eBay are removing the option for sellers to opt their images out of the eBay catalogue. This means that eBay will have rights to re-use any image you upload to your listings.
The good ways eBay may use your images
eBay may promote your items on themed browse pages like Curve, or product reviews. This wouldn’t be possible without the eBay catalogue and it needs to use images. Even if your item is unique, eBay may use your image to promote unique items across the site, creating product catalogue entries and browse pages.
The thing that’s going to wind you up
You can use the eBay catalogue to create listings, faster, with better guidance through the listing process – If you’ve listed a CD or DVD lately, you’ll appreciate that it’s pretty much a scan of the bar code and your listing is complete including an image… which comes from the eBay catalogue.
What this does mean however, is that if you’ve spent hundreds of pounds on photo shoots to get the perfect image of your product, you may well find that in the future eBay are allowing (even encouraging) other sellers to use it.
If you’re using images with restricted licences or which come with usage conditions from the supplier, you should either negotiate a new usage licence or use different images (I’m thinking it would really stir things up to say that perhaps you should simply nick an image your competitor has uploaded to the eBay catalogue!)
There are two ways to look at this, firstly you’ll rightly be peeved if someone else is using your images, but think about Amazon. On Amazon they pick the best image and everyone lists against it so what’s the difference with that happening on eBay? Secondly, giving eBay rights to your image for promotional purposes is only really regularising a situation that already happens when they promote your listing off eBay.
We know many sellers won’t like this announcement and totally sympathise. You could of course watermark your image with your company name or eBay shop name which might discourage use (check the rules to make sure your watermark design is allowed!)