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 Your Listing - Copyrights and TMs

Copyrights, Trademarks & Your Listing

How do you know if you're infringing someone's copyright, trademark or other rights when you create your listings? To find out, look at the guidelines listed below. This list will help you determine if your item is infringing (violating copyright law) or prohibited (not allowed on Half.com). Not allowing these items on the site protects you from liability and helps make Half.com a safe place for buying and selling. Selling or buying any of these items could put you at risk for civil or criminal liability. Your listing could be ended and you may be suspended from Half.com.

Half.com Guideline:

Contrary to popular belief, the fact that material is posted on the world wide web does not mean it is in the "public domain" or otherwise free to be taken, copied or used by others. Creators of web content probably have copyright, trademark and other rights in the material they create. Copying, modifying and possibly linking to content created by others could expose you to legal liability.

Half.com Guideline:

No Copying Allowed! When you prepare your listings you generally should use only material (text, photographs, etc.) and trademarks/names that you created or own yourself or licensed from the owners.

Half.com Guideline:

No Unauthorized Linking to Photos! You cannot link to a picture on Half.com.

What is a copyright?

A copyright is the protection given in the United States to certain original works of authorship, including text, pictures, music, etc. The owner of a copyright holds the exclusive right to duplicate, distribute and create derivative works from his work. Listings often contain text, photographs and the names/trademarks of companies. The text and photographs which you create and use in listings may be protected by copyright laws.

If you copy someone else's listing text or original photograph, or copy text or photographs from any other place (depending upon how much is copied), you may be infringing someone's copyright. They may be able to request the ending of your listing. Here are some examples of potentially infringing listings:

  • You scan a photograph of Elvis Presley (without permission) to use in a listing in which you are selling an authentic autograph of Elvis Presley

  • You copy someone else's text and (without permission) paste it into your own listing to sell the same item (Making slight modifications to the text may not relieve you of liability if it is substantially similar to the original text.)

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a name or logo used by a company (or person) to identify its goods or services.

Half.com Guideline:

No Confusing Listings! If you are selling a brand name product, you can probably show a picture of the product and refer to the company by name, but you cannot do so in such a way that it suggests that your listing is approved, sponsored or endorsed by the manufacturer. Also, you must be careful not to sell products which bear the brand name of a company which did not make the product.

Here are some examples of potentially infringing listings:

  • You prepare a listing to sell non-branded sunglasses, but you use the Rayban(r) trademark in your listing

  • You are selling a non-Disney(r) stuffed animal, but use a picture of Mickey Mouse(r) in your listing

What About the Berne Convention?

Some users have written to us asking whether the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (sometimes mistakenly referred to as the "Berne Act") allows them to list an otherwise infringing item. The short answer is "no." The Berne Convention is an international treaty that the United States agreed to in 1989. By signing the Berne Convention, the U.S. committed to making certain changes to its copyright law. In fact, even before signing the Berne Convention, the U.S. had made all the necessary changes to its law. The Berne Convention itself is not U.S. law and does not excuse activity which otherwise would violate U.S. copyright law.

For more information about copyrights and trademarks

U.S. Copyright Office
U.S. Trademark Office
U.S. Law on Copyrights
Findlaw - General Law
International Trademark Association - FAQs on Trademarks
Avoiding Trademark, Patent and Copyright Problems (Franklin Pierce Law Center)
FACE (Friends of Copyright Education)