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Content, Writing and Copyright Forum

eBay copied my content
Not eBay users, the company itself

10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3479821 posted 3:02 pm on Oct 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

I operate a used buses classified ads site and just found out that eBay copied the way I describe the various bus types in existence. Since I don't want to put too much time into making them remove what is mine in the first place (and probably can't afford the legal help this will require), I published the proof on a page on my site.

Is this wise or not?

Since I'm asking for your feedback, I temporarily put that page in my profile so you can read. All feedback is welcome!



10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3479821 posted 3:36 pm on Oct 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Is this wise or not?

I've no idea, although personally I don't think it will make a sod of difference in such a niche market.

I can't see where they have copied ANY content from your site.

In fact you are saying that they have stolen a tiny list of about 10 different types of run of the mill, well known bus descriptions which is not structured or similar in any way to that of your website.

Following a quick search I can find a number of websites that list types of bus in a similar order to yours.

I honestly don't think a snippet of a list of different types of bus counts as content theft.



10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3479821 posted 3:58 pm on Oct 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

More than anything, my problem is that Copyscape sees it as duplicate content (because the words are copied in their exact order), and i fear that the search engines, especially Google, will punish me for it, while i wrote the original text. If that would not have been the case, I would just have seen it as a compliment and not worry about it.

If it had been a smaller company I would not have worried about it either. But if Google sees this as duplicate content, who will they think is the one that wrote the original text? That is my problem.

I understand how you don't see this as a biggie, but if I get punished by Google, I may loose a big part of my income from the site and for me that is a biggie.


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3479821 posted 7:44 am on Oct 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

While a list of bus types may not be protected by copyright (IANAL), I can imagine that you are a little upset; for it does look like Ebay simply copied your list (given the exact same word order), rather than think up one of its own.

Interestingly, a Copyscape search for your page brings up the Ebay page as a possible copy; but not vice versa. So perhaps there's no need for you to worry... ;-)


WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3479821 posted 7:54 am on Oct 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

If you believe it's a copyright problem, file a DMCA complaint against eBay's upstream provider. I believe they are with Exodus, now owned by SAVVIS and that the DMCA should be filed with them rather than eBay themselves so that if they don't take action to resolve the issue then you'll have an additional liable party. I might be wrong about their upstream provider.


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3479821 posted 8:13 am on Nov 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Interesting observation. Thanks! I checked and indeed eBay shows up as having copied my text, but I don't show up as having copied eBay's text. I surely hope this means I have nothing to worry about for my Google rankings. Can anyone confirm that?

Sure, I know what the legal steps are, it just seems too costly, too time-consuming and I'm a little afraid for the legal team a big business like eBay can throw at me. Anyone has experience with such a complaint against a big company?

Jim Heitmeyer

5+ Year Member

Msg#: 3479821 posted 5:39 am on Nov 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I do not believe this incident is going to affect your ratings. Secondly, copying your text information on your buses may not have been done intentionally to harm your work, that EBAY probably took the easy approach in using the text to speed up their ad. You will have to make the call on whatever action you feel is needed here.

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