Site Policies

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  • Music, Movies and images

    How do you know if you're violating copyright laws when you're selling or buying copies of music or movies? 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 not allowing these items on the site protects you from liability and helps make a safe place for trading. Selling or buying any of these items could put you at risk for civil or criminal liability. Your auction could be ended early and you may be suspended from

    Music on CD-R Policy on Music on CD-R

    As a matter of policy, music on CD-R (including CD-RW) may not be listed on, unless the seller is the copyright owner and states this in the item description. This policy also means that even lawful authorized music recordings on CD-R are not permitted on This following situation illustrates how this might arise.

    Example: A local band decides to release its latest album on CD-R. The band sells the album on CD-R on to Katie. This is permissible because the band is the copyright owner of the music. Katie now wants to resell the music on CD-R on The music on CD-R is "lawful music," but Katie (or anyone other than the band) is not permitted to list this item on

    Please note that items not specifically covered by the policy (for example, "bootleg" recordings of live performances, "promotional" copies on CD, not CD-R) may nonetheless be unauthorized and infringing and could expose sellers to liability or action by

    If you have questions about this policy, view the Music on CD-R FAQ page.

    35mm & 70mm Movie Prints - A 35mm or 70mm movie print are typically thereels of film used by movie theatres to show movies. Policy on Movie Prints

    As a matter of policy, 35mm and 70mm movie prints may not be listed on (not 35mm film people commonly use for their cameras), unless the seller is the copyright owner and states this in the item description. 35mm and 70mm motion picture shorts, such as cartoons, are also not permitted on 16mm prints, film trailers (that is, motion picture previews), and individual film frames are not specifically disallowed by this policy. However, the users should make sure that they are abiding by all other applicable laws relevant to these types of items.

    If you have questions about this policy, view the Movie Prints FAQ page.

    Duplicated Items

    Some people make their own copies of movies, TV shows and music on video, VCD (video compact disc), DVD (digital versatile disc), CD and audio tape. These are potentially infringing items because the production companies, artists or record companies (copyright owners) own the rights to the works and must authorize any copying or distribution of them. Unauthorized copies of such copyrighted works should not be listed on

    � You often can tell whether the making of an item is unauthorized by reading the description carefully. If the seller describes an item as being "pirate" or "bootleg" or a "home video," you should find out more about the item. When in doubt, ask the seller how they obtained their particular item and whether they obtained authority to make copies.

    � Generally, motion picture companies do not release their movies on video, VCD, or DVD until after the movie has been released theatrically in the United States. If you know that you are being offered a movie on video, VCD or DVD that is still in the theaters in the United States, there is a good chance the copy is unauthorized.

    � TV Shows. Copies of TV shows are often potentially infringing. It is generally permissible to copy a television show for your personal home use. However, if you tape an episode of "Ally McBeal," for example, and then sell or give away that video copy, you are infringing upon the producers' copyright. On the other hand, if the producers sold video copies of various episodes, and you bought such a tape and then later decided to sell it, you are probably not at risk for infringement.

    Promotional, Promo, Pre-release items

    Some companies distribute so called "promotional copies" of movies or musical works for publicity purposes before their release to the general public. Sale of such items often is expressly prohibited and doing so could put the seller at risk of infringement. Even if you sell the item after the release date of the movie or album, you may still be infringing upon the owner's copyright. Production companies, record companies and artists have different restrictions on the sale of promotional or pre-release items. Sometimes the restrictions are stated on the packaging for the product. If you have any concerns, contact the relevant company to see if your items can be sold or bought without risk of infringement.

    Recordings of Live Shows or Concerts

    Recording of live shows or concerts usually is an infringement of the music owners' copyright. Most shows and concert promoters prohibit anyone, except a few licensed parties, from recording or the shows. Such unauthorized recordings are often referred to as "bootlegs." Even those artists which allow or even encourage personal recording of lives shows often prohibit the sale of such recordings.


    Sale of fake autographs may expose you to liability for infringing the trademark or right of publicity of the person whose autograph it purports to be.

    XXX-rated, adult movies

    Adult movies should only be listed in the Adult area on Listing X-rated or adult movies in the regular Movies category is cause for warning and suspension from


    Generally, it is permissible to sell an original of a imagegraph. However, sale of unauthorized duplicates of imagegraphs is a copyright infringement. Also, unauthorized sale of imagegraphs taken at live music or stage performances may also be prohibited by the copyright owners.

    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

    Recording Industry Association of America

    Motion Picture Association of America

    CD-R Piracy/RIAA

    Digital Music/RIAA

    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)

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