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Infringement Violations on eBay

Profiting from a copy of someone else's legally owned intellectual property is an infringement violation. Infringement, also known as piracy, is the encroachment on another person's legal ownership rights on an item, a trademark, or a copyright. eBay prohibits the selling of infringing items at its site.

All the legal mumbo jumbo, translated to English, comes down to this: Profiting from someone else's idea, original work, or patented invention without legal permission is very bad and can get you in hot water.

Here's a checklist of no-no items commonly found at the center of infringement violations:

  • Music that's been recorded from an original compact disc, cassette tape, or record.

  • Movies that have been recorded from an original DVD, laser disc, or commercial VHS tape.

  • e-books you purchased for your own use and do not have the rights to resell or distribute.

  • Television shows that have been recorded off the air, off cable, or from a satellite service.

    Selling a used original CD, tape, commercial VHS movie cassette, DVD, or CD-ROM is perfectly legal. Some television shows have sold episodes on tape; you can sell those originals as well. But if you're tempted to sell a personal copy that you made of an original, you are committing an infringing violation.

  • Software and computer games that have been copied from CD-ROMs or disks (and that includes hard drives — anybody's).

  • Counterfeit items (also called knock-offs), such as clothes and jewelry, that have been produced, copied, or imitated without the permission of the manufacturer. (Bart Simpson knock-off T-shirts abounded in the early ’90s.)

If you pick up a brand-name item dirt cheap from a discount store, you can check to see whether it's counterfeit by taking a look at the label or comparing it on the web with like items. If something isn't quite right, the item may be a knock-off.

Trademark and copyright protection don't just cover software, music, and movies. Clothing, toys, sunglasses, and books are among the items covered by law.

Intellectual property owners actively defend their rights and, along with help from average eBay users, continually tip off eBay to fraudulent and infringing auctions. Rights owners can use eBay's Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) Program, as well as law-enforcement agencies.

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