How to deal with bootleggers on Ebay?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by TerryPM, Aug 22, 2004.

  1. TerryPM

    TerryPM Agent

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    I recently bought a used Superbit DVD on ebay from a US seller. When it arrived, it had no outer cover or insert, the disk cover looked like it had been printed on a cheap ink jet printer and the disk artwork instead of being the red Superbit was poorly copied artwork from the non-Superbit disk. What concerns me is that the seller has 100% positive feedback and hundreds of satisfied customers. The seller is willing to refund my money when I return the disk, but I'm wondering what else to do. I am strongly opposed to bootlegging, as it is people like this that force the studios to prevent consumers from making lawful copied for personal use, but it seems people are afraid of leaving negative feedback on ebay.
     
  2. Ryan Peddle

    Ryan Peddle Second Unit

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    I do a lot of ebay dvd shopping myself and have found a number of people that are selling obvious bootlegs. To me, the only appropriate thing to do is to coping the item number and the name of the seller down and email the studio that produces it. If they are not willing to do anything, even though they are the ones who complain at every theater, then I could care less.
     
  3. JustinCleveland

    JustinCleveland Cinematographer

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    Shoot 'em.
     
  4. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    Notify the copyright holders. Only THEY can register a complaint with eBay to get the item pulled. Sadly, it almost never happens, but occasionally...

    I'm a member of a recording group's online fan site - not official but close enough. When I noticed an obvious bootleg being sold on eBay, I tried registering a complaint with eBay, but since I was not the copyright holder, they would do nothing. I happened to notice that the picture used on the cover was shot by someone who still held the copyright for the photo. I notified him - he notified eBay, and the item was pulled. I've never seen it appear again, and I suspect after hearing from this photographer's lawyers, he might have been scared straight.

    So, if you can't get the studios to notice, look for other ways - music copyrights, photo copyrights, etc. Somebody's got to care...

    Harry
     
  5. Shawn_Sek

    Shawn_Sek Stunt Coordinator

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    get your refund first then leave a NEGATIVE and make sure you state that it is a BOOTLEG and that you contacted the rights holder, maybe that will scare him a little. if he leaves you a negative too, just follow-up and state that its a revenge negative because you called him out for selling bootlegs. if you have otherwise good feedback, it will speak for itself.

    its amazing the number of bootleg dealers that have feedback that says the DVD was a copy but they still leave a positive anyway. its crazy.
     
  6. John Alderson

    John Alderson Supporting Actor

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    It's not just eBay--try buying something used from amazon or Half.com. My personal gripe has been Deep Space Nine on DVD. I even saw one positive feedback that said "only a few episodes have any lip sync problems, otherwise it's great!" I mean, where are these people's standards? Moral or otherwise?
     
  7. WillardK

    WillardK Second Unit

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    It probably varies by the type of goods you're trading for, but it's been my impression that eBay has gotten progressively worse over the years. I used to do a lot of buying and selling with other collectors (non-dvd). Early on I had mostly good experiences.

    I just closed a bad deal (damaged item returned for a promised refund... we'll see). This was a first purchase after a year-long hiatus brought on by a nightmare deal which involved bootleg dvd's, a successful chargeback and an inappropriately threatening email from eBay's PayPal (which I refuse to use again under any circumstance). This occured some time after another hiatus brought on by a deal with a VHS bootlegger (another successful chargeback) who had hundreds of positive feedbacks. I doubt I'll ever use eBay again even to sell. The nightmare dvd dealer, btw, has changed his name on eBay more than once and has thousands of positive feedbacks.

    If you must purchase there, use credit and watch what you sign at PayPal (I don't remember how many agreement alterations occured during my days with them... each one refused, allowing the account to expire.)

    There are certainly honest eBay dealers, but unless you know the vendor personally it's a risky business even if you're a careful skeptic. The best way to fight it at eBay is not to support it. Don't shop where it's not safe. Get your money back if you can and don't worry about it beyond that.

    PayPal = poo
     
  8. RyanAn

    RyanAn Screenwriter

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    It depends, in the item description, did the seller acknowledge that it was a bootleg and not an official copy? The first thing I look for on an auction from eBay is what region it is. It has to be either America or Canada or else I exit that page quick.

    Ryan
     
  9. Mark_TS

    Mark_TS Screenwriter

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    My experience is that eBay doesnt give a flying fuck-they make you follow an obstacle course to contact them-as if they dont really want to be bothered-then they just drag their feet-they are less than useless when you get screwed buying from them. If you lose $100 or less-you can usually kiss it goodbye, unless you are very persistant and patient.
     
  10. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    I lost $250 to a guy on PayPal once. They never even responded to the complaint I fiiled other than an automated notice they had received it.
     
  11. Jeff

    Jeff Supporting Actor

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    If you get your money back, I wouldn't leave negative feedback. Some sellers might not know they auctioned a bootleg DVD. I'd leave neutral or even positive and put that you got a bootleg DVD but were refunded.
     
  12. Arnie G

    Arnie G Supporting Actor

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    Leave a negative feedback. They know what they are selling.[​IMG]
     
  13. Charlie O.

    Charlie O. Supporting Actor

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    When we say bootlegs, are we talking about a DVD+/-R or one of those profession pressed DVD bootlegs from Asia?
     
  14. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

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    Probably both.

    The Asian bootleggers are now using DVD-R/+Rs to augment their professionally pressed dual-layer DVDs, probably since the price war on the street now has these things going for as low as $4 Canadian (at least up here) and they're not making the profit-per-disc they once were. That simply now goes to the ebay sellers and their kind, who seem to stock up in Chinatown (take your pick) and then jack up the prices to turn a tidy profit.

    I've heard there was a recent crackdown in Toronto after fully-authored DVD copies of SHREK 2 turned up somewhere, but this kind of thing has happened in the past and the sum result was the temporary crippling of just one leg of the spider that is the bootlegging industry. It always grows back, and the internet, ebay in particular, is the perfect venue for these folks to survive. When the boots are often as good as the real thing, it's easy for everyone involved - sellers and buyers - to play ignorant.
     
  15. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    Before you bid on any DVD on Ebay, do your research. Is the title widely available? Then you are probably safe. Who is going to go to the trouble of bootlegging something that you can easily find in any store? It isn't worth it.

    If it is a rare title, out of print, check out the item description carefully. Email the seller before you bid asking them directly "I wanted to make sure this is not a bootleg". If they don't respond, assume it is a bootleg.

    I've bought many items on Ebay, Half, and Amazon and have never had a problem. If you know what to look for, it is very easy to spot a bootleg auction from a regular one.
     
  16. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    It doesn't matter if the item is widely available or not, there is a market for bootlegs for just about anything as long as the price is cheap. Just try finding legitimate anime on ebay - 95% (or more) is bootlegs, but more obvious since the pricing is a fraction of the retail price for the real product.

    I would wait until your feedback leaving period is almost up, then file a negative stating the seller is dealing in bootlegs. Just be sure to comment on your own feedback if you get retaliatory feedback in return.
     
  17. Charlie O.

    Charlie O. Supporting Actor

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    I just ask because if it is a pressed disc the seller might not even know its a bootleg. I once bought a DVD and had know idea it was a fake until I saw a topic on the subject here.
     
  18. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

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    It's more than worth it to the bootleggers, from the people doing the replicating right through to the folks selling the stuff at street level. Wide availability is probably a boon to the bootleggers, since they know full well they'll sell a tonne of copies of a title with high-visibility when the price is around five or six dollars for a fully-featured, professionally authored and repilcated disc with case insert and fully printed slipcover. And few are the customers who DON'T know what they're buying in the stores. Online, that figure rises substantially because you can't actually hold the stuff in your hand and have to go on trust.
     
  19. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

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    I know what you're saying. I just picked up a copy of Warner's BLOW-UP SE at a used place in Toronto, a place not generally known to sell boots. The outer sleeve had no Chinese lettering on it, which is usually the giveaway, and the clerk only showed me the back of the disc for my approval. Once I got home, three hours away, I noticed the small Chinese text on the disc, but the disc itself was otherwise undetectable (at least to the untrained eye) as a fake. Dual layered gold disc (not some cheap DVD-R) and with all the features to be found on the real deal, with the telling addition of two sets of Chinese subs. The sad thing is, I paid $17.99 plus tax for it, which is a lot more than either the original purchaser OR the store paid for it, that's for sure. And I though I was quite good at telling the difference....
     
  20. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    I've bught bootleg version of Princess Mononoke, Bravehaeart and Saving Private Ryan. so I don't think this is the case.
     

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