09 August 2009

eBay Rant re: Photographs

All of us who use eBay have put up with a lot of changes this last year that we don't like. But this one just takes the cake. eBay is trying to legalise theft of our photographs! I am just furious about this.

Several years ago I had to deal with an unscrupulous seller who stole one of my pictures to try to fraudulently sell a post-86 Fiesta turquoise juice pitcher as an extremely rare vintage Fiesta turquoise juice pitcher. It was a nightmare, but finally eBay closed down their auction. But many people knew me, knew that was my photograph, and my reputation was at stake. I posted about it on all the message boards I could, so that people would know I was NOT saying the auction was for a vintage pitcher.

Now eBay is going to let anyone steal your photos. Actually, eBay is stealing the photos. And all under the guise of offering you a new program. And in their new program you are AUTOMATICALLY OPTED-IN.

As of 31 August, eBay is going to offer a photography catalogue of online images that any seller can use in their auctions. This catalogue is going to made up of any photos that have been uploaded to eBay from participating users. Since the default automatically lists me as a participating user, eBay now has unlimited access to my photos.

As an artist I am incensed! As a photographer I am incensed! As a buyer I am incensed! I don't care if they offer the program and let people opt-in if they want to do so. Some people will probably like it. But the default should not automatically put you in the program. The default should be opted-out. And as a buyer I want to see a photograph of the actual item I am buying!

To change this setting:
1. Log In and go to My eBay.
2. There are three tabs. Activity, Messages and Account. Click the Account tab.
3. Looking at the left sidebar, scroll down until you see Site Preferences under My Account. Click on Site Preferences.
4. Scroll down the page until you see Share Your Photos. Click the Show link on the right. If you are like everyone else I have talked with, your option says Yes.
5. Click Edit and you get a page with this:
If you'd like to opt-out of this program, please do so by checking this box and clicking the "submit" button below.
(If you opt-out before August 31, 2009, none of your photos will be considered for inclusion in this program unless you opt back in at a later time. If you opt-out after August 31, 2009, any photos we select for inclusion in this program prior to your opt-out may continue to be used in the catalog).

6. Click on the box to Opt-Out of the "program". Then click Submit to save your settings.
7. Go back and double check that under Share Your Photos your option says No.

This is just so sneaky, unscrupulous, and IMO theft. I have often given people permission to use my photos. And I have friends who know they can use my photos. But for eBay to AUTOMATICALLY ASSUME permission to use photographs is a breach of trust. Many thanks to my friend, Laurie, who alerted me to this eBay change.

Now that I have this mess fixed on my eBay account, I am going to take a deep breath and watch Melissa's new show on Food Network.

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