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.