Fool If You Think It's Over

Just when I thought my 1.5 seconds of “Harry Potter” notoriety were over, I received the following email missive from eBay:

Dear willpc,

You recently listed the following auction-style listing:


The listing was removed because it violated eBay policy.

The rights owner, The Christopher Little Literary Agency, notified eBay that this listing violates intellectual property rights. When eBay receives a report of this type of violation, we remove the listing to comply with the law.

Copyright infringement is unlawful and against eBay’s policies. Copyright is the protection provided by law to the authors of creative works, such as movies, music, software, photographs and books, both published and unpublished. Copyright owners possess the exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work, to distribute copies of the copyrighted work, and to perform or display the copyrighted work publicly.

eBay prohibits the listing of unauthorized copies of copyrighted works. Unauthorized copies include (but are not limited to) backup, pirated, duplicated, or bootlegged copies.

Guideline: If the product you are selling is a copy of another work that you aren’t authorized to copy, don’t list the item.

Now, this is really, really, really funny. For one thing, regardless of what the nimrod lawyers from The Christopher Little Literary Agency said in their nastygram to eBay, there’s absolutely no shred of copyright violation in advertising and selling a legitimate copy of a book. I’ve no more violated J.K. Rowling’s copyright than I’ve flown around downtown Atlanta on a broomstick.

The not-funny part about this is, J.D. Nimrod, Esq. has indulged in flat-out deception by charging that the sale of a legitimate, paid-for copy of a book is somehow a copyright violation. This kind of abuse on the part of Big Media organizations is unfortunately rampant, and middlemen like eBay are, as you can read above, hard-wired to respond in their favor without even a cursory investigation as to whether copyright violation claims are valid. Like I said, that’s not funny.

On the other hand, the exceptionally funny part of all this is, all Messrs. Nimrod, Bloviate and Charge managed to accomplish was giving me more money. Here’s the bit I previously redacted from eBay’s notice email:

All fees related to this listing have been credited to your account.

That’s right–not only did The Christopher Little Literary Agency’s nastygram accomplish the decidedly quixotic feat of cancelling an auction that had already been over for about seventeen hours–they made sure that eBay would give me back everything I was charged to advertise and sell the book in the first place. I just went to my account and checked; sure enough, eBay’s mindless bureaucracy has given me a full credit for all fees, a sum I’m more than happy to add to the profits I’ve already collected on the “Hallows” sale.

Oh, and incidentally, I got a nice email from Robin Lenz at Publisher’s Weekly while I was typing up this post; she’s received the book and is quite pleased with her purchase.

So, let’s all enjoy a fine laugh at J.D. Nimrod and his firm of officious idiots. Nice work, guys. Be sure and bill the good Ms. Rowling for all the many hours you’ve spent in making yourselves look like utter morons.