eBay Has To Pay $63m Because A French Court Doesn't Know A Platform From A User

from the bad-ruling dept

A few weeks ago, we pointed out that a French court had made a very bad ruling, blaming eBay for actions of its users. The case involved the sale of counterfeit goods from LVMH. Rather than recognizing that eBay is just a platform and has no way of knowing whether products put up for sale by its users are legit or counterfeit, the court somehow ruled that eBay should know. Now the court has ruled on the fine, making eBay pay up $63 million for this exceptionally bad ruling. If you provide any sort of platform, a ruling like this should make you very, very afraid of doing any business in France. You can now be blamed and fined for the actions of your users. Update: As pointed out in the comments, this ruling is even more ridiculous than it at first appears. Apparently, eBay is even responsible for people selling legit versions of some products, because LVMH claims that no one is allowed to resell those goods without a reseller agreement.


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(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    sonofdot, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 2:13pm

    Because it's LV

    This is protectionism, plain and simple. I've tried to sell a number of legitimate Louis Vuitton articles on eBay, and each time I was notified by the LV sharks/lawyers that the item was counterfeit (how they could tell from the photos is beyond me). Each time, they also wanted me to give them the merchandise (I told them to pound sand), and they wanted me to identify the illegal manufacturer/distributor (I gave them the address of the estate sale). Anyway, there's no arguing with them (mostly because they don't respond), and eBay will shut down the auction once notified. That is, unless you do a 3-day auction over a weekend. LV bloodhounds don't seem to work weekends, and clearly, neither does anyone at eBay.

    Basically, Louis Vuitton doesn't want anyone except authorized retailers selling their junk, so they will claim everything not sold by authorized retailers is counterfeit, whether true or not. And the French courts think that's just fine.

    And I think the correct response is to never by anything made in France. And next time they're invaded, let them fend for themselves.

     

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  2.  
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    Joe, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 2:44pm

    Stupid question, but what if eBay simply decided it didn't like the French court's ruling and decided not to pay?

    I am not a huge fan of eBay based on some of their practices, but if I were in their position, I would seriously be tempted to not pay and/or stop operations in France completely.

    I guess thats why I'm a low level tech and not running a multinational corporation.

     

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  3.  
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    shmengie, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 2:58pm

    Re:

    joe: that's my initial knee-jerk reaction as well. but, if you think about it, 63mil might be chump change compared to what they make by being able to do business in frog-land. i always have the same initial reaction when the eu fines microsoft.

    either way, that judge is a moron and i hope he gets dragged by a truck.

     

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    GeneralEmergency (profile), Jun 30th, 2008 @ 3:01pm

    Need I say more???

    "16 Accidentally Wounded by French Military in Shooting Demo"

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,373502,00.html

    Perhaps they should return to placing more emphasis on their "Surrender Training".

    They are much better at it and usually, fewer people get hurt.

     

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  5.  
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    Anthony, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 3:01pm

    They should not pay and dont allow anyone from .fr to go to ebay.com

    simple and never problematic, then the ppl of France go to the complainers and beat them with a stick :)

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 3:43pm

    The real abuse is the part of the ruling which Mike isn't addressing.
    The suit was not only for allowing the sale of counterfeit goods, but also allowing the sale of AUTHENTIC goods:

    "As for perfumer-plaintiffs Kenzo, Guerlain, Dior and Givenchy, the judge ruled that, even though the perfumes sold by eBay were legitimate, the company was liable for unauthorized sales. LVMH strictly limits their distribution to authorized dealers such as perfume chains and department stores."

     

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  7.  
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    tm, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 3:49pm

    chump change

    Sure, 63mil might be chump change now. But it's not about the 63mil. It's about the precedent that this sets for future French and other EU courts and how this will play out with other 'platforms' and other merchandisers.

     

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  8.  
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    Danny, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 4:00pm

    Don't be too hard on them folks this is the closest thing France has ever had to a major victory over a foreign entity. I say pay the fine then make a world wide announcement that due to that unfair ruling (and call out LV too) they are blocking all French users.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 4:21pm

    Re:

    They don't have that right once they sell it to someone else. How about the company that makes your car prevents you from trading it in or reselling it...Once they sell the purse/perfume/whatever to a distributor, and that distributor sells it to a person, all rights the original manufacturer has to sale/resale is gone.

     

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  10.  
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    Jason, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 4:31pm

    Re:

    What if they just ignore the ruling and continue to do business in France. Do they actually have operations or holdings there? What exactly can the French government do? Let the French government bear the cost of blocking people from using ebay. Let them foot the bill for tracking every proxy. They will quickly get a taste of how unbearable their internet policing rules are if they have to pay the cost.

     

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  11.  
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    Me, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 4:33pm

    eBay

    What amazingly stupid comments... eBay should be spanked and not with a $63mm but with a $1bn fine. Yes, they're a platform but they're an enabler. If I crack your credit card, the bank is on the hook, why shouldn't eBay?!

    Numb nutz.

     

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  12.  
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    Michelle, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 4:33pm

    Re: Re:

    I'm with you Anonymous Coward! Ebay is like one big garage sale. Who has the right to police what you want to resell! Certainly not the French! What a stupid ruling. I'm sure Ebay has a whole legal team to tie this thing up in the appellate courts.

     

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  13.  
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    Still me, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 4:36pm

    eBay

    Dear Michelle, this is not about cowardice but rather privacy and laziness... I'm not going to create yet another pointless ID to point-out how stupid people are.

    Lawyers are one thing but for too long eBay has been able to hide behind the "we're a platform" B***S***. If the enabler (i.e. platform) is not policing these transactions, and the reputation is a scam, who else can do it? You, me, who?

    Still a bunch of numb nutz on this rant

     

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  14.  
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    Doug, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 4:43pm

    I think if you follow this logic all the way through.....follow me here.... then if someone had purchased a fake LV product(like a fake purse), the purchaser, following this logic, should then be allowed to sue the real LV manufacturer, because the manufacturer allowed the fake to exist on the planet earth.

    That country has some "reality" issues.

     

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  15.  
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    stanley schulman, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 4:48pm

    european ebay lvmh ruling correct, ebay looks the other way

    ebay wink, wink, nod, nods at real violators. An ordinary use like myself was sent threatening e-mails over a genuine article which showed all the documentation for a reproduction of a watch that Hamilton made in the 1980's based on WWII models. Argument was whether a replica or reproduction was the right word to use - even when I explained that if you babelfish either word into another language the other one usually comes up - their emails and lack of appreciation of actual documentation was abusive; yet they very well know about counterfeiters who use termonology that doesn't violate their ebay agreements - this is about listing fees and turning a blind eye to real fraudsters. What started out as a global village of enthusiasts and collectors and been allowed to be turned into a marketplace for the sleeze operators of the world. Why would they persecute an 8 year member with a total of 200 positive feedbacks while allowing usually off shore opeerators list thousand of specious items. Wink, wink, nod, nod.

     

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  16.  
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    Paul, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 4:55pm

    law?

    Could someone enlighten me what exactly is the law on these type of things? Like is the post office responsibly what is sent through its service? Are torrent sites responsible if its users upload copy right material? Is you tube responsible for what its users upload? Is ebay lawfully responsible for what its users auction?

     

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  17.  
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    maggie dinno, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 5:23pm

    Ridiculous

    The appeals court will never uphold this. maggie.dinno@ebay.com

     

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  18.  
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    AEN, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 5:43pm

    What ? Me worry ?

    I never have and never will use Ebay services, including paypal. But this ruling is retarded.
    So - have at it you greedy designer morons, drive another nail in your coffin. Soon no one will even remember that you existed.

     

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  19.  
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    The whos, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 5:58pm

    I agree with ruling......

    Dont they take commission from these purchases? Dont they make money out of it? Its not like somebody used gmail to fraud somebody. eBay does make money out of its business and are responsible for any purchases

     

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  20.  
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    Urza, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 6:16pm

    So...

    For those of you who _support_ this decision...the whole two of you...

    By this logic, my landlord can be sued if I sell fake goods at my garage sale, right? He can be thrown in jail if there's a meth lab in my basement? Actually, let's take that one step further. Based on the logic presented by 'The whos', the city makes money from my property taxes, therefore they should be responsible for what I do on that land, right? If I break a federal law, they can go after the mayor, right? Oh, and the President's pay check comes straight out of my taxes too. So if I do anything wrong, you can just go after Bush.
    Actually, that's not a bad idea....

     

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  21.  
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    The whos, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 6:34pm

    Re: So...

    Dude, they are taking commission and hence they are responsible. There is a huge difference between tax and commission.

    If you are paying taxes, but the contractor who is supposed to pick thrash is doing that then of course you should sue the mayor (or ur landlord if he had promised that).

     

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  22.  
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    The whos, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 6:36pm

    Re: Re: So...

    ........thrash is NOT doing that......

     

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  23.  
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    Still Me Is An Idiot, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 6:41pm

    Re: eBay

    Poor baby. Lose some money on eBay? You are the idiot. How would eBay verify millions of transactions a day? Idiot.

     

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    Mike (profile), Jun 30th, 2008 @ 6:53pm

    Re: I agree with ruling......

    Dont they take commission from these purchases? Dont they make money out of it? Its not like somebody used gmail to fraud somebody. eBay does make money out of its business and are responsible for any purchases

    And that's why AT&T is liable when you commit a crime over the phone. After all, AT&T made money from that user, right?

    And it's why Dell is liable when you commit a crime via your computer. After all, Dell made money from that user, right?

    Oh wait, that's totally ridiculous.

    The fact that money was made has nothing to do with it. eBay has no reasonable way to know if the good is counterfeit or not. It is not the liable party.

     

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  25.  
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    Cynic, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 6:55pm

    You know what would really tick off the French. If we started calling Miller Lite the Champagne of Beers. I bet their heads would spin around 6 times and they'd start projectile vomiting. For that matter, we could start calling everything the "Champagne" of this, or the "Champagne" of that. It could be a viral thing. Maybe then they'd realize there's a whole planet out there and they are only a small, small part of it and the rest of the people are free to consider their viewpoints parochial and silly.

     

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  26.  
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    Reality Check, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 7:01pm

    If you owned a valuable brand?

    If you were fortunate enough to own a luxury brand what would you do to protect your business, your employees, your income, your shareholders etc.

    If SOME fakes of your products were being traded on a site would you want to take action? Would you want to stop your products being traded on that site again whether real or fake?

    Carp all you like about the headlines and spin being put on this judgement but it took a Court in an established free market economy and democracy (with a Legal history dating back many, many years) about two years to reach this verdict. Don't you think eBay employed some heavy duty Lawyers to argue their position? But yet this is NOT the first such judgement against eBay outside of the US.

    Let's get a few things straight, eBay may claim the "venue" argument. If you are happy that claim should absolve you from all legal responsibility for the content of your website then try running a store on main street selling second user items on a commission basis. Now put lots of stolen items or fakes in the window with attractive prices on and see how long it is before you get a visitor asking questions. When you shout "but they're not mine" ask yourself why they are still putting the cuffs on you and look up the dictionary meaning of "fence" in the criminal sense.

    eBay has long tried to divorce itself from any and all responsibility to police it's own site. While I can agree that not all fakes are easily recognised, eBay have long had an uncanny ability to ignore user reports about bad listings. Responsible behaviour?

    Of course, if you just hate the French or hate big business then carp all you like. But that wont change Laws fortunately.

    Copyright and IP Laws in the US are, in the main, similar to most European countries but there are some subtle differences. When European companies trade in the US they must play by US Law so I don't think it's unreasonable for eBay to play by the Laws of the land of the countries they choose to trade in. You cannot apply US Law in France. Would you expect Frech companies to be governed by French Law in the US?

    Just recently eBay has been trying to foist a Paypal only policy on Australia. It is perhaps the most extreme anti-competitive behaviour possible and it is now on hold because it's tied up with Australian regulators. eBay wouldn't have had a hope in hell of getting that policy past US watchdogs and they wouldn't try - but it didn't stop them trying to do it in Australia where they probably thought they could get away with it.

    In signing off I'd like to point out to sonofdot that the last time France was invaded by the Germans in 1940 the US did look the other way and allow them to fend for themselves and it wasn't until the very end of 1941, after Pearl Harbor, that the US came in to the War in Europe by which time the French had been occupied for nearly two years. The Brits did have forces in France when they were invaded by Germany and, being overwhlemed by numbers and suffering heavy losses, fought a rearguard action before evacuating back to England from Dunkirk.

    Of course the US coming in to the European theatre in 1942 was a turning point for the War in Europe and any right minded European, including myself, has a humble sense of gratitude toward the US to this day.

    But let's not use facts to spoil a good opinion....

     

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  27.  
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    Rob, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 7:03pm

    Give em a dose of their own medicine

    Brilliant!!

    In Aus, eBay are tyring to force people into only accepting PayPal as a method of payment because it will "make transactions more secure". The real reason is so that they can make a lot more money. Probably an extra $60m a year.

    A dose of their own medicine might serve them right for being so money hungry, monopilistic and arrogant!

     

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  28.  
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    Paul`, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 8:03pm

    Re: Need I say more???

    Maybe get a better source? The day i read for for anything but entertainment at the lies they attempt to spin is the day I pay for Windows.

     

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  29.  
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    Reality Check, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 8:32pm

    Update

    The update by the OP again makes the assumption the whole world should work like the US and adopt US Law. Maybe that's desirable for some but America is not yet the entire world.

    In Europe we have a long established business method (legally protected) that allows manufacturers to appoint exclusive distributors of their products. LVMH is one such company that sells via approved distributors. eBay is NOT an approved distributor and the Court has acknowledged that eBay therefore cannot sell LVMH items on its website (regardless of where the item comes from).

    This does not stop individuals from excercising the 1st sale doctrine under copyright Law. Individuals can sell any genuine LVMH item they own but eBay cannot act as an "agent" to sell them. Seem wrong to you? Then tell Ford and General Motors for example who make use of such "aproved distributor" arrangements to sell cars in Europe and are protected the same way.

    I appreciate individuals here may think the world is flat and there's really nothing outside the US but big corporations shouldn't be trading in countries when they don't understand or respect the Laws of those countries. That is simply poor management.

    The good news about the legal differences between us? Come over to the UK and have a beer in a bar when you're 18!

     

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  30.  
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    Urza, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 9:00pm

    Re: If you owned a valuable brand?

    Reality Check:
    Well, you have a great argument, but I'd like to make a couple counterpoints:

    Yes, I'm sure e-bay had some great lawyers. I'm sure the opposition had some excellent ones themselves. In the end, though, the judge made a pretty poor decision. Sure, it took two years, but you don't seriously think two years of time were actually spent on the case, right? Generally, due to the large case load, these things get rather rushed. Each party has a time period measured sometimes in minutes to state their case. And when things are rushed, mistakes are made. Yes, e-bay is a horrible company. But this damages a lot more people and companies than just e-bay. And yes, I would expect a large company to do whatever possible to protect their bottom line, but that doesn't mean it's right.

    And yes, Europe has different IP laws. So does that mean they can do no wrong? China has different laws too. So does that mean that just because it's legal under their law we shouldn't care about their speech restrictions and such?

    Oh, and the difference between running a store on main street selling goods and e-bay is that e-bay doesn't and can't inspect everything sold there. With that store on main street not only would you easily be able to physically inspect everything that comes through, you'd have to at least glance over it in the process of selling it. Oh, and pricing it, putting on barcodes, etc. E-bay isn't a store, they're a service provider. You don't ship things to E-bay's warehouse and let them sell it for you. E-bay only provides tools that make selling things easier. That and a bit of drive space and bandwidth.

     

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  31.  
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    Phil, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 9:15pm

    Re: If you owned a valuable brand?

    "Now put lots of stolen items or fakes in the window with attractive prices"...psssttt...It's called a pawn shop. Which by the way are not responsible for having the stolen item. They keep records of who provided it and (if stolen) the authorities take it from there.

     

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  32.  
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    Warren, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 9:23pm

    Re: If you owned a valuable brand?

    I agree with your comment. First of all, IP in my opinion is an anticompetitive tool that companies use as a leverage to force out unwanted competition. Second, the IP law being national can be adopted by each country to suit its own needs given the level of technological development. And Lastly, each nation always look out for their own interest; if not, they should.

    For example, before there was much innovation in a country, pirated goods were encouraged and this is seen repeated in history. For example, Britain forbid the movement of artisans to others countries at one time. Yet United States without any manufacturing industry encouraged the opposite knowing it is against the law of Britain. Now fast forward few hundred years, much of Eastern Europe and the United States became industrialized and wanted to have IP law to protect its own industry. These countries came together to established basic guidelines on IP by signing treaties during the Paris Convention and TRIPS.

    My impression of verdict by the France court is that it sends out a bad message to the rest of the industrialized world.I, myself lives in the States and the IP law of U.S. tells me that if you sell legit goods, you are abiding under the I.P. law because once the seller sells the good to a buyer, the seller don't have a control over what the buyer do with the good and buyer can certainly resell the good he/she bought from LV for that matters. I just don't see where the court has the power or where in the French law that says you can't resell legit goods that you bought.

    A nation will always be protected of her own industry but at least do it in a way that does not stir public outcry. Even in the U.S., the courts tends to favor its own industry. The U.S. government had been pushing for stronger IP aboard and had tried pushing it on developing and under developing countries so U.S. high tech industries can receive the same protection at home. This case is just another sign of the government looking out for their own interests but at the expense of a bad publicity and lost of respect in the eye of what law should be.

     

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  33.  
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    Paul, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 9:44pm

    Its about time Ebay was held accountable for allowing illegal items to be sold on its venue. Buyers have been cmplaining for years about being ripped off and scammed and Ebay has been able to get away with the same excuse time after time.

    I think its great that France did something about both the counterfeit and gray market merchandise.

    Now, if only someone wou;d do something about all the stolen merchandise that is fenced over eBay.

     

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  34.  
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    Typical Socialist Liberal, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 10:24pm

    Re:

    This ruling HAS to be correct. I mean, come on folks. If its not Ebay's responsibility to verify the authenticity of products that are so prone to being illegally copied, then it has to be my responsibility!! Why on earth should I be responsible for buying a forged product in good faith from some scumbag who is only lying for his own profit? Are you people numb? That can only be Ebay's or the gov's responsibility ... not mine. Now, where did I put my "genuine" Birkenstocks that I bought on Ebay last week? --TSL

     

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  35.  
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    Typical Socialist Liberal, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 10:31pm

    Re: Update

    Didnt Sotheby's just auction a Monet painting for $80M recently? Did they contact the original "distributor" for his approval? Please dont tell me you're a lawyer! God help your clients.

     

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  36.  
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    Mike (profile), Jun 30th, 2008 @ 10:34pm

    Re: If you owned a valuable brand?

    If you were fortunate enough to own a luxury brand what would you do to protect your business, your employees, your income, your shareholders etc.

    I would make sure I continue to sell top notch products. What's wrong with that? What I would *not* do is accuse the wrong party of selling counterfeits. That's counterproductive and LOWERS the value of my goods.

    If SOME fakes of your products were being traded on a site would you want to take action? Would you want to stop your products being traded on that site again whether real or fake?

    Two points: First, I actually would not. Because the fact that someone wanted to fake my goods would be a huge vote of validation.

    Second, though, if I somehow DID decide to go after the counterfeiters, I would go after the ACTUAL counterfeiters -- not the software they used to sell the goods.

    Why is this concept so hard to understand? You're blaming phone company for the guy doing the crime.

    Carp all you like about the headlines and spin being put on this judgement but it took a Court in an established free market economy and democracy (with a Legal history dating back many, many years) about two years to reach this verdict. Don't you think eBay employed some heavy duty Lawyers to argue their position? But yet this is NOT the first such judgement against eBay outside of the US.

    Yes, France has a long history of ridiculous rulings along these lines. Still doesn't make them right.

    Let's get a few things straight, eBay may claim the "venue" argument. If you are happy that claim should absolve you from all legal responsibility for the content of your website then try running a store on main street selling second user items on a commission basis. Now put lots of stolen items or fakes in the window with attractive prices on and see how long it is before you get a visitor asking questions. When you shout "but they're not mine" ask yourself why they are still putting the cuffs on you and look up the dictionary meaning of "fence" in the criminal sense.

    First off, that's quite different, because the store owner chooses what is being sold and personally handles all of it.

    It's a bad analogy.

    eBay has long tried to divorce itself from any and all responsibility to police it's own site. While I can agree that not all fakes are easily recognised, eBay have long had an uncanny ability to ignore user reports about bad listings. Responsible behaviour?

    Is it the responsibility of automakers to prevent people from speeding?

    The only one doing any "divorcing" from "responsibility" is you: taking responsibility away from the actual sellers and putting it on eBay.

    Of course, if you just hate the French or hate big business then carp all you like. But that wont change Laws fortunately.

    Yeah, no one EVER changed a law by pointing out how it didn't make any sense at all... /sarcasm

    Copyright and IP Laws in the US are, in the main, similar to most European countries but there are some subtle differences. When European companies trade in the US they must play by US Law so I don't think it's unreasonable for eBay to play by the Laws of the land of the countries they choose to trade in. You cannot apply US Law in France. Would you expect Frech companies to be governed by French Law in the US?

    Indeed. But the point is that this French law does not make ANY sense whatsoever.

    Just recently eBay has been trying to foist a Paypal only policy on Australia. It is perhaps the most extreme anti-competitive behaviour possible and it is now on hold because it's tied up with Australian regulators.

    A totally different situation -- which we've been hard on eBay for. But just because they did something dumb in one location, doesn't mean that all their actions are bogus. Or is it too difficult to understasnd that?

    But let's not use facts to spoil a good opinion....

    Yes, of course, it seems that you have a lot of your facts wrong, so maybe you want to start again.

     

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  37.  
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    Mike (profile), Jun 30th, 2008 @ 10:37pm

    Re:

    Its about time Ebay was held accountable for allowing illegal items to be sold on its venue. Buyers have been cmplaining for years about being ripped off and scammed and Ebay has been able to get away with the same excuse time after time.

    And I assume you blame AOL every time you get a piece of spam?

    Why not blame whoever is actually responsible?

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 11:22pm

    I don't know why the worlds puts up with those cheese eating surrender monkeys. Can someone bomb them now and get it over with?

     

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  39.  
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    bikey, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 11:45pm

    ebay

    Re the second part of the ruling, yes it is ridiculous that ebay got hit for selling authentic articles, but equally ridiculous: what binds ebay to plaintiff's selling arrangements with its dealers?
    This is part of a big worldwide picture whereby IP law provides the last possible link of big corporations to their profits. They no longer have any connection with those who produce (i.e. 'what's good for GE is good for America' is over - the jobs are gone and they aren't coming back). The fakes are made by the same people who make the real products, while the 'brand owner' does nothing but buy the brand from someone who may at one time have had control over production. Anything that threatens that final link will be bashed by increasingly compliant courts. Bashing France may make you feel better but the trend started in the US. Europeans frightened of their declining role in the world merely jumped on board. Increasing criminalization of even minor acts of 'infringement' combined with declining privacy is the big threat to us all. Don't waste your precious energy playing superior to France. Wake up.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    sylvain, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 1:50am

    Everyone here knows that Ebay is often borderline. If you build a beautiful tool and make it available to everyone, you're also responsible of the way people use it. It is the same when you say that Youtube has no responsibility on the videos they host: this is pure hypocrisy !

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    You cant be serious, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 5:15am

    Re:

    sylvain -> "If you build a beautiful tool and make it available to everyone, you're also responsible of the way people use it."

    You produced the above comment and now you are responsible for the way in which I use it.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Monet, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 7:21am

    My Copyright

    Didnt Sotheby's just auction a Monet painting for $80M recently? Did they contact the original "distributor" for his approval? Please dont tell me you're a lawyer! God help your clients. I will defend my copyright from the grave despite the fact it has expired long ago and my work is now in the public domain. I may consider appointing approved distributors too in future. D'oh!

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    Not A Donahoe Fan, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 7:29am

    All part of the modern eBay

    It seems being eBay thesedays means coliding in the Courts or with regulators the world over. The australian Paypal nonsence, the Craigslist friction and now the French farce. Who's paying for all this? Similarly the eBay website is having layer after layer of rigid, rule driven, regulation added on a daily basis and making it a noghtmare for sellers to use profitably. It's being dubbed the Donahoe Effect elsewhere. What's wrong with eBay making sure it's individual international sites comply with local Law and avoid this type of expense for users and, ultimately, investors. Every nation seems to throw up some apparently idiotic Law from time to time - including the US. But the Law is the Law and you ignore it at your peril.

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    Jason, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 7:58am

    Re: eBay

    Thanks for self-prefacing.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Peter Barczak, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 8:30am

    Re: Re:French court rulling @Ebay

    We will stop fining Microsoft when they stop robbing us.
    However, if you can supply a sensible reason why MS goods cost double over here than they do in the USA I will recant.

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Sean, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 8:49am

    Doing business in Europe

    Oh I've experience of this one - big flatfooted American companies barging into Europe and falling flat on their faces after tripping over the legislative ropes lying all over the place, just waiting to tie you up good and proper.

    Take this choice soundbyte from the EBay side;

    "Today’s ruling is about an attempt by LVMH to protect uncompetitive commercial practices at the expense of consumer choice and the livelihood of law-abiding sellers that eBay empowers everyday."

    Quite aside from the buzzword bingo ('empowers'? Haven't heard that one in a while) the sheer stupidity of this comment is quite astounding. The entire French establishment is all about protecting uncompetitive commercial practices, because frankly the French don't care much for capitalism, which is something Americans have a hard time dealing with. And if that is the best that EBay can come up with, then they shouldn't be doing business there in the first place.

    I worked for credit-card acquiring company that got stung for processing French-issued cards without being a member of the French card associations (which was a closed shop and not open to new members). Unlike EBay, we didn't bang our heads against the establishment wall, we just adapted and processed all extremely profitable the NON-French cards, thanks very much, and left the small-scale domestic rubbish to the French.

    Mike, please don't go rubbishing other people's judicial systems from your very American-business-school view point. The Napoleonic code is completely differen to US/UK common law, and while it might not be your system, 64,473,140 French people can't be all wrong.

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    Carl Braun, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 8:51am

    lot of agitation here...but...

    The court ruling is based about auctions on ebay.fr not ebay.com. LVMH in France and others countries has the right to choose it's distribution channels and protect image of theirs products to keep it in the luxury market. If ebay want a local website it has to apply locals laws and simply ban products with name vuitton, kenzo, givenchy, dior...
    I think that ebay is lucky with this fine.

     

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  48.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jul 1st, 2008 @ 11:41am

    Re: Doing business in Europe

    Quite aside from the buzzword bingo ('empowers'? Haven't heard that one in a while) the sheer stupidity of this comment is quite astounding.

    Actually, I think the quote is remarkably accurate. What's incorrect about it?

    The entire French establishment is all about protecting uncompetitive commercial practices, because frankly the French don't care much for capitalism, which is something Americans have a hard time dealing with. And if that is the best that EBay can come up with, then they shouldn't be doing business there in the first place.

    What's wrong with pointing out how these laws hurt consumers?

    Mike, please don't go rubbishing other people's judicial systems from your very American-business-school view point.

    Why not? If those judicial systems are WRONG and are blaming the wrong company, hurting both companies and consumers, then it makes absolute sense to rubbish them. They deserve it.

    What I don't accept is the idea that "well, those are France's laws, so live with it." If those laws are bad and dangerous and lead to bad outcomes, it's your *responsibility* to speak up about them.

     

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  49.  
    identicon
    Jason, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 11:42am

    Re: Update

    You don't have used car dealers? More closely related, when a car doesn't sell well, those dealers can't make use of auction lots?

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    sonofdot, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 12:15pm

    Re: eBay

    I'll bet you think the phone company is in charge of tracking down crank phone callers and telemarketers, too. Twice you've proven that you're the real dumb ass here.

    I think you really should create yet another pointless ID to use for your pointless posts.

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    sonofdot, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Update

    So I guess in Europe, I can't take out a classified ad to sell my used Ford?

    And let's see, eBay is an agent? No, eBay is a platform provider (like the phone company), otherwise by extension, Microsoft and Dell are guilty too, because they're "agents," not providers of a platform (plate-forme, for you frogs).

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    deathbychichi, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 2:46pm

    I think there's something hidden from our view here. The French auction companies hate eBay. The government is helping them get rid of it? Consumers be damned.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    Brad, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 3:39pm

    Ebay.fr != French Company

    I like how the primary argument in favor of the ruling stems around "Those are France's laws. Deal with it. Americans don't make the laws for the world."

    But France, apparently, does. They get to decide how an American company conducts its business. France gets to fine eBay when FRENCH citizens violate FRENCH laws while conducting business in AMERICA. Explain to me how that isn't imposing your laws over other countries?

    If France doesn't want counterfeit goods coming in to their country, they should go after the shipping companies that deal with the transport, or the individual users on eBay.

    And lets not forget: they're not just talking "counterfeit" goods - if I inherited a LV bag and had no interest in using it, I am not allowed to sell it at auction in France.

    So I guess I'm confused here why it would be extending US laws unfairly to allow, but isn't extending French laws unfairly to forbid and fine heavily.

    Again: it is not the responsibility of any other platform to police it's users - that's the job of the POLICE. If you think French citizens are breaking French laws (in buying or selling), go after them. Not the bulletin board they posted it on.

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    Simon, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 3:51pm

    Re: eBay

    @Me
    The only stupid comment is yours. It's nothing like cracking a bank card. It's more like suing General Motors because someone got run over by a drunk driver. Is General Motors and enabler of drunk driving?

    numb nutz indeed.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Pwdrskir, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 3:59pm

    French Term

    The term "Douche bag" comes from the French for a reason.

     

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  56.  
    icon
    Nick (profile), Jul 1st, 2008 @ 6:34pm

    Not having a resellers agreement sounds like the "violation of a business model," not something that is law enforceable. And what about the First Sales Doctrine?

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    James, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 8:59pm

    Re: If you owned a valuable brand?

    So you are you saying you actually expect eBay to verify each and every item sold? If you are (I pray your not) you sir, are an idiot.

    I mean that in the literal sense. eBay does not warehouse items, it enables sellers to sell their product to buyers. Do you even remotely have a clue HOW MUCH it would cost to police even 10% of their auctions, much less all of their auctions? Seriously, at some point in time you have to stop drinking the fucking kool-aid and say, this law is stupid.

    I'll say it again, if you think this actually makes sense, you are an idiot. Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder both, can see that this is a stupid ruling, (which potentially could snowball into even more idiotcracy).

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Nate, Jul 2nd, 2008 @ 1:17am

    Simply stop doing business in France.

    Don't bother allowing the French the use of your services if their government is going to stick you with absurd fines.

    The fact of the matter is, there is _no_ practical way for them to determine which products are legitimate, and which are not, or which products the seller has a "right" to sell, and which they do not.

    None of the people who support this ruling have given any ideas. The only solution to comply with this law would be to completely disallow the sale of items by a certain company as soon as a complaint is received.

    That would make Ebay France not worth using for the French citizens, and they'd be forced back into the expensive stores to buy 1st hand merchandise rather than quality used stuff.

    Which is exactly what the French corporations want, incidentally.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Hani Durzy, Jul 2nd, 2008 @ 8:59am

    NetChoice chimes in

    The French court ruling is terrible for anyone interested in protecting the rights of consumers and ensuring that ecommerce can continue to be a driver of innovation and economic growth. Fortunately, eBay is appealing it.

    With the ruling in the Tiffany v. eBay case in the Federal District Court in NY imminent, there is the risk of the same anti-competitive behavior coming to our shores.

    I work with NetChoice, the DC-based advocacy organization that fights for choice, competition, and innovation on the Net. Their take on the ruling and its implications for ecommerce are here: http://blog.netchoice.org/2008/07/french-court-er.html

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Not Me, Jul 3rd, 2008 @ 10:04am

    Re: eBay

    "Me" - Seriously? You want to compare the bank being responsible for someone stealing your money out of a bank with ebay being fined for your ability to re-sell your legally purchased, authentic merchandise. Meaning that if you got LV as a gift and sold it on a yardsale, they (LV) can sue.
    This is absurd.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Jeremy in Denver, Jul 3rd, 2008 @ 10:16am

    re: A French Court Doesn't Know A Platform From A User

    It may have something to do with eBay's response when such things are reported. I have seen and reported week-long postings of pirate DVDs. The postings are rarely taken down. I started looking for them after I ordered a box set of Scrubs Season 1 and got copied DVD-Rs (FYI-if they say they don't include the original box, don't buy it). Last I checked, that seller I reported was still active and selling many, many TV series on DVD. When you knowingly provide a platform for the exchange in illegal goods, make little to no effort to make sure sales are legal, often don't take action when they are founf and reported, AND make money off the deal yourself...I can see how a court might slap the company with a penalty.

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    Casablanca, Jul 3rd, 2008 @ 10:30am

    General ebay discussion

    Several points to make.
    1. I agree with those who say that e-bay should just not do business in France; France gets to make/enforce the laws that they want to, and it isn't our's to determine if that is right - French citizens need to make that determination. They are more a socialist than a capitalist environment, and that requires different laws.

    2. In the US, once the original manufacturer has sold a product, they do not have any claim to any resale. Don't know about other countries, but that makes it clear that products can be resold by their owners. Period.

    3. Classified ads in newspapers have done this for years; e-bay and cheap (well not so cheap shipping now with fueld prices) shipping work together to provide a broader reach for the products. If you want to see a product first, you do not have to buy from e-bay - go to the local consignment shop, antique store, flea market or garage sale. You have a choice.

    4. All of the above provide a source of goods for people who want to "get a bargain". Getting a bargain doesn't usually entail getting a very expensive brand name item in demand for a low demand price. Buyer beware, it simply makes sense.

    5. 10 years ago or so I was introduced to a handbag purveyor in HongKong who had a "back door" - I bought, for $85 a knockoff Chanel handbag - this guy has since been shut down, I think, but my understanding was that he was the manufacturer's rep - the manufacturer took left over materials and made knockoffs - so my bag had one year's material, another year's style, another year's chain, etc - a Chanel knowledgeable person pointed out the differences to me. All I know is that I could never pay $1500 and up for a handbag, and so I was thrilled to have my knockoff - even if it didn't "fool" anyone. Two key things to consider here - Chanel should institute controls on their materials, and monitor destruction of second quality or unused materials (probably not worth the cost) - and second, Chanel did not lose a customer, or money, but gained "advertising" - if I can ever afford a Chanel bag, a real Chanel bag, I would buy one!!!

    6. Given the ever growing concerns about data privacy and security around credit cards, and the very expensive laws and regulations relating to credit card processors and retailers, offering PayPal only seems to be to be a good business decision. It is more secure, because it limits the transmission of your personal data, and there are fewer places to search if your data is compromised. But I can understand if no other choice feels like pressure.

    7. I never understand the rationale of people who write in to be vulgar or nasty about others - whether toward individuals or countries. France has brought a lot of positive beautiful things to the world - take what you need and leave the rest.

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    ROTTENCORPSE, Jul 3rd, 2008 @ 11:16am

    Ah the French...you gotta love em

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    maroongrad, Jul 3rd, 2008 @ 1:55pm

    Ebay was really stupid.

    Ebay makes it very, very hard to report cheats and fraud. See your stolen items on it? See something that's a fraud? You get to spend a long time and jump through a lot of hoops to report it, and often nothing is done.

    Had Ebay reacted QUICKLY, this would not have happened. Right now, at least one store is selling "Genuine Coach Purses" with a wide range of styles...for about $15.

    Clearly a fraud. And yet, Ebay does not respond to remove such items in a timely manner, at all, and makes it very hard to even REPORT the fraud.

    Sorry, but Ebay deserves every bit of a financial slap it gets from this. Fraud report needs to be easier, false fraud reporting should have resulted in a fine, and they could have avoided this.

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    Ed2, Jul 3rd, 2008 @ 2:19pm

    poor eBay

    Could happen to a nicer company either!

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    Bob, Jul 3rd, 2008 @ 3:18pm

    Re: Update

    Well I just wonder if the French also sue newspapers when people sell used stuff in the classifieds...

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    John B, Jul 3rd, 2008 @ 3:24pm

    Stupid Ruling

    While I personally agree that the ruling is stupid and the motives may reflect the French way of thinking, this kind of rational is not exactly precedent setting. Ever heard of P2P
    sites being sued for enabling illegal file sharing ? How about gun manufacturers being sued for enabling murderers.
    What country has hosted these nefarious lawsuits ? While I am
    no great fan of the French, one has to look no further than ones own back yard to see that big pockets make the best targets. Thats international thinking !

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    Donna, Jul 3rd, 2008 @ 5:30pm

    eBay accountability

    eBay has long flagrantly ignored CPA safety recalls, copyright law, etc. It's about time someone had the cahones to stringently enforce the rules every other entity is legally required to abided by.

     

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  69.  
    icon
    Nick (profile), Jul 4th, 2008 @ 9:34am

    Re: eBay accountability

    Who are the other entities that are required to abide by the law? Gun makers? Paper and pen makers (when I write something that has copyright)? It seem the logic is that if it seems that software can stop these types of things, that companies like eBay should build it. But that that would keep legitimate auctions from taking place hassle free. Policing every action does not scale. Allowing auctions like these to take place the cost of being allowed to play in the free market.

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    stephanie, Jul 14th, 2008 @ 12:19pm

    Re: european ebay lvmh ruling correct, ebay looks the other way

    hi. your exactly right in a nut shell.reason being.i bought a louis vuitton watch of a new ebayseller .thinking it was authentic .seller was selling other designer items .paid for the watch .then seller is no longer a registered user .now basically ebay dont want to know .paypal want me to provide confirmation it his fake.and yet they let a new seller list .and yet me i have account restrictions .reason they say his to protect the ebay community.so what happened to the first time seller restrictions .i dont sell counterfeit .not worth the hassle.151 positive feedback all on perfume.

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    Sean, Jul 15th, 2008 @ 3:11am

    Re: Re: Doing business in Europe

    Ooops, didn't get back to check on this thread and so I didn't see Mike's response. A bit late now but I'll respond, even though no-one's ever gonna see it, because I'd hate to be seen as cowardly :)

    Today’s ruling is about an attempt by LVMH to protect uncompetitive commercial practices at the expense of consumer choice and the livelihood of law-abiding sellers that eBay empowers everyday

    It's not accurate at all - it's the French state protecting uncompetitive practises by their native industries. By blaming LVMH directly, this spokesperson is spinning madly.

    I guess the thrust of my post was that if one's doing business in France (or anywhere else), one needs to be very aware of the local laws and customs, daft or otherwise.

    An ex-employer of mine does business in France in a very closed business sector (closed to non-French companies, that is). In the first year, they got stung legally, had a rethink, re-did their business plan for France, and when I left had garnered a significant portion of their market and were making a fortune there.

     

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  72.  
    identicon
    Poster R Me, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re: Re:French court rulling @Ebay

    "We will stop fining Microsoft when they stop robbing us.
    However, if you can supply a sensible reason why MS goods cost double over here than they do in the USA I will recant."

    Gee if that's all you have to complain about, count your blessings. Yea, software may be more, but try paying for health care & medicine here! You only have to buy a program once. Imagine buying it once a month?

    The eBay thing by the French is just dumb. eBay does need to show some responsibility for knock offs. How they do that, I don't know. I do know that no matter what avenue they take, there will always be someone else or a court that rules that they should have done it differently or in a different way. Gee, that happens here in the US all the time. Businesses get suited because the 6ft fence they put up wasn't 7ft.

    People get what they deserve. If you are buying a LV product off of eBay, YOU NEED TO ASSUME ITS COUNTERFEIT. Gee, a $1000 purse for only $29.95

    Regardless of the country, all the courts are making decisions that are pointing the fingers elsewhere. Even if a corporation does take measures, there is always someone there arguing that they should have done something different. So instead of just issuing fines, how about actually doing something productive and ACTUALLY SOLVING THE PROBLEM??? I know this may be a novel idea, but why not develop a standard based on industry for selling online? LV doesn't need to waste time nor effort chasing down sellers, buyers who are too stupid to realize that the $29.99 handbag is actually not genuine will be protected, and companies like eBay will have a standard that THEY NEED to follow to avoid lawsuits.

    Like the South Park episode, we are ALL quickly getting to the point where EVERYONE is suing EVERYONE.

    Back to my hole I go..............

     

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  73.  
    identicon
    Rick, Nov 18th, 2008 @ 2:46am

    Actually, they did know

    eBay was warned by dozens of sellers that the items were fake.

    eBay will not ban fake items unless sued. Take SanDisk memory cards for example. They sell on eBay for about 20% less than local stores - that's about a $10 savings.

    The problem is - 90% of all SanDisk cards are fake. I found out after ordering one - it was a poorly made knock-off, with no memory - just an empty shell!

    I complained to eBay. I found out after emailing other buyers that they had already complained to eBay - some several weeks later. eBay has over 100 counterfeit complaints against one seller - but they will not ban him. They want a court order!!!

    So, yes, eBay should be sued and sued often. They should be liable for any losses after they were informed that the seller was sending fakes. SanDisk verified it was a fake - they contacted eBay. Then sent me proof - eBay refused to accept it from me.

    Why won't they close these crooks down? Simple. eBay makes arond $30million a year on these counterfeit sales.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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