View Full Version : The people selling ebooks on ebay


drew726
03-21-2010, 03:52 PM
How are they selling ebooks of major authors on ebay? They can't possibly have gotten the resell rights to them right? I can't imagine any publisher giving them the rights that easily.

Nakor
03-21-2010, 03:59 PM
eBay doesn't police it (much like YouTube doesn't police their own site for infringement) except to the extent it takes to ensure the sales follow their policies regarding eBooks here (http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/downloadable.html) under Restricted.

If any of the sales are illegal it's up to the IP rights owner to issue a takedown notice to eBay. eBay has the same policy regarding counterfeits. If they haven't done that then the listing stays up, as eBay has no way to know who has rights and who doesn't.

Source: I used to work support for eBay.

DawnFalcon
03-21-2010, 07:30 PM
How are they selling ebooks of major authors on ebay? They can't possibly have gotten the resell rights to them right?

What's a "resell right"?

Hint: First Sale / Exhaustion Doctrine

mr ploppy
03-21-2010, 08:38 PM
They are just fan made ebooks downloaded from the internet. They have no right to sell them, and you have no right to buy them. If you want them anyway, they should be easy enough to find for free, so there's no point adding to Ebay's profits by buying them.

K-Thom
03-21-2010, 10:16 PM
eBay has clear guidelines (http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/downloadable.html)about that, for years.

Examples of digitally delivered goods that can't be advertised on eBay: (...)

eBooks you don't own the copyright to and aren't authorized to resell by the owner, the owner’s authorized agent, or the law

also

If you list eBooks in a category other than the Everything Else category, you need to:

Send the eBook by postal mail.

Which is kinda bizarre. But again, them's the rules.

DawnFalcon
03-21-2010, 10:33 PM
They are just fan made ebooks downloaded from the internet. They have no right to sell them, and you have no right to buy them.

Proof? Remember, you've made an absolutist statement...

carlobee
03-22-2010, 03:22 AM
eBay doesn't police it (much like YouTube doesn't police their own site for infringement) except to the extent it takes to ensure the sales follow their policies regarding eBooks here (http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/downloadable.html) under Restricted.

If any of the sales are illegal it's up to the IP rights owner to issue a takedown notice to eBay. eBay has the same policy regarding counterfeits. If they haven't done that then the listing stays up, as eBay has no way to know who has rights and who doesn't.

Source: I used to work support for eBay.

nice. great info there! :thumbsup:

mr ploppy
03-22-2010, 08:40 AM
Proof? Remember, you've made an absolutist statement...

It would be difficult to provide proof without naming one of the sites where they get them from, but they are the same collections with the same bizarre contents -- David Moody Autumn collection with 2 non-Autumn books included, James Herbert collection with a Frank Herbert book, etc.

Some of them are selling (or claim to be selling) American public domain books from Project Guttenberg if that's what you mean, but the same comment would apply -- they have no right to sell them outside America, and anyone who wants them can just download them for free instead.

Shaggy
03-22-2010, 05:59 PM
They are just fan made ebooks downloaded from the internet. They have no right to sell them

You make it sound like you're talking about ALL ebook sales on Ebay (which is a pretty broad statement), or did you just mean some of the ones you've looked at?

DawnFalcon
03-22-2010, 07:00 PM
Some of them are selling (or claim to be selling) American public domain books from Project Guttenberg if that's what you mean, but the same comment would apply -- they have no right to sell them outside America, and anyone who wants them can just download them for free instead.

Completely incorrect.

If a book is PD in your country, then you are entitled to do whatever you like, including selling it. Yes, people can download it for free, but you can sell it if you wish. There is nothing legally wrong with this, unless you're actively advertising it in countries where it's not PD.

I'd suggest you get with the specific examples.

mr ploppy
03-22-2010, 08:02 PM
Completely incorrect.

If a book is PD in your country, then you are entitled to do whatever you like, including selling it. Yes, people can download it for free, but you can sell it if you wish. There is nothing legally wrong with this, unless you're actively advertising it in countries where it's not PD.

I'd suggest you get with the specific examples.

I keep forgetting this is an international site, I'm going by the ones that are either listed or displayed on Ebay UK.

mr ploppy
03-22-2010, 08:07 PM
You make it sound like you're talking about ALL ebook sales on Ebay (which is a pretty broad statement), or did you just mean some of the ones you've looked at?

The fiction ones. 10,000 scifi novels for a fiver, those type. I forgot about all the get rich quick and how to attract women, make bits of you bigger, etc type ebooks.

Perhaps if you point out one of these fully legal ebooks on Ebay so that I can see what you mean?

Bilbo1967
03-22-2010, 08:09 PM
Most of the stuff I can see on ebay.co.uk is perfectly legal. It's mostly 'classic' novels from, I would guess, Project Gutenberg which has been loosely pulled together on a CD or memory stick and offered for sale. Nothing wrong with that legally I think, but there's nothing there that you couldn't pick up absolutely (legally) free if you wanted to.

mr ploppy
03-23-2010, 07:57 AM
Most of the stuff I can see on ebay.co.uk is perfectly legal. It's mostly 'classic' novels from, I would guess, Project Gutenberg which has been loosely pulled together on a CD or memory stick and offered for sale. Nothing wrong with that legally I think, but there's nothing there that you couldn't pick up absolutely (legally) free if you wanted to.

They wouldn't be legal if they are listed for sale in the UK.

pietvo
03-23-2010, 08:40 AM
They wouldn't be legal if they are listed for sale in the UK.
Why not?

HarryT
03-23-2010, 11:48 AM
I was going to ask the same thing myself. Why do you think that this would not be legal in the UK?

pietvo
03-23-2010, 01:08 PM
To take a concrete example: Books by Shakespeare are still being sold in the UK, in spite of them being in the public domain. Do you think it would be illegal to sell ebook versions of them on Ebay (e.g. derived from PG files)? [I don't know why anybody would buy them instead of downloading them for free, but that's not the point.]

DawnFalcon
03-23-2010, 01:12 PM
Of course it's not illegal. You can charge for Public Domain works if you wish, it's entirely legitimate.

And, yes, people can go and get their own PD version from wherever. You can add your own preface and do your own formatting and copyright /that/ of course, if you wish...and indeed certain versions of PD books sell for precisely that reason!

HarryT
03-23-2010, 01:16 PM
The only exception would be the comparatively small number of books which are in the public domain in the US, but not in the UK. Generally early works by long-lived authors.

mr ploppy
03-23-2010, 01:18 PM
Why not?

Different copyright laws, and often different publishers controlling it. In the UK it is 70 years from the death of the author, so nothing from the 1940s or 50s would be PD.

HarryT
03-23-2010, 01:24 PM
Different copyright laws, and often different publishers controlling it. In the UK it is 70 years from the death of the author, so nothing from the 1940s or 50s would be PD.

True, but to simply say that "selling PG books in the UK is illegal" as a blanket statement is somewhat misleading. There are large numbers of books on PG which can be sold perfectly legally in the UK.

mr ploppy
03-23-2010, 02:45 PM
There is also a large number that cannot, so saying that anything on PG can be sold (or even downloaded) in the UK is also misleading.

pietvo
03-23-2010, 08:01 PM
OK, cleared up. But that is different than saying They wouldn't be legal if they are listed for sale in the UK.

petercreasey
03-23-2010, 08:45 PM
With all the free ebook sources, why would there be a market for SELLING ebooks on eBay?

Ravensknight
03-23-2010, 11:47 PM
With all the free ebook sources, why would there be a market for SELLING ebooks on eBay?

N00bs :-) Seriously though, if someone who is not a techy gets a kindle or some other reader for Christmas or their birthday, they don't have the faintest idea of how to proceed. My cousin just bought a kindle, and while I consider him to be extremely competent, he is just overwhelmed at the moment. I suspect we'll be having several phone chats about it. Thankfully I've pointed him here, so I'm hoping he joins and reads...

pietvo
03-24-2010, 06:20 AM
People with a Kindle are just supposed to shop at Amazon. (Sorry, my smileys don't work)

Keloff
03-24-2010, 11:48 AM
Don't hope I'm stepping on any toes here*, but I find it morally objectionable to sell a PD book if the alternative is available through places such as Feedbooks (www.feedbooks.com)or Project Gutenberg (http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page).

Is this perhaps an overreaction?


* After all, I suppose that a really well prepared version of a PD book with explanatory notes, better formatting, etc., may be an added value -- hence its marketability.

mr ploppy
03-24-2010, 12:32 PM
OK, cleared up. But that is different than saying

Maybe if they seperated out the non-UK-PD books from the UK-PD ones, or sold them individually, but the way they sell them with thousands of books stuffed onto a CDR it wouldn't really matter if only one of them was illegal in the UK it still wouldn't be allowed.

mr ploppy
03-24-2010, 12:35 PM
With all the free ebook sources, why would there be a market for SELLING ebooks on eBay?

The same reason there is a market for window cleaners, dog walkers, etc. It saves people the bother of doing it themselves.

But it isn't just PD books that are for sale on Ebay ...

sony_fox
03-24-2010, 01:04 PM
With all the free ebook sources, why would there be a market for SELLING ebooks on eBay

People don't think. Many items on Ebay are there are prices above they're new retail price. But people assume Ebay=bargain and shop without checking. Of coruse it's quicker to just go to ebay than check half a dozen other sites. And Tim e=Money.

pilotbob
03-24-2010, 01:17 PM
With all the free ebook sources, why would there be a market for SELLING ebooks on eBay?

A lot of stuff is listed on eBay that you can get for free. Many people just automatically think if it is on eBay it is the cheapest price.

Much stuff on eBay that is just sale of information is also a scam. For example, there is/was a seller that listed information on how to get a whole bunch of Microsoft Development software for $400. Of course, what they didn't tell you what they were doing. Of course, they were selling you information about a MS start up ISV business package that MS made available.

There are other people that "sell" you information on how to get consumer electronics for free. "It really works" blah blah. Basically you are buying a word document that tells you to set up a blog and post reviews for consumer electronics then start emailing every CE place out there to send you review devices. Although many CE places that send our review units want them back... many also let you keep them.

eBay while originally meant as an online garage sale site... has turned into fertile ground to separate noobs from their money.

BOb