EBay acts to protect c’right

Pressure from courts, BSA, Microsoft leads to move

Internet auction giant eBay.com confirmed Wednesday that it has started monitoring whether items for sale on its site — including copies of music, movies, vidgames and other software titles — violate possible copyrights.

In the past, eBay refused to police the site, opting instead to wait until it received complaints from a copyright owner before removing an item up for auction. The company took that position to avoid being held liable for fraud or other illegal sales.

But increased pressure from the U.S. courts, the software industry’s antipiracy group the Business Software Alliance and Microsoft, among other software companies, led eBay to change its policy and prohibit the sale of anything with an intellectual copyright recorded solely on a blank compact disc.

Copyright owners of unusual items, including a yet-to-be-released trailer for the next “Star Wars” pic, for example, still would have to contact eBay, should they discover the item for sale on the site.

Although eBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove stressed that the dot-com is not responsible or liable for the sale of illegal merchandise on the site, “We realize the concerns that intellectual property rights owners have with infringing items, and we want to work with them.”

Now the San Jose, Calif.-based company has created a team of 15 staffers, including two full-time lawyers and a liaison to the software biz, devoted to fraud prevention.

Since December, the company has removed a dozen listings a day for movies, music and software available to purchase on the site.

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