Couple Faces $700 Tab For Listing Copy Of Rosetta Stone They Didn't Know Was Pirated

A Washington state couple thought that when they found a copy of the pricey Rosetta Stone language-instruction software in their late nephew’s belongings, they could sell it on eBay to help pay for his headstone. Instead, they are now being told they owe hundreds of dollars to the software company because the copy they listed is allegedly pirated.

The couple tells The Columbian that they thought the Rosetta Stone software was legitimate when they compared it to other listings on eBay.

But it was only posted for a few days before eBay pulled the item, followed by a cease-and-desist letter.

The wife, who has sold items on eBay before and claims to have a positive feedback rating, tells the paper, “We’d have to be really dumb to intentionally sell stolen software so openly.” Especially when Rosetta Stone operates its own eBay storefront where it sells the software for hundreds of dollars a copy.

When the couple contacted Rosetta Stone, they were told they had two options: Pay $1,000 over 10 months or pay $800 now.

They tried to explain that they did not have that sort of money. Otherwise, they would not have been trying to sell the software for the headstone fund.

A second call got the amount reduced to either $700 spread over 10 months or a lump sum of $500.

The company tells The Columbian, “Rosetta Stone is in an ongoing dialogue with the parties involved in this particular case to potentially resolve the issue so that counterfeit software is no longer being offered by this individual to unsuspecting consumers.”

According to the story, Rosetta Stone decided the software was pirated solely based on pictures the couple uploaded to eBay. To us, that doesn’t exactly sound like a thorough investigation, as eBay sellers are sometimes not the best photographers and will post representative images taken from product websites.

So even if Rosetta Stone is correct and the software is pirated, it seems ethically dubious to us to demand hundreds of dollars from someone based on just a photo, especially when the item was never actually sold.

Felida couple face punishment for good intentions [Columbian.com]

Thanks to Stephanie for the tip!