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Magic Proxies on Ebay March 26, 2014

Posted by James in : all, ebay help , trackback

A lot of people were posting fake cards on ebay and they would say that they are altered art or proxy cards. The images used were clearly a copyright violation (as are many altered art cards). You aren’t supposed to make copies of the art and card images made by other people and sell them for a profit.

I don’t completely agree with how the USA treats intellectual property, but I think it should be obvious that blatantly violating copyrights for profit can make it more difficult for people to make an honest living. Without copyright laws anyone could print Magic cards and there would be little to no financial incentive for Wizards of the Coast to keep making a quality product. Information about the importance of copyright laws against counterfeiting Magic cards can be found here.

Ebay doesn’t want people selling counterfeit cards on ebay and I would think they don’t want people to sell products that violate copyright laws in general. Ebay has a good reason to take down items that blatantly violate copyright laws, such as many proxies people make.

Does that mean that all proxies of Magic cards should be taken down? No. Not all proxies violate intellectual property laws. For example, the Gaming Etc. Power 9 proxies. Tak a look at the Gaming Etc. proxy used for Mox Jet:

mox jet proxy

There’s nothing on the Mox Jet card that violates intellectual property laws. There’s no trademarked mana symbols and it’s not even called “Mox Jet” because the name of the card itself might be owned by Wizards of the Coast.
Troll & Toad’s product page for Jet can be found here.

Would Ebay stop you from trying to sell the Jet proxy on their website? I don’t know and I would hope not. However, someone must have flagged one of my items a little over a week ago and Ebay removed my listed. There were no intellectual property violations in my listing and I called to find out what happened. An Ebay representative told me that the word “proxy” itself was a cause to forbid my item from be listed.

I think Ebay went too far, but I don’t expect the company to have many experts in intellectual property laws. I do worry that Ebay might have got a knee jerk reaction to forbid all “proxies” from being in auctions for some reason — at least if someone complains. I have no idea why anyone would complain about the item that I listed.

You can check out my Ebay listings here.


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