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HEADQUARTERS: Ebay sellers wanted by Polish Police for photo theft (updated)

September 3, 2012 by pam

I wasn’t going to write about this. I really want to keep this blog a happy and positive place. But I changed my mind today because of a message I received from an eBay seller.

Let’s rewind.

I’m no stranger to eBay. I’ve gotten some hard-to-find bottles there. But while I love eBay for giving me access to polish that I would otherwise have a very hard time searching for, I hate it for one reason:

Photo thieves.

Check eBay on any given day and I can guarantee that you’ll find sellers using photos stolen from some of your favorite bloggers. And this is just Chanel polish. I haven’t even checked the other listings yet.

eBay seller nycgirl110 stole this photo of Chanel Vertigo from Fruity Lashes. The photo was cropped to hide her watermark.

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eBay seller geminigreatstore stole this photo of Chanel Mica Rose from All Lacquered Up.

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eBay seller authentictopbrands11 stole this photo of Chanel Particuliere from Temptalia.

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eBay seller marcusthegrand stole this photo of Chanel Mimosa from Fashion Polish.

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Marcusthegrand is a repeat offender. He stole this photo of Chanel Nouvelle Vague from Lacquerized.

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eBay seller marie5294 stole this photo of Chanel Rose Cache from Ommorphia Beauty Bar.

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eBay seller lela_thedoctor46 stole this photo of Chanel Mimosa from Karla Sugar.

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eBay seller pepemarcio stole this photo of Chanel Black Pearl from Vampy Varnish.

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eBay sellers do not just steal swatches, they steal bottle pics too.

Like this photo of Chanel Frenzy stolen by eBay seller sanclementeseller from The Beauty Look Book.

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And these photos of Chanel Tentation stolen by eBay seller lauralovebug16 from The Beauty Look Book and from me.

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Yes, they’ve been stealing from me too.

Just last week, Miss Bun told me she spotted an eBay seller using my photos of Chanel Sky Line.

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What’s even more annoying is eBay seller geminigreatstore (another repeat offender) had the gall to add their watermark to my pictures. The shamelessness is disgusting.

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If you’ve been following Polish Police for a while now, you know that I do not take being stolen from lightly. Remember the AllGlam.com debacle that ended with that entire site shutting down?

And why should I let it pass when it’s so completely wrong? It’s theft, pure and simple.

Other nail bloggers know this – swatching and blogging is time-consuming. It takes energy to set up your swatching area, take photos, prepare your photos for upload and write about the shades you’ve just swatched. Most of us do this just for the love of it, for our joy of sharing our passion for polish with our readers. And we do this on top of our very demanding day jobs.

Why should these eBay sellers benefit from our hard work? If they’re charging people exorbitant amounts for polish, don’t they owe it to their customers to at least take photos of the bottles they actually have? Seeing geminigreatstore use my photos to sell Sky Line for $43.99 when it’s still readily available for $30 makes me feel dirty, like I’m being used as an accessory to their crime.

This eBay theft has been going on for months and whenever I spot my photos being used in listings (or when somebody sends me a message telling me they saw someone using my pics), I send a short, very direct message to the seller asking them to take it down.

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Sometimes the sellers, like geminigreatstore, ignore me completely.

Sometimes, they respond quickly. Like this one did.

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And while I hate what the seller said about “getting it from google images” and “it not having a source” (more on that later), at least s/he responded quickly and positively.

Which brings us to the message I received from an eBay seller today, the very same message that convinced me to finally write about this whole eBay mess.

After seeing that eBay seller miss_bootsie had stolen my photos of Chanel Pearl Drop, I sent her this message last night.

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Today I received two messages from her.

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I find it funny that while she was so offended by my message, she doesn’t seem to think that she has done anything wrong. I find it laughable too that she thought I was being mean. Seriously, if you want people to be nice to you, don’t steal from them.

I wasn’t going to reply to her anymore but then I checked the listing again and saw what she did. Yes, she did take my photos down. And you know what she replaced them with? A photo she stole from Ommorphia Beauty Bar.

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And a photo she stole from The Beauty Look Book.

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Eugenia and Sabrina – I love those girls, I love their blogs and I will know their nails anywhere.

While I am sorry that the seller is in the hospital for an operation, I still find her messages ridiculous.

1. I have never “uploaded” a photo to Pinterest. My images appear there because of Polish Police readers who pin them to their Pinterest boards. Pinterest is a content sharing website, yes, but that doesn’t mean the photos you see there are up for grabs. Here’s a quote from the Pinterest website:

Pinterest respects the intellectual property rights of others and expects its users to do the same. It is Pinterest’s policy, in appropriate circumstances and at its discretion, to disable and/or terminate the accounts of users who repeatedly infringe or are repeatedly charged with infringing the copyrights or other intellectual property rights of others.

2. I haven’t uploaded my images to Photobucket. And I am glad about that because I just read their terms of use and I am disturbed.

3. And yes, my photos do appear on Google image searches but that doesn’t mean people can just steal them. One quick click will tell you where the image originally came from. Google wasn’t created for lazy eBay sellers to use as a photo source.

It’s common sense – if it isn’t yours, don’t freaking use it.

eBay prohibits the use of images that isn’t rightfully owned by the seller.

According to eBay, sellers “Can’t use someone else’s picture or item description without their permission. If you believe someone else is using your photos or text without your permission, report it to us.”

Here’s how you can report copyright infringement on eBay. If someone has stolen your images, use this form. I know I will.

Update:

Last night, before heading to bed, I sent a message to miss_bootsie. I sent two, actually, because I ran out of characters in the first message. Like I said, I considered not replying to her anymore until I realized that while she had taken my photos down, she was now using photos she had stolen from The Beauty Look Book and Ommorphia Beauty Bar.

My messages were direct but polite – at least that’s what I thought.

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But apparently, she now thinks I’m harassing her. And I have “upset her.” She has magically made herself the victim in this scenario. Hilarious. And also annoying.

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I didn’t just find an eBay photo thief, I also found a drama queen.


39 Comments »

  1. Maddie Shen says:

    Pammy, I’m so sorry. I know this has happened to you before, and I hope it stops.

  2. Naz says:

    Ugh, I’m sorry you have to deal with this. I was talking to someone the other day who had photos stolen, and she said that she had quite a hard time getting them taken down. Apparently Ebay won’t do much (if anything) unless the stolen photo is from an item that’s previously been listed. I find it quite funny/ridiculous that the seller took the “SORRY YOU’RE OFFENDED” route, rather than actually apologizing.

    • pam says:

      You are so right, eBay doesn’t make it easy for people whose photos and text have been stolen. It is way easier to report it if the stolen photo was from another listing.

      I know! She still hasn’t acknowledged that she’s actually done something wrong and is even acting like I’m being evil for getting angry about it. Nuts.

  3. Eugenia says:

    Damn it, Pam….you’re right; it’s that whole AllGlam bull s**t all over again. What we are dealing with, is lazy & STUPID & ignorant people. It takes a split-second to simply add a link showing where you got your photo from, but no — they steal and then become indignant when busted about it. I can literally spend the entire day chasing down ebay sellers and facebook sellers that steal my photos; I’ve even contemplated watermarking my photos, but a) that will take me more time per photo and b) I hate having to mar my pictures, all to keep would-be thieves away. Let’s face it: there are rotten folks out there, and for every one we strike down, 10 crop up in their place. But…what goes around, comes around – and I thank you for your vigilance; the easiest thing to do would be absolutely nothing, but your post today reminded me that backing off was never my style either. Therefore, even though it may not always be fruitful, I will go after those that steal from me as well — when I come across them, and you just know I will, right?

    • pam says:

      Eugenia! Exactly! I hate how indignant this girl is being. And I know, it will be way easier to ignore the theft and let it go (and that’s what I did for some months) but it’s just not right. I feel like I have to do something about it, even if they don’t always respond. I know you feel the same way.

      And yes, like you, I do not want to add watermarks to my photos :( I wish there was a way to block all these thieving jerks but I guess they come with the territory. That doesn’t mean I am willing to take their crap though. My claws are out.

  4. Julia says:

    Hmph! Too busy being in the hospital to take down your photo (and not replace it with Eugenia’s or Sabrina’s!), but not too busy to run a (no-doubt) price gouging Chanel auction. What an obnoxious response that was! The sad truth is that people just DON’T respect creative work, especially work ‘available’ on the internet. I hate that people think it’s okay to steal from pinterest or wherever–the point of those sites is supposed to be, I THINK, to share, admire and get inspiration, not to steal others’ beautiful pictures so that you can gouge some buyers on ebay. I know it doesn’t make the problem go away but loyal readers like myself absolutely appreciate all of the hard work that goes into nail blogs. Like you I know “famous” (hee) nails anywhere and I would never purchase from someone who steals pictures.

    • pam says:

      It really was obnoxious! She kept playing the hospital card and yes, I am sorry that she’s sick (if she really is) but that doesn’t excuse theft.

      Pinterest is an awesome thing and I love that people pin my photos. It just sucks that other people have found a way to abuse such a great thing.

      Haha, it’s kind of amazing that we can identify other people’s nails so quickly. But it’s great for spotting thieves!

  5. A much needed post! These eBay sellers don’t understand the hard work put into those swatches. I salute you Polish Police!

  6. I also experienced this one (with my contact lens review on my previous blog). Good thing is they deleted my picture after I’ve sent them a message,. I’ll try to help you report this one.

    • pam says:

      Thanks so much. Wow, I knew it. eBay sellers probably do the same thing with all kinds of products. I think eBay should require sellers to post photos of the actual item being sold. That would also be a way to stop chance listings.

  7. Laura says:

    Bravo, for pointing this out and tackling it head-on.

  8. Lani says:

    Man, this drives me nuts. I work for Trade Me (NZ’s version of ebay) and I often have to explain intellectual property rights to members. Some of them think any photo posted on the internet is fair game. Others think if they buy an item from a trader they then own the image rights for the item – and try to use it to onsell the item later. Grrrrr. It shouldn’t be so hard to explain, it is SO basic – if you don’t own it, don’t use it!!!

    • pam says:

      That’s crazy!!! And yes! It shouldn’t be hard to explain – even little kids know you’re not supposed to take what isn’t yours. Ugh.

  9. Her reaction was absurd! I think it’s great that you posted this and brought this behavior to light. It’s amazing how many people seemingly don’t understand the common sense concept of stealing intellectual property rights. Sorry you had to go through that!

    • pam says:

      Haha! “Absurd” – that is the perfect word for it. I could do nothing but roll my eyes and shake my head. It is common sense. I wish more people realized it.

  10. Veronica says:

    “I didn’t just find an eBay photo thief, I also found a drama queen.”
    Great!

  11. Michelle says:

    Dear lord. Instead of just taking it down and apologizing profusely, she just had to turn the whole thing around as if you had the time of the day and just randomly thought, “Hmm, let’s harass this one, shall we?” for no reason at all. The nerve!

    Stay vigilant. As our campus posters continuously remind us, “There are vultures among eagles.”

  12. Silvermouse says:

    Wow…crazy person… Somehow I can’t muster up sympathy

  13. Virginia says:

    Based on what you said about photobucket, I went and checked out their terms of use. I’m shocked . I use them for my blog, and marked my blog folders private, but apparently they’re not. People can still find my folders. All of this photo stealing is scary. It takes me usually a few days to swatch, crop and post a blog post, just to have someone steal my image. Do you know of a good place to store Photos for a blog?

  14. Emily says:

    Pshhh, not only is Pinterest not a “photo sharing site,” it’s most certainly not “*the* photo sharing site!”

  15. Deborah says:

    Pam – I am so glad you raise this issue. I know that the US-based eBay site has a very quick and effective takedown service (called VeRO – http://pages.ebay.com/help/tp/vero-rights-owner.html). I would assume eBay has similar tools on their other global sites. If you see an ad where your intellectual property has been stolen, you just send a quick form off to Ebay and they will remove the ad. A few times of this happening and hopefully the seller gets a clue and stops stealing. Good luck, and thanks for bringing up this important issue!

  16. Anne Sexton says:

    This is HORRIBLE! The nerve. It takes so much time & effort to beautifully polish, photograph & write about YOUR nails. How can someone justify stealing your work? In the hospital? Uh, I don’t think so & quite frankly, I don’t care what the excuse. There is no excuse for theft. Thank you for outing all these thieves.

  17. Jammies says:

    Good for you for sticking with this, and I’ll bet you my entire polish collection that she’s not even in the hospital.

  18. Lindsay says:

    Wow, drama queen indeed. It’s mind-boggling how someone can sell on eBay for what appears to be 3 years and have no idea that you can’t use photos, without permission, that are not your own.

    I, too, was not aware of Photobucket’s Terms of Use. I’ll be opening up a Flickr account soon..

    As an aside, if I were going to have surgery the last thing on my mind would be POSTALLEBAYAUCTIONS!!!!! that’s strange… I know it’s bad of me to be skeptical of people, but I never seem to be surprised what people will do or say to excuse them selves out of a situation.

  19. michelle says:

    Hmmmmm…. I wonder if miss bootsie is related to Tito Sotto?

  20. Sue says:

    You go, Pam. But you cannot reason with thieves and liars. I believe she had surgery about as much as I believe in the Easter Bunny (I usually hear the “omg, i’ve had a death in the family” sob story).

    I don’t try to contact these people; I just report them.

    You have such gorgeous photos and it makes me sad that people steal from you.

  21. kimberley says:

    I’m glad you decided to post about this! Name and shame I say! I live in Australia so we don’t get a lot of limited edition/exclusive shades and I have bought many of these on ebay and I hate to think that I may have purchased from someone who rips off your or any other blogger’s photos like this. I never thought about it before so I’m glad you have written about it. I also cannot believe the messages you received from that seller – so ridiculous!

  22. Nail Rookie says:

    This is a great post, I didn’t even think about Ebay sellers stealing blog pictures. It’s an awful practice and seriously it takes two seconds to snap a picture and post with all the photo gizmos available now! She sounds like a moron, I hope this never happens to you again!

  23. I don’t even buy the hospital story. It reminds me of some craigslist scam/excuse. I’ve had a seller steal a photo and exact wording from my listing and I reported them to ebay. I didn’t even bother to give a warning. You are much more patient than me! It’s a shame that so many listings out there infringe on copyrights!

  24. Neva says:

    I understand completely how you feel. I was an Ebay seller for 10 years. I always believed that the photos and descriptions were key. I sold homewares and hand made, self designed Mother of Pearl jewellery (I didnt make it but had people produce for me. I was living in Bali, Id set up the products in appropriate settings. Id wait for that beautiful afternoon light. I’d take hundreds of shots from different angles, in different settings, with flash ,without flash, close up, from above, from down low and then Id cull them down, and I always found a gem amongst them. But it took days of shooting to get say 10 good beautiful product shots. Some of them were stunning through pure perseverance, hard work and some good luck with playing the numbers. Ie take enough and you’re bound to get a good one
    Then Id write my “blurb”. I thought carefully about the product, its features, or uniqueness & beauty and Id spend many days formulating what I wanted to write. I also had a style that my writing and listings had, to give my shop a feel all its own. I used key descriptive words running through all listings for a cohesive feel.
    Then I saw my products copied. Ie someone got my designs and had the product made in Indonesia from my photos and then listed the identical pieces (not as well made) but using my photos! Not only that… and this is what really infuriated me… they used my words and unique descriptions.

    It is as you say, stealing pure and simple, and I had regular customers writing to me pointing out the other listings and some people writing to me asking about a price I’d had that I never had, but the other listings were identical down to the font used. I did write to Ebay, and the seller changed it, but so minimally. they kept the font and the layout, they changed one descriptive word to another from a thesaurus, but it was still a dupe of mine. they took new shots but using mine as a model. I had no control over it at all.

    Chase them hard when you see it. Completely unacceptable.

    Love your blog… have become a Chanel nail junkie and its actually making me nervous. Certain ones I see I just must have and I need to get a grip. My husband wants to buy me a second hand fridge just to keep them all in.

    Madly in love with Nouvelle Vague and also the very underrated Peridot. I’m so surprised that there are so many for sale on Ebay. As if a lot of people bought it, used it once and decided no. Its just so beautiful. And of course Holographic, and Graphite and Azur, and May and Delight and Organdy….. soooo many.

  25. addictedtoysl says:

    I know you hate people stealing your pictures, but I think it’s a compliment that they think your pictures of the bottle plus swatches is better than what they would have taken. People want things to sell for as much as possible, and having better pictures gives them an advantage. Plus, you can’t link in ebay anymore. This policy is to discourage people from buying something off ebay.

    • Mrs smith says:

      I agree addictedtoysl. It’s a compliment and no one says you should spend your life taking hundreds of photos of nails. If you think you’re due something for spending time the way you want then that’s ridiculous. Photo copyright is a scam anyways. The nail polish companies could say you can’t take photos of our polish without our consent. Then where would you be? No polish pics. No blog.
      There are homeless people, starving people, children that sleep on dirt in this world, but we are concerned with nail polish photo copyright. A walk in the sunshine and counting blessings is indeed a good idea.

  26. alisonandtodd@hotmail.co.uk says:

    I know this is an old post now, but I have only just found your blog today, and I’m enjoying it immensely. How low of this person to attempt to make YOU feel guilty when she was in the wrong. Why should you dress your message up with pleasantries, show you mean business! I also hate when I see ebay sellers who have a polish up for a high amount and tell buyers it’s VHTF or even discontinued. I live in the UK and to read ebay you’d think Max Factor Fantasy Fire was completely sold out everywhere, I can go to Boots and buy a bottle for £3.99! I wish there was a way to leave a comment on the listing! One question I have, and maybe you or your readers will know, if a person is selling a brand new item and they post their own swatch pictures, have they used the bottle I wonder? Thanks again for a great blog!

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