Ebay- a breeding ground for IP infringement?
JK Rowling is suing eBay, the online auction hosting service, for breach of copyright because sellers have been using the Indian version if the website to sell unauthorised versions of Harry Potter. She has obtained an injunction that prohibits eBay from listing illegal copies if her work. This is binding until the court hearing resumes on 23 May 2007. Now eBay will potentiallyÂ have to scrupulously check what its sellers are putting onto its website.
Ebay is also currently facing challenges from the jewellery company Tiffany in New York and Christian Dior Couture in Paris. EBay denies it is responsible for what sellers put onto the website and argue that it would be practically impossible for them to check every item on its website for intellectual property infringements. RowlingÂs lawyers claim that if eBay profits from sales of illegal goods then it should be liable.
The outcome of the case will be interesting, and may serve to place huge a burden upon eBay in upholding intellectual property rights.