eBay content licence does not take away your rights

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The new eBay user agreement content licence has caused concern to some eBay users. It reads:

It was pointed out that eBay users are busy creating auction descriptions, reveiws and guides, about me pages, custom shop pages and now blogs, and it appeared that content would all belong to eBay to use at will. Auctionbytes mentioned that even videos embedded into auctions would come under the content agreement.

eBay have now clarifed the content section of the user agreement and the amended version (at least on the .com site – the .co.uk version is still as above) is:

The Chatter goes into further depth answering users questions and specifically explaining that eBay need a licence to host and publish your content but highlighting that the content still belongs to the user to use at will.

So if you’re busy creating eBay guides and reviews, or blogging on the eBay site you’re free to reuse your content elsewhere. The rights you give to eBay are simply to host and link to your content and to publish it to attract traffic to the site, to your blog, and to your auctions. I don’t think too many people will object to that – after all, it’s why we publish content on eBay in the first place!

(It would be nice to see the eBay.co.uk User Agreement updated to match eBay.com though)

8 Responses

  1. Which is particularly interesting in light of Amazon’s stance: if you publish a review on their site and then subsequently want to use that review elsewhere, they tell you you can’t (despite the fact that you could use the Amazon API to pull the review out of their system anyway).

  2. TBH on a site like eBay or Amazon I don’t see how they could claim to own user generated content. In a lot of cases (eg auctions) it will be duplicated content from the sellers own website, if it’s published elsewhere before being posted on their site banning use of the content elsewhere would be a bit pointless 🙂

  3. What I asked them about *specifically* was using content *after* it had been posted to Amazon. Support told me “no”.

  4. Chris,

    This is the part that concerns me. “sublicensable (through multiple tiers)” eBay can take your content on the .com and use it on Shopping.com or StubHub or any one of their other sites now and in the future without your express permission. Even after you have left the platform.

    When you create a guide to help your customers out and hopefully drive business to your items. eBay can place that content on another eBay owned site that you have no connection with. Sure it is still your content but eBay has used of it for there own purposes.

    As a content owner I would never create any content for eBay’s use other than my listings content. Sellers can still benefit from community by participating in discussion boards and commenting on other sellers content (those that don’t care to protect their rights).

    eBay is like “The Borg” in Star Trek and they are assimilating sellers into the collective. My Opinion: You are not eBay sellers you are independent sellers who sell on the eBay marketplace. Believe me there is a huge difference.

    One of my biggest failures with Glacier Bay DVD was considering myself an eBay seller rather than an online seller who used the eBay marketplace.

  5. Randy if you don’t want your content to be viewable after you leave the site you can easily delete it prior to quitting (and that goes for all guides, reviews, about me page, blogs, wikis (on .com), custom shop pages etc. All that’ll be left will be the auction templates which currently eBay doesn’t make available after 90 days, and of course any comments on other users blogs and community forums.

    Creating content on eBay (aside of listings) is inevitable for all sellers – for instance custom shop pages, terms and conditions of trading etc. Content for other areas of eBay such as reviews and guides isn’t something everyone does out of kindness – it can be done with the purpose of increasing business whether that be driving views to your listings/shop or gaining consultancy work from people reading your guides.

    I agree totally that people should view themselves as online sellers that use the eBay marketplace as a means to an end, but that doesn’t mean you *have* to ignore the fluffy side of content creation if you can figure out a way to use it to your advantage 😀

    As far as the “multiple tiers” goes, if eBay want to push my guides onto Google and other off eBay platforms (and they do add search engine friendly code) that’s just fine with me. Push the content as far and wide as you like…. so long as it shows my name (or user id) on the bottom I’m happy. Better than the people that copy Sue and my blog posts in their entirety with no credit to TameBay, at least eBay credit the content creator 😀

  6. Surely in practical terms, then, the point is to be aware of what eBay might do with your content, and to ensure that any content you do license them to use (by putting it on their site) is created in such a way that it cannot help but benefit your business. Slap your name/ID/something close to your URL on pictures, write uber-personally, or better still, write blog posts rather than guides, where the limitations on your advertising are so much less.

    The three rather disparate Guides I have on eBay.co.uk have all brought me money – if eBay want to run with that content, frankly, let em. It’s kind of like someone picking up my trash and using it for their own purposes: what is mine has benefitted me in the way that I intended it to, if I’ve finished with it, let em have it. Lets face it,some of the benefit I’ve had is DIRECTLY and MEASURABLY because it was posted on the eBay site. Licensing that content to go further is just a price I pay.

  7. I will defer to my two friends on this. Chris, certainly if it is of benefit to your business you should do it. I left eBay in January of 06′ before all of this Web 2.0 content made its way onto the site so I have (as we say in the States) “no dog in this fight”.


    I agree with your advise also:

    “lap your name/ID/something close to your URL on pictures, write uber-personally, or better still, write blog posts rather than guides, where the limitations on your advertising are so much less.”

    I guess I have just have a philosophical aversion to helping eBay improve their natural search by using my content.

    BTW, it won’t be long before you see Sponsored Ads on that content.


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