Avoid the scams, find out which Business Opportunities actually work
7th April 2008
Filed under: eBay — Ben @ 8:54 pm

We may only be eight years into the new century but I think I have found my number one pick for the award of Moron of the 21st Century.

On a regular basis I like to browse eBay, especially for business opportunities – just to see if I can find any bargains and to see what’s being auctioned off. 

More often than I’d really like I find people who copy material from my websites and paste it into their eBay auctions – I guess to help them get higher winning bids for their items.

I can’t say I’m ever particularly happy about this and on some occasions I do let it lie but most of the time I will contact the seller and ask them to remove my copyrighted text from their auction listings.

The vast majority of people remove the material quickly and also send me a note apologising and insisting they will ask permission in future.

Every so often, though, somebody will really take the piss.

Take this one moron for example, he’d copied an entire page from my site and pasted it into his auction listing with no credit given to me whatsoever.

I found his listing a couple of days ago and sent a polite note asking:

Please remove any text you are using which has come from my site – bizoppsuk.com. Thanks, Ben

It was a very fair request, I think any sane person would agree, considering that the work he had copied was my own intellectual property. And perhaps, if he had actually asked I may have allowed him to use some of the text.

Let’s not forget that at the bottom of each page on my website it does specify that all the content is copyrighted and that you should seek permission if you wish to use it.

So, it was very shocking to receive a reply from this particular eBay seller several hours later which said (and I quote it exactly as it was written):

What is the problem Ben? Your site and content is not copy protected, it is freely available in the public domain. Which inturn means I have full rights to use any part of the content on your biz opp site.”


I was so shocked by this reply, I had to walk away from the computer for a couple of hours so I could calm down.

What a @#%^)#!

Obviously this particular person is extremely misinformed, to the point where he could get himself in a great deal of legal trouble were he to steal content from the wrong person.

Where on earth he got the idea that all web content is in the public domain I have no idea.

Just so that everyone out there does not make the same mistake as this idiot, if you’re in ANY doubt about copyright laws, consult the UK government’s website:

Copyright applies to any medium. This means that you must not reproduce copyright protected work in another medium without permission.”

From http://www.ipo.gov.uk/whatis/whatis-copy.htm

and also:

Copyright applies to computing and the internet in the same way as material in other media. For example, any photographs you place on the internet will be protected in the same way as other artistic works; any original written work will be protected as a literary work, and so on.”

From http://www.ipo.gov.uk/copy/c-applies/c-compute.htm

Material presented on my website is the result of independent creative effort by myself and, in very selected cases, one or two other individuals who specifically gave me permission to use the material.

The work is most definitely copyrighted and it certainly isn’t in the public domain.

I’m watching this particular seller like a hawk now to make sure he isn’t stealing anything else from me.

Moral of the story: If you ever want to get me wound up, steal from me.

Rant over…


  1. I’ve had exactly the same experience. Some people just don’t “get it” and seem to think that anything that’s on the net is their’s to do with as they please. Clearly not the case.

    If you contact ebay support, then they’ll take it down. They do understand copyright-related matters and take them seriously. There’s a more complex form that deals with people selling art, books, etc. – that’s not the one that you want. If you search around some or contact them through the chat then you’ll find a much more simple form that says something to the effect of “someone is using my pictures or text.” I’ve had to use it several times. As long as you can show that you are the rightful owner, such as pointing them to your site, it will be dealt with quickly.

    Comment by JH — 12th April 2008 @ 6:06 pm

  2. Hi JH,

    Thanks for the comments and suggestions.

    As it turns out, the eBay listing is now gone and he has not reused any of my material (yet). I’m keeping my eye on him though and I may make an example of him if he “re-offends”.

    A member of my mastermind group summed it up well when he said:

    Why do some people think they own the internet?

    Comment by Ben — 13th April 2008 @ 4:38 pm

  3. He’s got my vote!

    Comment by Etrader — 3rd May 2008 @ 2:08 pm

  4. I had one guy buy one of my own written (no resale rights) ebooks last year that clearly stated it was not for resale and six months later he was selling it himself with all my sales copy too on ebay!!
    Needless to say the listing was soon removed!!

    Comment by Sarah Lyle — 25th June 2008 @ 9:32 pm

  5. Interesting comments. Have had similar problems on eBay before!

    Comment by Gary Babel — 28th September 2008 @ 8:09 am

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