THIS legal threat, I'm less worried about

To be perfectly honest, I don't really care very much if someone rips off the pretty pictures I take of products and uses them for their eBay listings.

If you ask me for permission to use my pictures for commercial purposes, I'll cheerfully license them to you for a small fee.

But most people don't ask, of course. They just do a Google Images search and take whatever they want.

That doesn't actively take money out of my pocket. It just deprives me of royalties from someone who clearly doesn't want to pay royalties anyway. Which is why I don't very much care.

(Cue ISO Standard Piracy Argument in 3, 2, 1...)

Anyway, a little while ago, I reviewed a pen-shaped close-focus webcam thing called the ETime Home Endoscope. It's a neat gadget.

There aren't many pictures of the ETime Endoscope online, so if you image-search for it, you'll get a bunch of my pics on the first page of results.

This, and the absence of any decent handout pictures from the people who make the camera, has made my pictures pretty much the only option for someone who wants to sell ETime endoscopes on eBay or wherever but (a) can't be bothered taking their own pictures and (b) doesn't want to pay for someone else's pictures.

Since I'm now signed up with eBay's Verified Rights Owner ("VeRO") program, though, all I have to do to get eBay to delete any listings that copy my stuff is send them an e-mail. A couple of days later, the offending listings will be kaput.

So every now and then, when a reader points out a ripped-off listing to me or when I find one myself, I do that.

I did that with one seller of the Endoscope a while ago. Their listings disappeared, and they didn't post any more that I've noticed. Apparently taking pictures of the stuff they sell cuts into their profit margins too much to make it worthwhile, or something.

The other day, I found that another eBay seller, "endoscopes.endoscopy", was doing the same thing. They appear to be under the impression that putting their own advertising text on top of my picture, and/or sticking three of my pictures together with some others from the ETime site, is enough to make the pictures theirs.

Even as I was typing this, the above PhotoBucket-hosted image mysteriously disappeared. Clearly the work of someone who's quite sure that everything they're doing is perfectly above board!

I saved it, though. Here's the top portion of their composite image, which contains no pictorial content besides my images and ones from the ETime site.

Their PhotoBucket page at the moment still contains several versions of the composite image. From the text on the variants, it would seem they're also listed on eBay as "usb.etime.pencams". And here, here, here and here are their direct copies of my images, except with the aspect ratio screwed up and text slapped on top.

Oh, and apparently they don't like people copying images from their own site about hockey! It would appear that people "who steal all our photos and ideas" are "punk asswipes"!

Couldn't have put it better myself, guys!

I'm speculating, above, about how these people's reasoning works, because it's kind of hard to figure it out from this:

Date: Sat, 16 Feb 2008 15:36:42 -0500
From: "" <>
Subject: removing our ebay listings

Dear Dan,

1) We don't appreciate you removing our ebay listings of e-time pencams off ebay!

2) We are an authorized ebay distributors of etime ehe pencams.

3) We didn't use any wording or images off your website!

4) If you have our listings removed again, We are hiring an attorney in Australia to take you into court. So please be prepared!


After sending me this, they listed another ten or so auctions with the same ripped-off pictures in them.

I told them the exact pictures they had copied, and that I took those pictures in my house, with my camera, for my review of the product. And I filed another VeRO complaint, and got all of the new listings pulled too.

Their cogent response:

Date: Sun, 17 Feb 2008 13:47:21 -0500
From: "Steven Jordan" <>
To: Dan <>
Subject: Re: removing our ebay listings

see you in court asshole

(...followed by the quoted text of my e-mail, which it seems did not make much of an impression upon them.)

I'm sure these guys are hopping on a plane from Florida right now. I'd better make some space on my calendar.

And yes, I'm aware that this could have been much, much funnier.

I must say, I'm quite upset.

But I have to work with what I can get.

28 Responses to “THIS legal threat, I'm less worried about”

  1. Joe Bloggs Says:

    LOL! Seriously? Tell me you made up that last letter!

  2. lummox Says:

    Seriously now. Why would you do that to an honest business man? Have you got no shame?!

  3. Bern Says:

    Ha! I noticed that hit #3 on that image search, this ZDNet blog also appears to use one of your images, with no attribution...

  4. Daniel Rutter Says:

    Just sent the guy a sniffy letter :-).

    EDIT: He replied promptly, and has promised to fix it.

  5. Daniel Rutter Says:

    The legal geniuses have now favoured me with the following:

    Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2008 09:03:29 -0500
    To: Dan <>
    Subject: Re: removing our ebay listings

    It doesn't matter anyway asswipe

    These pieces of junk break down all the time.

    Your doing me a favor.

    You deal with all the idiots on ebay wanting their money back!

    PS: Why don't you throw a pencam on the 'Barby then shove it up your ass!

    I hope anybody considering purchasing from "endoscopes.endoscopy" or "usb.etime.pencams" bears this sterling commitment to customer service in mind.

    (The ETime camera I've got here still works just fine, by the way.)

  6. Daniel Rutter Says:

    I just got a very polite e-mail from the Director of Able Eye Device Co, Ltd. He apologised for taking my pictures without asking and using them on his own site, from which this foul-mouthed eBay "distributor" (who, I would hazard a guess, seems unlikely to be engaging in any further business with Able Eye Device) downloaded them.

    (So that explains why the eBay dude didn't think he'd stolen the pictures - but it doesn't explain why he didn't even tell me that he thought they were Able Eye Device handouts, but instead went straight to impotent spluttering about nonexistent international lawyers.)

    Since the nice fellow from Able has demonstrated the ability to e-mail me without at any point using the word "ass", I am pleased to grant him license to use my pics, though not to pass them on to other people for free.

    In return, he says he'll send me the next model of Endoscope to play with, when it's finished.

    Life is so much easier for those of us who are not morons.

  7. DansData asshole Says:

    Get a Life Asshole!

  8. DansData asshole Says:

    Get a Life Asshole!

  9. Daniel Rutter Says:

    And now he's here! Hurrah!

    Isn't it just a shining beacon of literary genius every time this guy puts hands to keyboard?

  10. DansData asshole Says:


  11. DansData asshole Says:


  12. Daniel Rutter Says:

    But then I wouldn't have been treated to your deathless prose!

    And anyway, you ran a bunch more listings even after the problem had been very clearly explained to you.

    Let's say I'd made the illogical - but, as it turns out, correct - assumption that you hadn't just ripped my pics off from Google Images like so many other people do, and so e-mailed you about it before filing a VeRO complaint. I'll bet you a dollar that you would have just told me to go and interfere with a sheep. That seems to be your usual approach to things.

    (And why, even if I intuited by mental telepathy that you were not to blame, should I have bothered telling you anyway? The pics were still ripped off, even if you didn't at first know it, so my complaints were still valid. Why are you abusing me, when it was Able Eye Device who put you in this situation? I'm sure they'd be overjoyed to receive mail from you with insults specifically tailored to the wildlife of China.)

    I fear this will not be the last obstacle an uncaring world places before your quest for success in business.

  13. zurkog Says:

    "Life is so much easier for those of us who are not morons."

    Life is occasionally easy for morons, too. Polite morons, though.

  14. DansData asshole Says:

    See the new Dansdata review blog!

  15. DansData asshole Says:

    See the new Dansdata review blog!

  16. Rave Says:

    Angry image thief has now replaced the photobucket images you link to with something a little less SFW. As it happens, I'm not at work myself, but I did once manage to open up in full view of the entire office when you linked to it from a letters page, so I'm a bit sensitive about these things.

  17. Jax184 Says:

    Mr. Asshole doesn't seem to realize that he's shooting himself in the foot while it's still in his mouth.

  18. huge Says:

    lolol. but yeah. nasty ass shots now on photobucket.

  19. Starfish Says:

    I love it when idiots come to fight unarmed in a battle of wits :)

  20. Nogami Says:

    Stuff like this just makes me cry...

    Why can't I have this kind of humour delivered to my own in-box? I mean, I normally just have to wade through boring drug spam. If I could get stuff like this doofus emailing me, I wouldn't have to read The Onion or Fark for my daily humor fix, it could come right to me without any work at all...

    Dan, you're the luckiest guy in the world (sob). Technology, free humor, and living in a country with great big beer cans...

  21. Daniel Rutter Says:

    One can, indeed, not buy entertainment like this.

    Regrettably, pictures of your own big hairy bottom - with just a tantalising hint of ballsack - are not something PhotoBucket encourages its users to upload, so I'm afraid "DansData asshole"'s replaced images aren't likely to be accessible for long. Some of them have already been pulled for ToS violations.

    But no matter - I have taken the liberty of preserving the image in question for posterity on my own server.

    Behold: Biting satire!

  22. jaws_au Says:

    Whilst I am genuinely impressed at the level of which this guy is going to in showing his dislike of Dan, it does occur to me - and maybe I've got it wrong - but won't the only people to ever find his blogsome blog be the people reading THIS one?

    Not that I'm complaining... watching people who are consumed with rage is MOST entertaining. If only they could put their energies to good use eh?

  23. Bruce Says:

    Come on, two seriously unstable people in close proximity. You know if they were chemicals you would mix them just to see the reaction.

    You have to find a way to get Stephen Moss to threaten to sue crazy guy. Then stand back & enjoy the fun

  24. kk20 Says:

    Hotlinkers are funnier. I'm a little less kind on hotlinkers. For those I use a combination of goatse and sometimes 2women1cup. Before you go googling for those pictures remember that you cannot UNSEE something. Even scouring pads wont do it. no siree.

  25. Daniel Rutter Says:

    We heard you the last time, man.

  26. Microfrost Says:

    Looks like Blogger wasn't too impressed with the content of a certain image thief's blog.

  27. Alex Whiteside Says:

    This guy sure is obsessed with showing us his ass. What would Freud think?

  28. antihero Says:

    Recently, I'm perpetually a couple of weeks behind in my feed reader. And honestly, comments like this make it worth it. Hilarious!

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