Ok it’s time for me to go on another one of my fun rants about people selling whips on ebay. Well, this specific person I don’t think I’ve ever written about or really given a crap about until last night. Every now and then I look at the whips being sold on ebay to see if there is anything interesting being sold.
Last night I found this auction: cache:http://www.ebay.com/itm/Stock-man-Bull-Whip-kit-Build-your-own-Bullwhip-/150559781368.
The problem with the auction is not that he’s selling a Peter Jack Whip Kit, but he’s using a picture of mine to sell it! If you look at the first picture which is of the stock whip on a black table top (that’s also the picture that was used to promote the auction in the search results).
Doesn’t that stock whip look an awful lot like the stock whip I made from a Peter Jack kit that I showed in this post from 8/31/10: http://bullwhips.org/?p=3754 or below:
Now I’ll admit the pictures aren’t exactly the same because Jrzjoe intentionally cut off the slug with my website at the bottom of the picture! So it is in fact the same picture only cropped! That means that not only are they illegally using my image, but they intentionally removed an identifying mark!
Alright now that I’ve established it’s a picture of a whip that I took. According to US Copyright Laws it’s my picture and I own all rights to it. Now this is where is copyright can get tricky because if I had used something like flickr to upload it I may have lost some ownership in it. I don’t know flickr’s policies because I don’t use them, but many online photo sharing websites in their terms and conditions when you check that box you lose some of your exclusivity / rights to your image. Fortunately for me the only place that picture has ever been published is on my blog. I 100% own that photo and only I get to decide how it’s used (well technically my wife owns it as well because I live in a community property state).
I contacted Jrzjoe directly and asked him to take it down as well as contacted ebay’s Verified Rights Owner Program to let them know he was illegally using my picture. Well I guess the system works because ebay not only took down the the picture, they took down the whole auction!
Now a few questions that popped into my head
I was wondering why he was using my photo to sell the Peter Jack Whip Kit. Surely Peter Jack the maker of the whip kit has a picture of one of the stock whips. Or if Jrzjoe makes such great whips, then why would he use a picture of one that I made?
Or why wouldn’t he make one from the kit and use that for a picture to illustrate it and sell the completed whip?
And finally why would you pay $99.85 for a Peter Jack stock whip kit from Jrzjoe when you can get one from Peter Jack for $77 (That’s what I paid when I bought mine) with shipping to the USA included? That’s a 23% discount from Jrzjoe’s price!
Jrzjoe’s Response to Me After ebay Shut Down his Listing
This morning I got an email from Jrzjoe after ebay closed his listing. Here’s his email:
Why? I guess if you have a listing that is similar I could have had it removed, since I have this listed for years. Joe
Here’s why he is so dumb and his email to me simply proves it:
“Why?” Umm, because it’s the law?
“I guess if you have a listing that is similar I could have had it removed, since I have this listed for years” Really he’s had it listed for years? According the the listing it was updated on 4/23/11 and there were no other revisions. So this listing is just over 8 month old, so by “years” he could be talking about .8 years. I think if you were to say Point eight years, that would using correct grammar, but he didn’t include the .8 so he’s meaning multiple years.
Ok let’s give Jrzjoe the benefit of the doubt and say he’s had this listing up before and this is a re-listing that took place in April. Fine…but the picture didn’t exist until 8/30/10 and wasn’t published until the next day, so at most the listing with my image is just over 1 year and 4 months old. While technically the listing is over a year old I think the average person would agree that calling it “years” would be a bit of a stretch.
The Whip Industry Shouldn’t Tolerate This!
One thing that the entire whip industry (buyers, sellers and makers) should do is not let Jrzjoe or anyone get away with using someone else’s pictures to sell their wares without permission. There have been at least two “known” whip makers that have used pictures of Joe Strain‘s whips and tried to pass them off as their own. In both those instances the whip maker has been called out on it and the pictures removed from their sites.
The whip industry is small enough someone like Jrzjoe infringing on my copyrighted image, that’s what they call in marketing Industry Incest and he’s making his gene pool much dumber by engaging in it!
For someone not in the whip industry it’s hard to know who belongs to what, however most whip makers can recognize their own work from a picture. When I saw my picture on Jrzjoe’s listing the first familiar thing I noticed wasn’t the whip, but the table it was photographed on, then the whip. Whip makers as a whole do a good job of letting each other know when we see someone using a picture of theirs without permission.
What can you as the consumer of whips do? It’s simple don’t give business to people like Jrzjoe.