Thursday, June 9, 2011

What You See May Not Be What You Get, Even With a COA

by carol

Go to eBay and you will find a slew of signed photos of actor Alex O’Loughlin from Hawaii Five-0 ranging from $0.99 to more than $100 in price.  

Yes-sir-ee-Bob, you can buy a genuine, swear-on-my-meercat’s grave, certified autographed picture of the appealing Mr. AOL himself. Or at least that’s what some sellers claim.

The Entertainment Autographs section of eBay has over 25,000 autographs for sale on any given day from movie stars, rock stars and teen idols of various accomplishments. But shop carefully. Collecting celebrity autographs is now part of a huge, global, multi-billion dollar business. Fraud in the celebrity autograph industry is widespread and just as you have people who forge copies of famous paintings or documents, you also get those who fake autographs in order to make a profit. 

eBay has developed programs for celebrities to protect individual copyrights and to remove any fake autographs for sale. eBay created the Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) Program to protect Intellectual Property. VeRO is a tool used by a growing number of celebrities and their representatives to provide authentication and to remove fraudulent autographs, bootleg items (illegal recordings), etc. How do you find an actor’s eBay VeRO representative? If the celebrity has an official site, contact the webmaster. Some celebrities sell autographs on eBay to raise money for their charities and concerns. Other celebrities will have their VeRO reps playing cybercop on eBay, making sure that any item that uses their name is legit.

Does that mean the fan selling her signed photo of Alex on eBay is a fraud? No, of course not. Although it does beg the question WHY would she give up Alex’s picture… 

Autopen machine
If the authenticity of the celebrity’s autograph is really important to you, research the seller carefully. There are a few links to articles at the end of this blog to help you. Searching “celebrity autograph fraud” on the internet will produce hundreds of articles to read.

So why does that hurried ink scribble make a photo so valuable? To a fan, it’s a captured moment in time - a small, tangible piece of that celebrity’s personal attention. For many fans, an autograph is worth the pursuit - and it should also be worth buying carefully.

1 comment:

  1. Am I the only one who would want to get the autograph myself?
    If I wasn't there to see him sign it, it's not my memory and just a name on a piece of paper.