Second verse, same as the first

In the comments to the last post, I provided a brief update regarding the status of this particular eBay seller’s wares. Right now, he has removed the “knitting” category from this eBay store, but he still has knitting titles: a “Learn to Knit and Crochet” compilation, a baby hat compilation, and an afghan compilation. And for some reason, he rearranged the words in the baby hat item listing (possibly the afghan one, too)–the item title used to be “30 Knitting Patterns…” and not “Knitting 30 Patterns…”.

Some people have pointed out that this is the tip of the iceberg. Yes, that’s true. Even just looking at eBay items like this will lead you to more sellers offering digital downloads, some of which may appear suspect. And there are tons of groups hosted by services like Yahoo and Multiply that exist for the members to scan and upload purchased craft patterns. We documented a few of those groups five years ago.

Individual designers or publishers can’t police the Internet constantly, but they can take some action against infringers that are brought to their attention. And I’m grateful to those of you who bring up questions about copyright infringement in public or try to educate others, who contact designers to verify whether a published pattern is an authorized copy or not, and who try to track down authors or publishers when they find a suspicious publication stripped of identifying information.

I’ve got a longer post brewing about this situation, but in the meantime: if you are a copyright owner whose copyright is being infringed on eBay, you can choose to deal with the infringing seller directly, or you can choose to act through eBay (or both). If you choose to act through eBay, though, don’t just file a casual complaint; take the extra step of filling in eBay’s Notice of Claimed Infringement (NOCI) form and fax it in. You must take this action to get eBay to remove a listing. In future, you can submit forms electronically.

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28 Responses to Second verse, same as the first

  1. Amie says:

    I’m laughing at what he’s got posted at the end of the auctions:

    “Please do not leave negative or neutral feedback without contacting me first with any problem you may have. First of all its against Ebay rules and secondly there is absolutely no need. Any problems you may have can be sorted out without resorting to leaving unecessary or negative feedback.”

    There is no NEED? Oh…my…what a moron. I’m refraining from using other choice words. How about, “YOU’RE A THIEF!”

  2. Yvonne says:

    “Is it that copyright on such items is easier to defend and prosecute?”

    I don’t know about that, but my experience with people like this is that they avoid the for-pay stuff because they’re cheap and don’t want to pay for the material to get to it.

  3. LisaB says:

    While Sean may be discouraged from selling other people’s knitting patterns, at least for now, he’s still chugging merrily along selling anything else compiled online by anybody else. For example: his “Learn How To Make Homemade Potpourri 100+ recipes Ebook” – he (his ‘master reseller’ vendor, whoever) lifted that one verbatim from atlanticspice.com, to look at the recipe titles. (As have a few hobbyist websites/blogs, apparantly, but without the chutzpah of trying to sell ‘em.)

    I notice that at least right now Sean is only selling that which can be had for the price of an internet connection and a little googling. If he did have any books, magazines, or anything else that comes with an actual price tag and is recent enough to be under copyright, he’s pulled them, so I’m curious. Is it that copyright on such items is easier to defend and prosecute?

    Part of me says that people so dumb as to buy stuff that can be had online for free, *should* be fleeced…no, I do understand the principle behind this skirmish, but it’s a tough one to uphold in a “one born every minute” world.

  4. Shannon says:

    Susan, I think margaritas are in order at TNNA, no? :)

  5. So latest chapter is he is going to those of us who published Negative Feedback and posting Negative Feedback on our Ebay accounts! I have a long history with ebay and NO negatives – I have answered his to say mine was due to his stealing knit patterns from me. You all may want to go and check your feedback and answer him!

    GRRRRRR

    Regards, Susan

    Susan C. Druding
    Crystal Palace Yarns – Straw Into Gold, Inc.
    160 23rd Street, Richmond, CA 94804
    email: druding1@straw.com
    web: http://www.straw.com

  6. I finally bought one of his French “books” so I could post Feedback – it was one of the cheaper offers – why pay more to post Feedback, eh?

    He sent me another NastyGram with a new story and also said all of us have a “mob mentality” – ah the Mob Mentality Knitters!!

    I told him that I did not believe him that he did not know what he was doing with offering so many designs from us (Crystal Palace Yarns) as well as other designers and Lion Brand yarns and YarnMarket.com

    His answer is below – a new story each time – and his English and spelling are so poor that I doubt very much that his name is really “Sean Gordon”.

    Susan from CPY

    Here’s his email of today to me: (he DID cancel the sales for me that I made trying to buy samples, I’ll say that for him)

    Susan
    Whether you believe me or not is up to you, I know I am no liar, I am no cheat and I certainly know that I am no thief and have certainly not done anything that I should feel ashamed or guilty about.
    I believe in karma, and certainly believe in treating others how I woud like to be treated myself.
    The only thing I am guilty of is gross stupidity in believing the material was copyright free I am not a knitter or a crocheter, I am an ebook seller and I will certainly check any and all material that I use in future personally. I accept responsibiltiy for my actions, and have apologised countless times over the last few days, obviously it though it seem that people are after my blood, and mob mentality has set in
    I will not say anymore as I have no reason to, I have said as much as I can and will.
    many thank
    Sean

  7. Brenda says:

    I was thinking more of doing something about the company that pulled the patterns via P2P and then sold them to this guy (and others) as a package with “master resell rights.” Someone posted a link to their get-rich-quick website in one of the other posts. Then again, if this guy gets enough pressure, and especially if he gets forced into mounting a legal defense, I’m sure that company will be pulled out of the woodwork fast enough.

  8. Lisa in Chicago says:

    I think this guy needs to get together with LB. They’d make a great team.

  9. j. says:

    Hydra, indeed. Tracking down the identities of filesharers isn’t easy. (There’s the option of going after the software provider.)

  10. Lissy says:

    I’m glad you’re on the case. When I heard about this, I told the victims in question I would help them because I’m a lawyer, but that you would be a much better choice. I didn’t check your blog first. Glad to see that you are on top of the situation. You are the watchdog of the knitting world. That’s a service that you give freely and of which we are all appreciative.

  11. Yvonne says:

    Well if they were really found on filesharing networks, all the patterns are probably still there. You’d just have to log on and do a search to find who’s sharing them. It’s a tedious job that would potentially be like battling a hydra, but in theory, it’s not an impossible task.

  12. Emily Johnston says:

    I received a message from Lion Brand that they are pursuing this seller as well:

    “I am delighted to hear you have contacted folks! Please be sure to let them know that one of their venues for protest is to notify the eBay VeRO (Verified Rights Owner) program. (vero@ebay.com)

    We advised the seller that they need to contact ALL purchasers of our copyright material, inform them that it is copyright and offer to refund the portion of their purchase price that is illegally-reproduced material.

    We are also going through the sellers prior published auctions, contacting the buyers and letting them know that they have purchased stolen goods, that this is being reported to ebay and that they should request a refund from the seller.

    Kind Regards
    Nancy Miracle
    Webmaster
    Lion Brand Yarn”

  13. Brenda says:

    There’s no such seller on CQOUT.COM anymore. His listings say they were “ended early by the seller”. I wonder if he bailed or if CQOUT kicked him off.

  14. Brenda says:

    Is there any way to trace this back to his “supplier”? I mean, he’s the one who’s actually breaking the law, but that company is enabling him (and setting him up as a scapegoat, apparently). Although I’m sure there’s some liability for them too — hosting the files maybe? There are probably hundreds out there like him, too dumb to find the files on their own and to know they’re dealing in stolen property. Is there any way to cut this off at the source?

  15. j. says:

    Re the response received by Susan:

    When he responded to me, he said he accepted responsibility for the actions of those people he had working for him. But now, he says they didn’t either, huh? Instead, he says, they got the patterns in that state from various P2P networks? P2P networks that already have a reputation as havens for copyright infringers? And so it’s not his fault?

    Uh huh.

    Hey, I found this X-Men movie on Bittorent, it didn’t have any copyright information on it. Therefore, I must be within my rights to burn it to DVD and sell it. What a great idea!

  16. Kate says:

    He seems to have stuff on other auction sites too:
    http://www.cqout.com/item.asp?id=1820141

  17. He seems to have blocked my ability to purchase via PayPal from him (I tried to buy 2 pattern collections that have some of our Crystal Palace patterns in them), but I had written him to complain via Ebay first so he knew my Ebay Identity.

    Several of us have been in touch. Our U.K. Distributor’s brother is a lawyer in the UK and says he’d be willing to write him a letter within the UK.

    This guy is truly a jerk! Here is one of his recent responses to one of the companies writing to him. He tries to slip and slide around!

    quote:

    “Again you are accusing me of something I have not done. I am not a theif. I have not removed any copyright info I have not changed pictures I have not taken anything from any websites. The material provided to me was as it is, in a word doc. I have just compiled the documents added a contents page and title and a few affiliate links and converted it into a pdf file. My associates did not remove the copyright info etc either. Apparently they sourced the documents from something called morpheus and shareaza, which I’m told are file sharing systems. The only thing I’m I am guilty of is stupidity in and not checking the validity of the source material, but I am not a knitter or a crocheter, I am an eBook seller who gives excellent customer service. Now I have apologised for the infringements and have removed all suspect items, to check their validity
    many thanks ”

    Regards, Susan

    Susan C. Druding
    Crystal Palace Yarns – Straw Into Gold, Inc.
    160 23rd Street, Richmond, CA 94804
    email: druding1@straw.com
    web: http://www.straw.com

  18. LisaB says:

    And then there’s *this* bit: “This Ebook is the owned and compiled by GoldskyMedia ©2006 All Rights Reserved. It is not for resale by any other party. If you have purchased this ebook from any supplier than GoldskyUK, please report to goldsky_media@yahoo.co.uk

    Oh dear. Might one surmise that some nefarious party is _stealing_ from him?

  19. Brenda says:

    His listings now contain the following note:

    NOTE TO EBAY – THE UNDERLYING MATERIAL IS EITHER IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN
    AND/OR I HAVE MASTER RESELL RIGHTS GRANTED TO ME

    Was that there originally?

  20. Julia says:

    I sent my VeRO in yesterday. It’s a very simple form to fill out, and today I find that thanks to our concerted efforts, the e-book my pattern was in has been de-listed. I’ll keep checking in on your blog, Jenna, to see if there are updates. If there are other things that I can do to help stop this guy, count me in. I have no doubt that he will re-surface. I bet he was suprised to see such a coordinated effort from knitters. I doubt most people know what an extensive little on-line community we have.

  21. Brenda says:

    Once again, this just goes to show… you don’t wanna f*@k with knitters. ;) This guy is learning the hard way.

  22. Sherri says:

    If you want to fax the mentioned form in and you don’t have a fax at home, go here: http://faxzero.com/, they let you send two faxes free per day from your computer and you do get a confirmation email that it has gone thru.!!
    I hope that KARMA gets this guy & rearranges his nutz!!

  23. Kimberly says:

    I’ve mentioned it on a crochet board and asked that it be spread arounds to though of us who use 1 hooked stick to do our work.

  24. Carol says:

    I hope you don’t mind, but I mentioned your post to a knitting designer’s list I belong to (you may even belong to the same one). There was general outrage and some of the designers quickly identified by sight copyrighted patterns. Hope it helps.

  25. Christian says:

    The third baby hat picture was lifted directly from my sister-in-law’s site(See: http://www.thegarterbelt.com/em_beatrixhat.html). I’m also a lawyer and interested in concerted action. I’ll be contacting my local intellectual property colleagues for the proper language to send directly to Mr. Rogers, and otherwise looking to advise the appropriate authorities (beyond EBay).

    Of note, The CQOUT website has a service for monitoring infringement, at the low low price of just 40 pounds per month.

  26. mamaloo says:

    Is it possible to have folks with copies of any of these to raise a hand. Maybe we can see if we can identify all of the patterns or verify if ours are persent. I’d be happy to file a complaint to eBay or a stronger form of protest.

  27. Bryn says:

    Well, the listing for the baby hat compilation now says, “The seller ended this listing early because of an error in the listing.” (“error”=”I got busted”?) and, other than the “Learn How to Knit and Crochet with patterns” book, I don’t see any knitting books left. Tons of crochet books still, though. Geez, this outfit is kind of the “one-stop shopping” of ebooks–you could take care of bad breath, learn Dutch, cook up “tasty” Indian and Mexican meals, interpret your dreams, learn guitar and rip off designers all at the same time. How…..swell.