Stolen or “Borrowed” Images

This seems to happen alot with video games and rarities: Stolen or “Borrowed” images (I quoted the word borrowed because I’ve gotten this excuse many many times when I tried to tell the seller to remove the images from his listing). One of the most annoying things as a collector and as a seller that I had to deal with was having other people’s or my photos stolen after the listing had either ended or they just looked up some similar images through Google. It is a proven fact that if you market your listing well, meaning having a very good description or detailed photos, that it will end at a decent price. Also, if its featured here on gameSniped, you might have yourself a few hundred or a few thousand bucks extra.

Often times you have a person who barely plays games or claims they don’t have a digital camera would steal or borrow (at least thats what they claim to be doing) your photo(s) and use it on their listing. This not only violates your own copyright, but also violates eBay’s Image and Text policy.

I’m pretty sure those who’re reading this will know this already. Why else would you visit a blog that focuses on video game collectibles?

Here are some of the things you should do as a seller and as a buyer:

As a seller, If you know that your item is rare and collectible and are willing to part with it through eBay, make sure that you either:

  • a) describe the item well enough so that anyone looking for the item in a specific condition wouldn’t have to bother asking you that same question.
  • b) probably the most important information you can provide is an actual picture of the item for sale. stealing or borrowing someones image, regardless of how similar they are, still does not provide an accurate representation of the item you’re selling.

If you do find out someone’s using your images without your permission, contact eBay support immediately. If you want the listing to end faster, I suggest doing a Chat Support because they will escalate the problem quickly and the item you’re reporting will get pulled much faster. This actually helps for those listing that are just about to end or had ended already. If you are a buyer reporting to eBay they will not be able to do anything, which sucks really.

If you found out as as a buyer that the image was stolen, you know that you should ask first whether or not the item is strikingly similar to the actual item they’re selling. I’m not sure if anyone remembers, but Link posted about the Red Dead Redemption Launch kit that ended at $1,700 USD. I mentioned in the comments that the person stole the image from a previous listing I posted not to mention that someone spotted that there may be some shill bidding going on (aka people falsifying a bid to increase it).

Tonight’s culprit is for a Dead Space Ultra Limited Edition (photo was stolen from Gaming Bits in which I featured on my first blog post here on GS). Maybe the seller would be able to afford his own camera once he sells his copy for a mere $300. And that’s another thing, as a collector I do tend to take advantage of listings who only provides a “stock photo”. That’s actually one of the reasons why they end for alot less than what they normally would go for. There are exceptions of course, like this one that ended at $177 even though it was a stock photo auction. Maybe the seller could have sold it for alot more if he had an actual photo.


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  1. Yeah, with the Stadium Events craze, I kept seeing the same “sealed” game with the bright red background appearing in different listings.

    Watermarking photos seems to help fight this. Lots of services like Auctiva and Inkfrog will allow a seller to bulk watermark their photos during the upload process…definitely a wise move to prevent images from getting snagged by some chump.

  2. Great write up of the stolen images, but I have a suggestion. Can you guys stop posting long blog entries and instead concentrate on listing just auctions like it used to be? You and Link tend to post on the frontpage these long droned-on write-ups, which may be interesting, but the target audience may not be here to read. Maybe put those in the forum and only post auctions on the frontpage. It has been getting ridiculous lately.

    Just my two cents.

  3. Yeah guys, stop artificially inflating your site’s value everyday by adding fresh content to it. You’re ruining it for the rest of the fans out there. 9_9

    Side note: Stolen images? Preachin’ to the choir, baby. I’ll see your stolen images and add stolen text copy and layout design as well.

    The price of being the best.

  4. Who cares if somoene uses your images? Ive never understood why people get pissed off about that. I mean big deal, its not hurting you.

  5. @Jason: Fresh content is one thing, but most people visit this site to find the latest auctions of rare video game related ‘stuff’. I’m sure some people find the blogging interesting (I think those 2 people also visit gamerave) and that’s ok. Leave the blogging to a separate page, just NOT the frontpage. It’s annoying to scroll through long diatribes that are often meaningless to me (again, reminds me of gamerave).

    @Jake: There are people who take it way too seriously. I’m with you, but it is annoying to some degree when someone takes your images. If I post pictures I’ll just put my auction id on it. I think there was someone mad that they ‘stole’ images of a elemental gearbolt case and were selling it. Example of a little kid crying about ‘their’ picture.

  6. This is like the dutch say : a storm in a glas of water.
    A ‘problem’ created what is not really a problem.
    Its a sellers ‘duty” to check the seller.
    how is his feedback and how are his pictures.
    If you dont trust the seller or the pictures.Just ask for pictures with your NAME.Simple and the oldest trick in the book.
    This stolen pictures thing is crap.
    I see this as a new low point for so called big collectors.
    He stole my picture…grow up losers.

  7. I don’t really worry about image theft from the standpoint of it being lazy/unprincipled.

    What I do care about is seeing a true image of the item I’m interested in buying. If the seller uses someone else’s photos, how can I even know he has the item?

    If you’re going to sell a rare game or console, make sure you take pictures of it with a note showing your eBay seller name. Otherwise I’ve got know way of knowing if you have the item or if you’re a scammer.

    Of course if you’re flogging an unboxed copy of SNES Pitfighter, no-one’s going to care if the image isn’t yours, it only really matters for the high ticket grails.

  8. I have seen people use images off my site for use on Ebay. Seriously, if you were buying something like the Donkey Kong Country Competition cart, which sells for upwards of $1000, wouldn’t you feel nervous about it when someone uses some random picture they found on the internet? It is a violation of copyright, and I’m sure that it has led to a lot of cases of fraud on high end items.

  9. Don’t listen to @4tharmourdivision – I enjoy all the various types of articles that you’ve been posting on the site.

  10. @4tharmourdivision

    If you don’t like it, stop reading. No one will miss your visitation and discussion on this site. Your assumptions about what people want to see on this site are wrong, just from this thread alone.

    You insult one of the only people out there researching PSOne, nice touch. Very classy. Good luck joining any other community with that attitude.

    Stolen pics are a concern for two reasons, as stated, high end fraud and ripping off work. It’s also a topic of concern here since I’m sure the team here would rather not promote fraudulent auctions.

  11. Jake:
    It is hurting people. If I spent 30 hours playing, editing, and formatting the best images I could capture, and someone swipes them in 4 seconds with no permission asked, thus claiming it as their own, I’d be pissed off. A screenshot is the same as a photograph. I took the picture of the image, that makes it mine.

    This is the same as game piracy. Someone else is using another’s property without their permission. In some cases, profiting from it (see DKC CC issues). See also any kind of piracy, period.

    Because many times their blog postings surround auctions, or give background on them, which is cool. Now go run along back to your imaginary beliefs and play nice.

  12. Oh and I would also mention, image theft is a listing violation according to ebay rules and policies. Model Train auctions are just as bad with theft. It’s no different then stealing the mona lisa. Violating the rules is wrong and nothing that armored or jake can say will justify that.

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