Help: seller reselling copyrighted material


#1

There is a seller on fiverr who sells articles. I worked as a writer for a company which provides articles for clients.

I recently discovered someone was buying articles from me through COMPANY A for $2 and reselling them on fiverr for $30. The seller claims in all his listings he personally writes all articles.



I sent the seller an anonymous message asking for a sample of “his work” and, as expected, he sends me “his work” which is an article I wrote for him a few hours prior.



I have checked with fiverr, and this violates their terms of service - if someone says they are completing their orders, they must complete them themselves - no outsourcing.



I did a little digging, and it turns out that COMPANY A, where the seller outsources his gigs, has a clause in their terms and conditions, which state that for every single article COMPANY A produces, COMPANY A retains ALL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS and only grants their buyers a license for personal use.



So, the situation is, we have a seller who is taking orders from fiverr, outsourcing them to COMPANY A, and delivering COMPANY A’s articles on fiverr as their own, despite the rights remaining with COMPANY A. In effect the seller is selling material which he doesn’t own the intellectual property rights to, right here on fiverr.



I have checked, rechecked the terms of use of COMPANY A and situation is as I have described. This is illegal.



So, my question is - what should I do?


#2

There are some things in your post that I don’t get and they hinge on the message you say you got from Customer Support. I wish I could see a screenshot of it to read the exact wording. Here is what I don’t get:



Outsourcing happens legitimately all over Fiverr. Sellers and buyers buy work and all rights from other sellers on or off Fiverr for $5 and then they resell the item for more on Fiverr or outside of Fiverr. I would be surprised to see CS say ALL outsourcing is against ToS. Did you find it in the ToS yourself?



What you describe, though, is not legitimate since they are selling something without resale rights. If you contacted CS as a representative of COMPANY A and offered proof of illegitimate reselling by a Fiverr seller that should have been the end if it. CS is generally quick to ban sellers who break the ToS of real 3rd party companies.


#3

bTo clarify the message - customer support’s advice was consistent with the terms of service. That, outsourcing is allowed, provided the buyer clearly understands they are purchasing fully or partially outsourced content. It is a violation of the TOS, if the seller is providing outsourced material as original user generated content without informing the buyer it has been created by someone else.



With reference to the second part of your message. What would be appropiate evidence to support my complaint? The seller is using a different username on fiverr to COMPANY A - however I can obtain a list of article titles the seller has ordered from COMPANY A, with corresponding dates. Fiverr would then need to match the dates and titles to the dates and titles the seller is delivering to clients - together with copies of the terms of service of COMPANY A?



**Mods - if this is in the wrong section, please move. Don’t lock.


#4

This is like anywhere else in the world of business or on the internet, if someone is infringing on your intellectual property rights, you get a lawyer and you sue them. First the lawyer may send a cease and desist letter and then you do a formal law suit. I’m not sure how a lawyer would handle it going through Fiverr, so you would probably need a lawyer to get any records released to you from Fiverr to begin with.