 50 in a week and got my account closed for feedback manipulation!!!!!!!!

1628.7.2008 07:17

Good luck to them! I'm sick of eBay not taking an responsibility for its illegal traders.
"We only provide a venue for buyers and sellers" is the usual response when you ask why they haven't done anything about certain sellers.
That excuse just wouldn't wash with any other medium of trading.

If I informed a magazine that one of its printed adverts was illegally advertising (provided evidence) it would be pulled immediately!
If eBay cannot control its auctions then perhaps it shouldn't be able to publish so many. It makes quite enough money it just needs to invest better. When you see a seller selling up to 50 identical illegal items on a daily basis you would expect it to be flagged up at some point.
Again when a seller has hundreds of negative feedbacks stating that the items are counterfeit why does it still take months before they are banned?

1728.7.2008 19:12

Don't beleive PayPal will protect you either. I went down that $2000 guarantee PayPal joke twice. To make it brief, they wanted me to hire an expert (it was three different memory vendors who turned out to be the same person)the memory was the same Ebay described on their site as being fake, but this wasn't to their liking. I finally fiqured out Ebay just didn't care about helping anyone as long as they make their commission on the sale. I rarely shop Ebay anymore just a den of thieves!!!!!

1828.7.2008 23:04

I think eBay is tough enough. One time eBay pulled one of my listings for selling Office 97 (someone apparrently reported to them, in error, that it was counterfeit). My item was totally legit, but I set it aside and sold other stuff including other Microsoft products for a while. About a year later I relisted the Office 97 and eBay immediately closed me down. I was quickly reinstated after faxing them an affidavit and detailed pictures and description of the product I listed. They were wrong about me, but I can see why they did what that did. Isn't that enough due diligence on eBay's part? I am glad I don't have a "Scarlet Letter" as well!

1929.7.2008 05:20

Originally posted by gmahaffa:
They were wrong about me, but isn't that enough due diligence on eBay's part?
ermm no it isn't i'm afraid - i'm sorry you had a hard time with them when you were innocent but the fact that they reacted the wrong way hysterically with you doesn't excuse them for doing absolutley nothing at all against big time power selling chinese and euro pirates - it more or less reinforces what we think - if you are a decent honest small time seller they will treat you like turd droppings to try and get rid of you as you don't maximise their profits enough and if you are multi-million selling pirate scum - they send you a golden ball to play with.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 29 Jul 2008 @ 5:22

2030.7.2008 08:58

Originally posted by Hyasuma:
yea, not just the software, they should take action about the counterfit DVD, Shoes and Clothing too. I got screw couple times for that already, and its pissing me off. Cant trust nobody on Ebay.
Oh come on please! If you get something that isn't what it should be you can return it, and dispute it, starting arbitration if necessary. This is your own fault if you let yourself get stuck with something you shouldn't have got.

In feedback you can state your problems like the software was pirated this is sooo ridicules I can't even believe they would think of suing that’s like suing McDonalds for hot coffee spilling in your lap when your driving because your too stupid to know better.

We have to stop regulating for stupidity period this is getting way old.

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