I received a response from the eBay seller that I consider fairly prompt.
He refused to pull the listings from eBay, but instead said that he would remove my pattern from the document; he refunded the money I spent; and he explained that the statement that he had “been granted resell or master resell rights” was a reference to the “document that was compiled by Goldsky Media and is not for resale by any one else”.
He also said:
I can honestly state that I have never heard of you or the site in question
I do not doubt that some of the patterns if not all are freely available on the internet.
I have spent alot of time researching copyright and intellectual property issues and and follow a strict set of guildlines when it comes to these matters.
I would not knowingly breach anyones copyright or intellectual property rights.
I have endeavoured to use material that is or has been provided to me as beyond copyright issues, out of print or in the public domain
I have two people also that provide me with material and try to ensure that the material that they give me also follows these strict set of guidelines
If one or any of these patterns is indeed copyrighted or in breach of any of these guidelines, it will be removed immediately.
(“Beyond” copyright issues?)
To which I responded (after the jump, this page is getting long):
Thank you for your reply.
However, your refusal to withdraw the PDF publication from sale is not acceptable. As the item continues to be listed, my pattern continues to be sold or offered for sale. If I am not satisfied that my pattern has been removed from this collection in the next three hours, I will file the necessary declaration with eBay to have your listings removed.
As to your claim that you would not knowingly breach anybody’s copyright and that you have endeavoured to use material that was “beyond copyright issues”, whatever that means, or out of print or in the public domain: the PDFs that you are distributing show that this is untrue.
Every single one of the patterns reproduced in the “Summer Tops” PDF is available on the Internet. If, as you say, you have individuals working under your direction to collect material for you to resell, you are liable for actions of these individuals. You, or individuals working under your direction as you described, deliberately stripped out or cut off copyright information and republished the work as your own. Here are only four examples, besides my own pattern (and the webpage from which it was taken did include a copyright notice):
1. Azzuro Summer Top, published as your “Summer Top 1″, was provided on the elann.com:
and the copyright notice reads: “Copyright Coats GmbH, Postfach 1179, D-79337 Kenzingen” (elann.com obtains permission from distributors to reproduce patterns)
2. Roll Neck Sleeveless Shell, published as your “Summer Top 8″, was created and published by Barbara Breiter at http://knitting.about.com/library/weekly/aa042604.htm
and the copyright notice reads: “)Barbara Breiter. This design may not be reproduced in any manner without the expressed written consent of the author.”
3. Honeymoon Cami, published as your “Summer Top 16″, was created by Julia Trice and published by Knitty.com at
and the copyright notice reads: “Pattern & images ) 2004 Julia Trice” and is followed by a link to e-mail the author.
The legal page of Knitty.com (accessible from any pattern page by clicking on “legal bits” in the left-hand bar) reads–with bright pink and bold text–
“Every pattern on the Knitty website is the property of the designer who created it and cannot be reproduced, except for one copy for an individual’s personal use. If you print patterns from Knitty and sell them without the designer’s permission, you are stealing.”
4. Deco-Ribbon with Fling Ruffle Sleeveless Top and Skirt, the top of which was published as your “Summer Top 13″, was published by Crystal Palace Yarns at http://www.straw.com/cpy/patterns/deco-fling-top-skirt.html
and the copyright notice reads: “copyright 2005 Crystal Palace Yarns/Straw Into Gold, Inc. – We are happy to share this pattern with knitters. The pattern may be used for non-commercial personal or knitting guild use. It is not to be used in any publication in print nor should it be reproduced in electronic/digital format without permission. Knitting Shops carrying Crystal Palace Yarns Deco-Ribbon and Fling are welcome to use this free pattern for their customers.”
I am forced to conclude from what you (or those people working under your direction) did to my pattern and the others in this collection, you knew that these patterns were protected by copyright, and you took steps to attempt to remove any information that would indicate copyright ownership by any one other than yourself or Goldsky Media.
You edited the pattern instructions to remove any reference to yarn brands. For example, in the Crystal Palace Yarns pattern mentioned above, the original pattern instructions read:
“6 (6, 7, 7, – 50 gr balls of Deco Ribbon color 122, 2 – 50 gr. balls of Fling color 9780, Fling is held doubled”
You edited it to read:
“6 (6, 7, 7, – 50 gr balls of color rouge, 2 – 50 gr. balls of color pink, pinkis held doubled” (the typographical error is yours)
You also edited the photographs accompanying the pattern. In this Crystal Palace Yarns pattern, you cropped the photograph to remove the skirt, and altered the hues in the picture to make the top appear to be red instead of blue.
And in all cases, you removed any copyright notice that was included on the same page.
These alterations are not accidental or unknowing. They are deliberate.
Furthermore, your explanation of the “master resell rights” is nonsensical. The reader of that statement is left with the impression that the authors of the original content in your PDFs gave permission for its distribution in your PDFs.
If you wish to continue educating yourself about copyright, I suggest the following links:
http://www.patent.gov.uk/copy/indetail/morecopy.htm (note the last question “Is material on the Internet protected by copyright?”)
http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-fairuse.html#change (“How much do I have to change in order to claim copyright in someone else’s work?”)
The reply to this was that my pattern had already been removed (my torso is still in the eBay listings, by the way). I’ve asked for proof in the form of another download link so that I could see for myself. He also added:
I accept full responsibility for those working for me as you say. and I am some what disturbed by your revelations.
As I said I would know knowingly breach anyones copyright or intellectual property right issues and trusted that the material they had supplied was not in breach of these guidelines
The fact that that as you say the photographs etc hav been edited etc was not what I asked them to do and I shall perform a full review of all the material
that has been provided to me by these individuals.
We shall see, although I infer in the meantime that he intends to keep selling the remainder until each copyright owner contacts him. I have e-mailed contacts for all of the other pattern publishers/designers affected, so if his eBay listings need to be VeROed, it can still be done.
But wait, there’s more!
I have a copy of the “new” PDF now. And here’s what I just wrote:
Thank you for removing my pattern.
However, I see that you have simply replaced it with somebody else’s copyrighted content. The original may be found here:
The copyright notice at the bottom of the page indicates that all rights are reserved.
And you are still using my photograph in your eBay listings. That must be removed immediately.
Now that my picture is removed from the listings, I don’t seem to have a VeRO grievance anymore. Now, I can follow up with the authors/publishers I wrote to last night/early this morning. I can urge other rightsholders to file VeRO complaints with eBay, but if they choose to take the non-eBay cease-and-desist route, that’s their right. (Speaking for myself, I’d like to educate first, which may not happen with an outright VeRO takedown; but if this seller does this to me again, it’ll be VeRO first, correspondence later.)