Sunday, April 25, 2010

On the Subject of Image Theft

I wrote of image theft in this post. You should read the recent comments where someone took me to task.

The Outdoor Girls in Desert Valley - Laura Lee Hope

I wrote most of the seller's description, since the seller lifted it off of my website. I suppose that general information is more important than specific information about the condition of a valuable book and jacket. Who knew?

Even worse, the image is my image of Desert Valley from my website. I knew that it was my image at a glance, but I enlarged it and compared the two images side-by-side. The two images have identical patterns of pixelation. The images are the same image.

The seller says that the jacket has "wear and tear." What does that mean? The image makes the jacket look perfect; it should, since I edited out all the flaws. This is when I get angry. Buyers may assume that this valuable jacket is in far better condition than it is, and the winning bidder could end up very unhappy.

I have contacted the seller with my concerns. This is when I do not stay quiet. The image cannot be removed, but hopefully, the seller will add a note about the image to the description. My message may get added to the description.

Anyway, I decided to mention this since one person thinks I jumped to conclusions about image theft, and it happens all the time. Not only that, buyers get deceived when the image does not depict the actual item up for sale. Unfortunately, eBay condones this behavior, since they now have a database of stock images. For all I know, some of my images may have been added to that database. In fact, if this particular seller has not opted out of the automatic submit to the database, then my image of Desert Valley will become part of eBay's data base. OMG.


Jennifer said...

The seller has now posted additional photos, thankfully. The jacket is actually in better condition than what I expected.

Sellers are more likely to get a high price for a scarce book when the buyers can see photos of the actual books up for sale. This is very important.

beautifulshell said...

i don't get why sellers would rip off text instead of linking to your page; your page has way more info than they included!

Jennifer said...

I also think that if the seller were going to copy text from my page that it would have been more useful to have given the synopsis of the book. Although, I maintain that the Outdoor Girls series is not well-known, and I feel like most people who are interested already know where they can find that summary.

It would be hard to sell the book to anybody other than a reseller who knows about the value or a collector who already knows about the series. For books like this one, it is more productive to give good photos and to describe all of the flaws, and neither was present in the original auction.

I hope I didn't upset anyone by outing the existence of this auction. I just can't help getting involved when my own photos are used rather than showing pictures of an extremely scarce dust jacket that seldom comes up for sale.

Michael Nabholz said...

Thank you for your Facebook post on the new mandatory eBay image catalog policy:
"To help provide a consistent buying experience and enable a faster and more accurate listing process, eBay uses images provided by our sellers in our catalog.
By August 2017, sellers will no longer be able to opt out of this program, and all photos in listings created, relisted, or renewed will be considered for possible inclusion in the catalog."

I assume that eBay is in no way compensating you for the use of your personal property (images), that you produced with your valuable phone/camera and your valuable time.

This new policy will also make it easier for other sellers to produce misleading listings (whether they intend to mislead, or not).
I do not see how this will "provide a consistent buying experience" for items like used books, that are inherently "inconsistent".

I agree that you should put your User ID across your images.

A couple of questions:

1. If an eBay item uses a "stock image", is it easily seen, as on AbeBooks?

2. Also, did you know that for some time eBay has provided its listings and their images to
(I think that there is a delay of some months before eBay listings are posted there.)
eBay may provide listings/images to other entities. Do you know of any?

Jennifer White said...

The saving grace with this new eBay policy is that eBay might only take photos if the seller uses the product catalog number, such as the ISBN, to create the listing. That's what I hope. If so, then my photos would not be used, and the main listings where we would need to be concerned are the ones where the seller has used the ISBN.

For the listings where the seller does use the product catalog information, the photo is not identified as a stock image. With books, the product catalog image is a scan, whereas most seller's photos look to be actual photos. But if eBay starts using some of those, we won't be able to tell whether the stock image is the seller's actual photo or not.

You are correct that eBay will not compensate sellers whose photos are used in the catalog.