Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

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JamesC
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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by JamesC » Fri Oct 04, 2019 10:21 am

Well officially speaking it wouldn't be a place to break copyright because legally licensed re-issues do exist.

Unofficially it would be an obvious place to put items if you don't want customers to return products or report you citing that 'I thought this was an orginal printing'.
This would hopefully increase the number of genuine releases in the original category.

Of course, it may just open a whole new can of worms! :lol:

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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by Andy Dale » Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:10 am

Reissues by the rights owners would be fine. That's just like those greatest hits and players choice versions of games that people hate. Repros are totally unauthorized by the rights owner though and are completely different than official reissues.

A lot of people seem to think that copying game cover art and selling it is not illegal. They're wrong. It is. If the artwork is Nintendo's legal property, people can't legally copy and sell it. In legal terms, piracy of the cover artwork is just as serious as piracy of the actual game.

CEX often print their own covers and it is completely illegal. They also charge the same price for a game that has a legitimate cover and one that has a homemade printout cover.

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Pacific
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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by Pacific » Sat Oct 05, 2019 4:00 am

One thing I didn't realise was how long repros have been around for. I'd bought a copy of Tactics Ogre for the GBA about 15 years ago. Boxed, small manual with it - was a HK version I think or similar and probably paid about £20 for it. Played the game through at the time, all absolutely fine, and recently rediscovered the game during a clear out and ended up playing through it again. (It's a great game!)

I'm not collecting GBA games though so recently put the cart on eBay. As its a bit rare these days it attracted a fair amount of interest - one guy contacted me and asked if I could do some checks as to whether it was an official cart; I found this a bit of an odd question as it was something that hadn't entered my head before then but I did the checks online as he suggested. I was a bit shocked when it had none of the signs (print on the game sticker, ref. no. on the back of the cart) that indicated it as official! I ended up apologising to the guy - I'm still not 100% convinced that it is completely dodgy (think it might have been a 'post-production run' copy or something like that that I've read about happening in HK and China perhaps?). I put a note on the listing saying I couldn't guarantee that it was official.

Was it wrong of me to sell the game not being able to prove conclusively that it was genuine? (I know 'ignorance is no defence' applies for my own purchase of the game, whether many years previously or not).

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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by Andy Dale » Sat Oct 05, 2019 6:37 am

Pacific wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 4:00 am
One thing I didn't realise was how long repros have been around for. I'd bought a copy of Tactics Ogre for the GBA about 15 years ago. Boxed, small manual with it - was a HK version I think or similar and probably paid about £20 for it. Played the game through at the time, all absolutely fine, and recently rediscovered the game during a clear out and ended up playing through it again. (It's a great game!)

I'm not collecting GBA games though so recently put the cart on eBay. As its a bit rare these days it attracted a fair amount of interest - one guy contacted me and asked if I could do some checks as to whether it was an official cart; I found this a bit of an odd question as it was something that hadn't entered my head before then but I did the checks online as he suggested. I was a bit shocked when it had none of the signs (print on the game sticker, ref. no. on the back of the cart) that indicated it as official! I ended up apologising to the guy - I'm still not 100% convinced that it is completely dodgy (think it might have been a 'post-production run' copy or something like that that I've read about happening in HK and China perhaps?). I put a note on the listing saying I couldn't guarantee that it was official.

Was it wrong of me to sell the game not being able to prove conclusively that it was genuine? (I know 'ignorance is no defence' applies for my own purchase of the game, whether many years previously or not).

Morally and legally there is a difference between an individual selling one repro that they have and a factory that is manufacturing thousands of them as a business.

I've sent links to a bunch of the listings to nintendo directly but they haven't replied to my email yet and all the sellers I reported to them and eBay are still active.

I'm starting to think that if Nintendo doesn't care about this, why should I? It's their IP being ripped off.

I'm not sure why they ask people to report piracy to them if they ignore the info given.


https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Legal-inform ... 32157.html

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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by pratty » Sat Oct 05, 2019 7:44 am

Andy Dale wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 6:37 am

I've sent links to a bunch of the listings to nintendo directly but they haven't replied to my email yet and all the sellers I reported to them and eBay are still active.

I'm starting to think that if Nintendo doesn't care about this, why should I? It's their IP being ripped off.

I'm not sure why they ask people to report piracy to them if they ignore the info given.


https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Legal-inform ... 32157.html
Again I think you're expecting this to move quicker than it may take.

In my experience, contacting and getting a staisfactory repsonse from a large business is anything but instant. Typically they don't check emails regularly, perhaps once a week just as a matter of routine. And then they'll be a backlog you could very well be at the bottom of. Then there is the time necessary to act and for that action to take noticable effect.

Nintendo may have to draft a legal letter to these sellers, after first communicating with ebay (which again probably isn't immediate). If they send letters to the sellers directly then they'd have to get their contact details from Ebay which is probably a regulated process. Then the physical letters have to reach China, the sellers then have to read them and act, if the threat from Nintendo contains a deadline then they may well continue right up to that deadline to make as much money while they still can, or they may ignore the warning altogether. Perhaps they will argue their case to Nintendo to avoid proposed legal action, which may cause further back and forth.

As for Ebay, again your concern may be at the back of a lengthy quque. The person dealing with it may not be the intended department and your email could get passed around and end up on the bottom of another person's to do list. Also bear in mind video games are only one field where copyright infringement is a problem, Ebay also have to contend with music, film, TV, fashion, electronics, jewellry etc. And then they are hardly the experts, you and I can easily identify a fake video game with 99% certainty, but can say a middle-aged, female office worker with zero knowledge of video games? They have to take some time to look into it, contact the seller, wait for a reply etc, do they even speak Chinese? What about Chinese Law, could that have some implications? Perhaps they don't have a policy of instantly removing sales without giving the seller a fair hearing. Have you looked into how they deal with this? As obvious as it is in this case a policy has to act as a general principle covering all sales. A lot of people rely on Ebay for their living, wouldn't be right to lose that because an ill-informed Ebay employee instantly banned them purely on the say-so of a random person on the internet.

Having said that I notice one of the sales you posted is listed as "out of stock" so perhaps that is as a result of your efforts.

Have you tried going through social media? You may get a more instant and active response doing it publically.
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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by Andy Dale » Sat Oct 05, 2019 8:05 am

pratty wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 7:44 am
Andy Dale wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 6:37 am

I've sent links to a bunch of the listings to nintendo directly but they haven't replied to my email yet and all the sellers I reported to them and eBay are still active.

I'm starting to think that if Nintendo doesn't care about this, why should I? It's their IP being ripped off.

I'm not sure why they ask people to report piracy to them if they ignore the info given.


https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Legal-inform ... 32157.html
Again I think you're expecting this to move quicker than it may take.

In my experience, contacting and getting a staisfactory repsonse from a large business is anything but instant. Typically they don't check emails regularly, perhaps once a week just as a matter of routine. And then they'll be a backlog you could very well be at the bottom of. Then there is the time necessary to act and for that action to take noticable effect.

Nintendo may have to draft a legal letter to these sellers, after first communicating with ebay (which again probably isn't immediate). If they send letters to the sellers directly then they'd have to get their contact details from Ebay which is probably a regulated process. Then the physical letters have to reach China, the sellers then have to read them and act, if the threat from Nintendo contains a deadline then they may well continue right up to that deadline to make as much money while they still can, or they may ignore the warning altogether. Perhaps they will argue their case to Nintendo to avoid proposed legal action, which may cause further back and forth.

As for Ebay, again your concern may be at the back of a lengthy quque. The person dealing with it may not be the intended department and your email could get passed around and end up on the bottom of another person's to do list. Also bear in mind video games are only one field where copyright infringement is a problem, Ebay also have to contend with music, film, TV, fashion, electronics, jewellry etc. And then they are hardly the experts, you and I can easily identify a fake video game with 99% certainty, but can say a middle-aged, female office worker with zero knowledge of video games? They have to take some time to look into it, contact the seller, wait for a reply etc, do they even speak Chinese? What about Chinese Law, could that have some implications? Perhaps they don't have a policy of instantly removing sales without giving the seller a fair hearing. Have you looked into how they deal with this? As obvious as it is in this case a policy has to act as a general principle covering all sales. A lot of people rely on Ebay for their living, wouldn't be right to lose that because an ill-informed Ebay employee instantly banned them purely on the say-so of a random person on the internet.

Having said that I notice one of the sales you posted is listed as "out of stock" so perhaps that is as a result of your efforts.

Have you tried going through social media? You may get a more instant and active response doing it publically.
Last year I tried to sell a DVDR of an MMA event that I personally filmed and had the rights to manufacture and sell.

My listing was removed after 8 hours and I was told that sales of unauthorised reproduction of copyright materials wasn't allowed.

I filmed the event with full permission of the event promoter. I had full legal right to sell these DVDs.

I appealed their decision but was ignored. So I phoned them to see if direct verbal communication would improve my chances of a fair hearing. The guy on the phone said I would have to provide eBay with the proof before anything could be done. He expected me to get the show promoter to type me a letter giving me the written permission, photocopy it and send it to eBay.

Do you see the disparity between this and what you're saying?

I suspect that my listing was removed so fast because I had explained in the description that the item was a DVDR and not a factory pressed disc. I didn't want buyers to expect a factory pressed disc and all start asking for a refund so I was honest and wrote that these were recordable discs . Ebay just assumed that because I was selling DVDRs that I was bootlegging.

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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by pratty » Sat Oct 05, 2019 9:41 am

Andy Dale wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 8:05 am

Last year I tried to sell a DVDR of an MMA event that I personally filmed and had the rights to manufacture and sell.

My listing was removed after 8 hours and I was told that sales of unauthorised reproduction of copyright materials wasn't allowed.
And despite your experience you think Ebay doesn't object to unauthorised reproduction? :?
Andy Dale wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 8:05 am
I filmed the event with full permission of the event promoter. I had full legal right to sell these DVDs.

I appealed their decision but was ignored. So I phoned them to see if direct verbal communication would improve my chances of a fair hearing. The guy on the phone said I would have to provide eBay with the proof before anything could be done. He expected me to get the show promoter to type me a letter giving me the written permission, photocopy it and send it to eBay.
Given you are not the promoter that sounds entirely fair and reasonable.
Andy Dale wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 8:05 am

I suspect that my listing was removed so fast because I had explained in the description that the item was a DVDR and not a factory pressed disc. I didn't want buyers to expect a factory pressed disc and all start asking for a refund so I was honest and wrote that these were recordable discs . Ebay just assumed that because I was selling DVDRs that I was bootlegging.
Your's is a good example as to why Ebay perhaps shouldn't be too hasty to remove a listing without investigating first.

It probably happened more quickly because you admitted they were DVDRs, "DVDR" may even be a trigger word that automatic highlights a listing as suspect . You probably got a quicker repsonse from ebay since you speak English and openly engaged in a dialogue with them, unlike Chinese bootleggers.

For what it's worth 2 of the 3 links you gave are now listed as "out of stock".
Last edited by pratty on Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by Andy Dale » Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:19 am

"And despite your experience you think Ebay doesn't object to unauthorised reproduction?"

No that's not what I think. I think there is a disparity between how they dealt with me and how they dealt with the obvious bootleggers I reported days ago. Don't you?

"Given you are not the promoter that sounds entirely fair and reasonable."

No it doesn't. This was a small local event. How did eBay ascertain that I was not the event promoter? Or that I had no right to sell my own footage? They removed my listing before speaking to me.

"For what it's worth 2 of the 3 links you gave are now listed as out of stock"

Them temporarily selling out of their fake crap is not the same as eBay prohibiting the sale of their fake crap.

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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by pratty » Sat Oct 05, 2019 11:37 am

Andy Dale wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:19 am
"And despite your experience you think Ebay doesn't object to unauthorised reproduction?"

No that's not what I think. I think there is a disparity between how they dealt with me and how they dealt with the obvious bootleggers I reported days ago. Don't you?
Yes, but you openly admitted to selling DVDRs which are typical in movie bootlegging, you were not selling videogames that the typcial Ebay employee may have little knowledge about, and you were also not in China.
Andy Dale wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:19 am
"Given you are not the promoter that sounds entirely fair and reasonable."

No it doesn't. This was a small local event. How did eBay ascertain that I was not the event promoter? Or that I had no right to sell my own footage? They removed my listing before speaking to me.
Why would they assume you were the promoter? Maybe they got the idea that you weren't from an ebay user reporting you and strongly asserting you were illegally bootlegging the event. They didn't take time to investigate which is the very thing you are now saying shouldn't even be necessary. Why should they just take your word for it that you had the right to sell to sell the footage? Should Ebay believe that Nintendo gave the ok to the Chinese bootleggers if that's what they claim? Getting confirmation from the event promoter sounds like the responsible thing for them to do.
Andy Dale wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:19 am
"For what it's worth 2 of the 3 links you gave are now listed as out of stock"

Them temporarily selling out of their fake crap is not the same as eBay prohibiting the sale of their fake crap.
They could only be out of stock, or they could have ceased selling without taking the listing down for whatever reason, where "out of stock" may just be the default status in that case. Of course that's only speculation, I have no certainty over the action being taken or not taken by Ebay or Nintendo, and neither do you. I get the impression from this link though that they respond more actively to reports by the copyright holder themselves, which is who Ebay has a greater legal duty towards.

https://pages.ebay.com/seller-center/li ... #m17-1-tb2

To further answer the question posed - stop using ebay?

Taking your business elsewhere might spur them into acting in a more timely manner to kick the bootleggers out. Maybe support the reputable independant online retro game retailers more, they may be a bit more expensive but at least they generally only sell genuine stuff since they're usually gamers themselves.
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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by Andy Dale » Sat Oct 05, 2019 1:32 pm

"Yes, but you openly admitted to selling DVDRs which are typical in movie bootlegging, you were not selling videogames that the typcial Ebay employee may have little knowledge about, and you were also not in China."

Independent MMA, Boxing and Wrestling companies produce their own DVDs. They simply cannot afford to pay a pressing plant to manufacture them onto silver discs. It's extremely common for them to produce them themselves or to hire someonethat they can afford to help.

Recordable media does NOT = bootleg.

Intellectual Property theft DOES = bootleg.

There are also promo CDRs from major record labels and demos from small independent bands and singers.

"Why would they assume you were the promoter? Maybe they got the idea that you weren't from an ebay user reporting you and strongly asserting you were illegally bootlegging the event. They didn't take time to investigate which is the very thing you are now saying shouldn't even be necessary. Why should they just take your word for it that you had the right to sell to sell the footage? Should Ebay believe that Nintendo gave the ok to the Chinese bootleggers if that's what they claim? Getting confirmation from the event promoter sounds like the responsible thing for them to do."

I'm not the promoter. I own that footage though. It was filmed by me at the request of the promoter. Instead of paying me. I was granted full permission to distribute the footage for profit. Ebay removed my item without checking anything, yet they allow obviously fake 3DS and N64 cartridges to remain even when reported. Why are these Chinese criminals given this grace period that I was not?

I'm surprised you can't see the unfairness there. So much so that I suspect you're trying in vain to annoy me for some reason.

Why did eBay assume there was ANY copyright breach on my DVDR? If I tried to sell copies of my holiday videos on DVDR should they get removed by eBay because they were recorded by me onto blank discs? Should they demand that I prove that I own that footage somehow?

Why does Ebay assume that these sellers might have been given permission by Nintendo to sell software containing hundreds of games but assume that I was a bootlegger?

I have the rights to the footage on the DVDRs I was selling. These Chinese bootleggers don't have the rights to the intellectual property on and in the cartridges they are selling.

I brought up my DVDR example to illustrate to you that Ebay doesn't seem to be able to deal with factory produced bootlegs of anything very well. There's bootleg toys, trainers, all kinds of IP theft on cushion covers, mugs, clothing etc, yet a DVDR is automatically banned even when the seller owns the footage on the disc.
Last edited by Andy Dale on Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by kiwimike » Sat Oct 05, 2019 7:20 pm

Don't think there is much that can be done to police all of it unfortunately, it takes eBay watchers to be vigilante and report them when seen, but even then doubt eBay will care. Everything is about money, sad but true fact.
I think the only thing that could possibly be done is stick buyer beware warnings on listings, to ensure buyers do as much homework as possible to make sure they aren't ripped off.

Noticed it more with Game and Watches, as of course boxed ones are much more valuable- warning signs when the box looks that little bit TOO good for the age of the item. I am very wary buying games off eBay. Some of the Ali express rip offs are looking so authentic now, it'd be so easy for people to buy cheap then list on eBay as a genuine item.

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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by Megamixer » Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:23 pm

pratty wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:27 am
Like I said it can take time, the first thing ebay would likely do is open a dialogue with the seller.
Not necessarily. I once had a legit copy of Super Mario World (cart-only) for SNES listed on ebay and somebody reported it as counterfeit. Ebay didn't contact me at all - just pulled my listing then informed me afterwards of the reason.

I did hear that there was a spate of sellers trying to get the listings of anybody who drastically undercut their own prices removed by reporting the rival items as fake (when they weren't).

Unfortunately, Ebay doesn't have a specialised retro gaming department that can agree/disagree with the reasons/evidence that reporters cite so they probably just rip the listing down in order to remain compliant. I mean, I know about things like serial numbers, cart label inconsistencies and different types of screws but to expect Ebay to also know this is asking too much.

There really isn't much you can do other than to get informed before buying and if the provided imagery/info isn't concrete enough, then don't risk it.
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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by Matt_B » Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:50 pm

I wouldn't count on the games industry to do much. They already view second hand sales as something to be discouraged, on the grounds that they make no money out of it, so there's not much of an incentive for them to rack up a huge legal bill here.

That's in stark contrast to the film and music industries who make a lot of money out of back catalogue sales and will come down like a ton of bricks on anything that might eat into it. The mere presence of DVD-R in a listing would probably be enough for an automatic flagging there.

Cart collectors are basically on their own, with flagging and payment disputes - with all their inherent limitations - the only tools available.

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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by learnedrobb » Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:07 am

I echo the sentiments of most on here. There is precious little that can be done to stop this. All we, as gamers, can do is report dodgy items to eBay, and share information about sellers who try to pass off repros as originals with our fellow collectors. Beyond that, unless you can somehow shut down all the factories in China manufacturing these bootlegs, oh and kill off Aliexpress as well, then that's about it. Sad, but true.
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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by bensonrad » Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:29 pm

I've reported loads of fake repro Snes games on ebay in the past, seller was churning out fake copies of the rarer games for £30 each, it said in the listing they were reproductions, ebay did nothing, I think they just are happy to rake in the money. I doubt there is really much that can be done about it, it so much easier these days for people to make/print up their own stuff. As a buyer I just have to be super careful to avoid it.
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