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[P]
VeRO: eBay's version of the DMCA

By n8f8 in Culture
Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 02:05:06 AM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)
Internet

My wife's friend Lisa (not her real name) just had her eBay account suspended for selling unopened Juice Plus+ vitamins on eBay. You know, like Flintstone's chewables, but more expensive and poorer tasting (snake oil). We're not talking about a prescription product of any kind. Vitamins and herbal supplements are considered food products in the USA. eBay, under their VeRO program, allowed Juice Plus to kill her auctions under the pretence of protecting their intellectual property rights and a few days later eBay suspended her account entirely.


A few days before Thanksgiving, Lisa decided to sell some stuff lying around the house to generate some Christmas cash. With five kids to care for, money is tight and a part-time job is out of the question. My wife has been selling items on eBay for about a year and raves to Lisa all the time about how fun it is. So my wife helped her set up a eBay account, a PayPal account and walked her through listing a few items. The next day Lisa decided to list some unused vitamins that had been gifts from another friend.

Here is a timeline of what happened:

  • Wednesday, Nov 24, 2004 5:50 PM letter received from another eBayer: Hi, Please remove your auction and call 1-800-347-6350
  • Thursday, Nov 25, 2004 2:55 PM VeRO NOTICE: eBay Listing(s) Removed - VeRO Program
  • Thursday, Nov 25, 2004: Sent notice to Juice Plus representative and eBay informing them that the auction in question is for unopened food products purchased at retail and being resold.
  • Thursday, Nov 25, 2004 6:36 PM: Received a reply from Juice Plus stating "will be out of office for the remainder of the week."
  • Thursday, Nov 25, 2004 7:42 PM: Response to your inquiry (KMM142698725V29183L0KM) eBay may remove listings when the item or listing potentially infringes a third party's copyright or trademark, is prohibited on eBay, or when the item or listing otherwise violates eBay's listing policies.
  • Wednesday, December 01, 2004 4:38 PM: NOTICE: eBay Auction(s) Cancelled - Seller Suspended

Since Wednesday Lisa has been contacted by her friend who purchased the Juice Plus vitamins for her. Apparently Juice Plus decided to look up her purchase order and contact her friend and inform her that Lisa is reselling the unused vitamins on eBay. Imagine taking back that toaster you got for Christmas and having Wal-Mart call your mom to tell her you were taking her present back. Embarrassing.

Yesterday she received another automated reply from eBay stating that her eBay account may be reinstated if she will kindly send in a copy of her driver's license and sign an affidavit admitting her guilt in violating Juice Plus's intellectual property rights. At this point Lisa is very upset. She feels like eBay held her down while Juice Plus molested her. And the really crappy part is that there isn't really anything she can do to clear her name. To some degree I feel guilty too since it was my wife and I who talked her into using the internet for more than email and walked her through using eBay. Now she doesn't even want to use the computer

Verified Rights Owner Program (VeRO) is eBay's version of the DMCA. Acrording to eBay, "eBay's VeRO Program was developed to facilitate cooperation between eBay and rights owners protecting their intellectual property rights." In other words, eBay just gave a select group of business owners carte blanche control over who can sell on eBay and what they can sell. This special class of eBayers can shoot first and ask questions later.

eBay is the market maker for the largest online auction business on the internet. They have gone through many growing pains over the years. They overcame the micro-payment problem by acquiring PayPal. eBay is in a precarious position in that they want to benefit from each eBay transaction but they don't want to be strapped with being responsible for the individual transactions and the resulting liability. eBay partially addressed this problem with their VeRO program but from near-firsthand experience I can tell you there aren't any checks and balances in the system. eBay grants carte blanche authority for supposed intellectual property rights owners to play whack-a-mole with auctions they don't like. Manufacturers don't like grey market retailers but they shouldn't be given that much unchecked control.

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Poll
Should eBay audit VeRO auction suspensions?
o Yes - With great power comes great responsability 65%
o No - eBay's just in it for the Benjamins 27%
o Maybe - Oooh, oooh just give peace a chance... 6%

Votes: 47
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o eBay
o Juice Plus+
o Flintstone 's chewables
o snake oil
o Vitamins and herbal supplements
o PayPal
o another eBayer
o Juice Plus
o Verified Rights Owner Program (VeRO)
o DMCA
o whack-a-mo le
o grey market retailers
o Also by n8f8


Display: Sort:
VeRO: eBay's version of the DMCA | 121 comments (114 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
I don't even get why they're even threatening.... (2.54 / 11) (#3)
by Pxtl on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 09:50:09 AM EST

IP?  She's reselling a material product.  How could this even be vaguely considered anything within a hundred yards of an IP violation?  I just don't get it.

Exactly (none / 1) (#4)
by n8f8 on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 09:51:52 AM EST

How does selling a food procut on ebay get banned as an IP violation?

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
Simple. (2.60 / 5) (#38)
by cburke on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 09:32:09 PM EST

Fuck Juice or whoever complained, Ebay would rather fuck a customer than argue with a company that might sue them.

[ Parent ]
Because. (2.77 / 9) (#14)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 12:39:44 PM EST

This is the next step in IP evolution. Only recently have things become so corrupt for it to even be thinkable, only recently has the modern world allowed this. Twenty years ago, she would have sold these at the flea market or a yard sale, and the company couldn't have known. Now they can, while simultaneously being distant enough to be unsuable.

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]
eventually... (2.66 / 6) (#43)
by the77x42 on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 03:03:25 AM EST

... everything will simply expire and nothing will be resellable. it's like the poisened wheat germ they use in some places in canada that can't be cloned. it's the best stuff, but every season you have to buy a whole new batch and can't make any yourself.

welcome to the capitalist agenda.


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]

Old news (none / 1) (#82)
by NoBeardPete on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 09:08:43 PM EST

Seeds that need to be repurchased every year are old news. Farmers have been using super-productive hybrids since the green revolution. Second generation seeds don't breed true, and don't produce crops nearly as good. So farmers purchase a new set of seeds every year from businesses that specialize in producing seeds for farmers.


Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!
[ Parent ]

and currently the price of tea in china is $1.50/L (none / 1) (#84)
by the77x42 on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 04:22:38 AM EST




"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]
Tea in China is priced by weight, not volume (nt) (none / 1) (#104)
by ksandstr on Tue Dec 07, 2004 at 09:12:18 AM EST



[ Parent ]
But isn't tea mostly water anyway? (none / 0) (#114)
by pin0cchio on Thu Dec 09, 2004 at 01:21:10 AM EST

Density of water is close to 1 kg per cubic decimeter.
lj65
[ Parent ]
It is an abuse... (2.00 / 2) (#61)
by zerth on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 09:57:19 AM EST

of the VeRO program, but it isn't very unique practice.  Audio equipment manufacturers often go after people on ebay who buy stuff wholesale and then sell them below the MAP(minimum advertised price).  They don't bug people who resell an unwanted product a relative gave them, like this case, because they have no reason to do so.

 I work for a DIY audio/wholesale place.  We often get calls from manufacturers wanting to track down where a certain person is getting their stuff and we have to refuse to give wholesale pricing to customers unless they agree to any MAP requirements the manufacturer has.  It smacks of pricefixing to me, but it isn't up to me:}

Although, it technically isn't pricefixing like the UNMRP(Unilateral Minimum Retail Pricing), since we can sell things for less, we just can't advertise it. Since putting the price on a publicly viewable website counts as advertising, it makes my job a pain sometimes.

Rusty isn't God here, he's the pope; our God is pedantry. -- Subtillus
[ Parent ]

Sound argument required (none / 0) (#117)
by Confusion on Fri Dec 17, 2004 at 10:49:15 AM EST

Still they need to supply a sound argument and this is nowhere near copyright infringement. At most it's a violation of laws on reselling goods, but that has nothing to do with copyright.
--
Any resemblance between the above and reality is purely coincidental.
[ Parent ]
Who the hell buys vitamins as gifts? (1.38 / 21) (#5)
by Dr Gonzo on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 10:00:26 AM EST

That's pretty weird if you ask me, and I doubt the veracity of your story, naturally, because you lack a single diary posting on this site. How can we be expected to trust you if you refuse to take part in this online community?

Furthermore, I recieve spam advertising these sorts of pills every day and, as an avid eBay user, I am constantly annoyed with the spam-style pitches for these products when I am looking for legitimate nutritional supplements. I say good riddance, this won't stop me from selling what I want to sell on eBay, because they're quality products from reputable manufacturers whose business model doesn't entail aggressive curtailing of the aftermarket.

"I felt the warmth spread across my lap as her bladder let loose." - MichaelCrawford

Ouch (2.80 / 5) (#6)
by n8f8 on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 10:17:14 AM EST

I don't really do a diary but you can check out:

My family history site: www.lowing.org

My surf club website: www.scsclub.com

Both sites are PHP apps written entirely by me from scratch.

You could also check out one of my free software projects like Jewel Date that does some PHP date conversions.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]

Vitamins as gifts (3.00 / 2) (#8)
by n8f8 on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 11:27:47 AM EST

Lisa was pregnant at the time and person who purchased the vitamins was a nurse (as is Lisa).

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
MLM Bullshit (2.60 / 5) (#33)
by duffbeer703 on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 06:36:55 PM EST

WTF does a diary have to do with a shady multi level marketing company abusing the policies of a shady online auction site?

If you're searching for "legitimate" nutritional substances, I'd recommended heading for the produce aisle of your local supermarket and buying a salad.

[ Parent ]

Obligatory ... (1.76 / 17) (#9)
by Mr.Surly on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 11:32:39 AM EST

... blah blah "ebay is a private company" blah blah "can do whatever they want" blah blah "use their competitor instead" blah blah.

Really, this boils down to you arguing that Ebay should run their company how you see fit, rather than how they see fit.

Why is it than when a company gets to be dominant in a market, every whiner wants the company to do it their way?  Reminds me of the assholes who tried to sue because Google changed how their page ranking worked, and they (the assholes) lost a lot of business because they weren't at the top of the list any more.

In the end: Business is competitive.  If the product is good, and you work hard to market it, you'll be successful.  Don't depend on a single supplier (Ebay in this case), and if a supplier fucks you, find another.  If they fuck everyone, evenually they'll lose business.  If they don't, well, you're one of the lucky ones.

Point (none / 1) (#10)
by n8f8 on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 11:40:47 AM EST

My problem isn't with eBay creating a program to protect intellectual property rights. My problem is with that program being abused and eBay not having any sort of process in place to fix the problem.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
That's it? (none / 1) (#25)
by Mr.Surly on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 02:32:51 PM EST

You perceive that Ebay has a problem with their program, and that it needs to be "fixed."

I'm sure that this program is working exactly as it should.  It's there to deflect the DMCA from itself to it's users.  It's just CYA for Ebay.

"Fixing" the "problem" would certainly benefit your friend, but there's little in it for Ebay, as they're not going to risk getting hit with DMCA suits themselves.

[ Parent ]

If they fuck everyone (3.00 / 3) (#11)
by n8f8 on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 11:43:29 AM EST

If they do fuck a bunch of people isn't it prudent for the fuckees to point out the fact to other people?

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
If you'd said 'isn't it prudent for the fucked' (none / 0) (#15)
by it certainly is on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 01:05:07 PM EST

that would have been much better.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Yes... (2.86 / 15) (#16)
by Polverone on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 01:05:11 PM EST

And part of the "eventually they'll lose business" formula is telling other people how they may fuck you. If eBay angers a certain group of users to please a certain group of companies, that's their right but it's also the right of the angry users to vent.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]
Exactly (3.00 / 3) (#28)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 04:22:50 PM EST

That's why I voted for it. It's good to tell people that they may want to be wary of doing business with a company. But is there any real problem here? There are no damages. Aside from someone who bought some vitamins over the web, her reputation is intact in the eyes of others. She doesn't have much of a claim against eBay. It's true that they closed down her account but would she really want to keep selling stuff there anyway if they'd just ended her listing?

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
What are the alternatives to ebay in the USA? (none / 0) (#115)
by Highlander on Thu Dec 09, 2004 at 08:42:16 AM EST

Just curious..

Moderation in moderation is a good thing.
[ Parent ]
"Obligatory..."? (1.30 / 10) (#18)
by Dr Gonzo on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 01:20:59 PM EST

Are you one another one of those mental midgets they seem to have so many of on Slashdot who is so socially stunted that they must resort to one of these irritating forms to express their thoughts? I have a fairly good idea that "Blah blah blah... *random thought*" is exactly what goes through your mind.

"I felt the warmth spread across my lap as her bladder let loose." - MichaelCrawford
[ Parent ]

Yes, you're right! (1.00 / 4) (#19)
by Mr.Surly on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 01:25:46 PM EST

Thanks for the troll.  You could at least pretend to address the issues I brought up, rather than attack me personally.  Really now, a clever troll can do better than that.

[ Parent ]
-1, now I'm sure of it (1.00 / 5) (#21)
by Dr Gonzo on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 01:30:43 PM EST

You definitely belong on Slashdot.

"I felt the warmth spread across my lap as her bladder let loose." - MichaelCrawford
[ Parent ]

Indeed. (1.00 / 4) (#23)
by Mr.Surly on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 02:28:10 PM EST

I should vote up some crappy article that essentially says "Some big company screwed my friend, and they should play nice because I said so.

If it had been fraud, or something else, it might be interesting.  As it is, they're bitching that a company is following their own published guidelines, albeit in a heavy-handed fashion.

From their sellers policy page:

Listings that violate eBay's policies may result in disciplinary action. This action may include a formal warning, the ending of all violating listings, or even temporary or indefinite suspension of a user's account. eBay will consider the circumstances of an alleged offense and the user's trading records before taking action.

[ Parent ]

You misunderstand me entirely. (1.50 / 4) (#26)
by Dr Gonzo on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 03:08:14 PM EST

I don't take issue with whatever you were crudely attempting to say, because I didn't even read your comment. My "dumbass" filter, honed by many years spent reading the mental diarrhea posted to Slashdot, tripped on the opening paragraph and forced me to skip it, because I frankly cannot be arsed to read such drivel.

"I felt the warmth spread across my lap as her bladder let loose." - MichaelCrawford
[ Parent ]

Yeesh (2.00 / 5) (#27)
by Mr.Surly on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 03:52:43 PM EST

[I] tripped on the opening paragraph and forced me to skip it, because I frankly cannot be arsed to read such drivel.

Yet it's no burden to ignore the majority of the comment, and make disparaging comments about something you haven't even read.  Your time management skills are to be envied.


[ Parent ]

heh. (none / 1) (#92)
by binford2k on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 02:40:50 PM EST

You can't be "arsed" to spend 5 seconds on "drivel" so instead you bitch about it for almost 2 hours. If that's not an insight into your own intelligence then I don't know what is.

[ Parent ]
PLEASE ZERO PARENT POST!!! (1.00 / 6) (#45)
by gdanjo on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 04:08:38 AM EST

He's a Self-hating Geek!!1!

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

It's fun to stay -1 (1.25 / 12) (#12)
by Hyler on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 11:43:42 AM EST

I thought you said YMCA.

That's not why her account was suspended (2.06 / 16) (#20)
by nkyad on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 01:30:00 PM EST

Her account was suspended because she failed to click on the provided link when she received the email "Your e-Bay account could be suspended".

I bet she uses some sort of enterprise-unfriendly communist mail client that filters  out these perfectly innocent emails along with the ones coming from CityBank, Microsoft and many other respectable business, all trying to confirm her data and prevent the theft of her passwords.

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


Wha? (none / 1) (#29)
by n8f8 on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 04:38:54 PM EST

I don't understand what you are saying. Lisa uses NetZero.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
I believe it was a joke (none / 0) (#57)
by Drog on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 09:39:02 AM EST

:)

Looking for political forums? Check out "The World Forum". News feed available here on K5.
[ Parent ]
MOstly misunderstood (none / 0) (#68)
by nkyad on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 12:16:57 PM EST

I guess the "Your e-Bay account could be suspended" spam is not so common...

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


[ Parent ]
Not to uncommon.. (none / 0) (#71)
by AMBorgeson on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 01:33:24 PM EST

My Mother has an Ebay account, I've helped her report a few of those "your account may be suspended" emails.

"It takes a Long time to count to '2' in Binary." ~Fourlegged

There are 4 boxes to use in the defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, ammo. Use in that order. Starting now.
[ Parent ]

I will +1FP any uncorroborated accusations. (2.91 / 12) (#30)
by waxmop on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 05:14:18 PM EST

I'll vote up any story that can be summarized "as my friend knows this other person, and they said..." We need to prove that we can spread rumors just like the mainstream media.

Anyway, eBay sucks. If you get ripped off, there's something like a 60 day lag before any human will even start to read your complaints.

Also, is JuicePlus one of those MLM network marketers like Amway? You gotta believe those fuckers will protect their brand. They're just a few notches below Scientologists.

Aside: "gotta and "fuckers" pass the spell checker, but not Scientologists. Weird.
--
Seriously, if the hate that spews forth from any average left OR right US forum would be given a mass, the entire internet would collapse in upon i

ns (2.50 / 4) (#31)
by Intelligentsia on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 05:41:47 PM EST

Sigged!

We need to prove that we can spread rumors just like the mainstream media.—waxmop


[ Parent ]
Not really news... (2.00 / 3) (#32)
by Danse on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 06:30:15 PM EST

Your friend is not the first to get fucked over by Ebay, not by a very very long shot. Nor does her case even approach the grievousness of many others. If she didn't do her homework regarding Ebay's past behavior, then she is simply learning the hard way. I always advise people to avoid Ebay due to their abitrary enforcement of their highly questionable policies, and their almost total lack of accountability. I see you feel much the same way now. That's great, but I think this should be a diary entry rather than an actual article because it is neither news nor particularly interesting.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
eBay (none / 1) (#34)
by n8f8 on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 07:11:41 PM EST

Well, my wife has been selling stuff on eBay for a year and we havn't heard of problems like this. More importantly, this is the only case I've heard of where VeRO is being used to block non-IP items -food. The only other instancers I've been able to find for VeRO are cases where someone was selling satellite hardware, decoder chips or counterfeit items. Juice Plus is abusing an IP protection program and eBay's lack of maintenance is allowing it to happen..

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
How about some links? (none / 0) (#35)
by Intelligentsia on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 07:23:55 PM EST

Being relatively ignorant of ebay (registered an account >3 years ago, haven't really done anything with it), a k5 article would be good for this sort of thing.

We need to prove that we can spread rumors just like the mainstream media.—waxmop


[ Parent ]
Five kids? (1.27 / 61) (#36)
by LilDebbie on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 07:36:57 PM EST

Unless she had them all at once she can go fuck herself. I've said it before and I'll keep saying it until I'm dead: CHILDREN ARE A FUCKING PRIVILEGE YOU COCKSUCKERS, NOT A RIGHT. IF YOU CAN'T PAY FOR YOUR FUCKING BRATS THEN YOU DESERVE TO HAVE THEM TAKEN AWAY BY THE STATE AND BE FORCIBLY CASTRATED FOR YOUR INABILITY TO WORK A CONDOM YOU STUPID FUCKING SLUT.

Ahh...that's better.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

OK, that was pretty fucking random. (none / 0) (#47)
by skyknight on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 06:09:48 AM EST

Also, I am the oldest of five children. By extension, I presume you take my mother to be a "stupid fucking slut" who suffers from an "inability to work a condom". I'm not sure that you would come to this conclusion were you to actually know my family.

∴ you suck



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
No, that's not quite what he said (none / 1) (#48)
by parliboy on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 06:38:04 AM EST

Only if your mom couldn't pay for you or your siblings.  You can make as many babies as you want, so long as you have the resources to cover them.

My grandmother had six kids, always kept them fed and clothed and in especially in school.  (Four have at least one degree; one has a PHd.)

Meanwhile my own folks couldn't even take care of themselves, let alone me.

----------
Eat at the Dissonance Diner.
[ Parent ]

I didn't see anywhere in the article... (none / 1) (#49)
by skyknight on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 06:46:26 AM EST

where it said that the person who decided to sell some stuff on eBay was collecting welfare checks. It just said that she wanted to pick up some extra money for the holiday season because money is tight when you have five children. I fail to see the crime there.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
And you can demonstrate, (none / 0) (#51)
by Sesquipundalian on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 07:52:23 AM EST

that she's a smart fucking slut and knows how to work a condom?

Fine, post a link to the pictures and we'll believe you. Oldest of five huh? Wow does she ever put out. She's probably like the major booty momma by now though.

Do you have any pictures of her from when she was younger? Did she go through her burly football player phase? Do you think the takes it up the ass? Is she what you call a MILF?


Did you know that gullible is not actually an english word?
[ Parent ]
ROR U R T3H CL3V3R!!!!11!!! (none / 0) (#53)
by skyknight on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 08:00:36 AM EST

And by clever, I mean puerile.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
You just don't want to admit that (1.33 / 3) (#55)
by Sesquipundalian on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 08:21:50 AM EST

your mom is a stupid fucking slut that can't work a condom. BawHAhahahahahahahah!


Did you know that gullible is not actually an english word?
[ Parent ]
You are just a trhurler wannabe, plain and simple. (none / 0) (#56)
by skyknight on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 08:26:13 AM EST

You can't live up to the legend.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
I'd like to thank the following people (1.33 / 3) (#78)
by LilDebbie on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 07:23:12 PM EST

for supporting free speech (in the order scoop showed them):

gdanjo
not gonna last long
Empedocles
ratings by veldmon
sticky
The Black Ness Monster
Tex Bigballs
PhillipW
the ghost of rmg
CwazyWabbit

I would also like to thank anyone who rates the parent comment >0 any time after this post.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]

I'd like to thank (none / 1) (#103)
by LilDebbie on Tue Dec 07, 2004 at 12:28:02 AM EST

RadiantMatrix for zeroing the parent comment but gving the top comment a one. Frankly, I see that as a) giving his opinion on the top post and b) giving his valid opinion about me bitching about voting on the top comment.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
An enthusiastic +1 FP! (2.25 / 8) (#37)
by gr3y on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 09:22:58 PM EST

If for no other reason than it rightly maligns eBay, an organization which has taken it on itself to enforce law, or failing that, create law, a power reserved solely to the State.

Every failure of any organization so firmly committed to sucking the corporate cock should be broadcast far and wide.

Amusingly, the focus is liability. All corporations want to evade liability, but that is what incorporation is for - to shield individuals from liability. The system has failed massively. How can we know? The corporations now want to evade liability.

Ever receive one of those emails with a disclaimer at the bottom: "This email is intended for the recipient only... blah blah blah?" They do that because the legal system has failed, and allows the corporation itself to evade liability, instead of sharply limiting it.

Fuck those asshats.

I am a disruptive technology.

Creating law? (none / 0) (#64)
by DoorFrame on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 10:37:18 AM EST

I'm not sure I understand.  They hav a business, this business runs a website that provides a forum for users to sell items to other users.  This webpage also has some rules that presumable listed for anyone and everyone to read (I haven't double-checked this, but I would be shocked if their policies weren't clearly stated on the webpage).  If you violate these policies, they suspend your membership on the webpage.

How is this creating, or enforcing laws?  The scope of their rules and their punishments are confined entirely to withint their webpage.  

If you went into Walmart and started screaming at other customers, they would ask you to leave.  This wouldn't be them creating or enforcing anti-screaming laws, they would just be following a store policy.  

[ Parent ]

If eBay were actually an auction site... (none / 1) (#73)
by gr3y on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 03:54:00 PM EST

it would never have removed the re-sale of "vitamins" legitimately purchased as a gift for someone else's personal use because of "intellecual property" concerns.

You have the right to re-sell something that you own, within reasonable limits. Intellectual property simply doesn't enter into the discussion.

The attempt to make this about intellectual property is solely eBay caving to pressure from a corporation, in this case a dodgy "supplement" provider, to eliminate the resale market and force everyone to buy only from them. The problem is that an unopened box of "vitamins" is not intellectual property, but a physical product which, once used, no longer exists.

The only way I could see an intellectual property argument having any strength at all is if the company worried that someone else would get their hands on the "secret formula" and reverse engineer it, which would be an IP violation. But who would "reverse engineer" someone else's lawn clippings? We can't even get the FDA to do that. The article rightly stated there is a complete lack of oversight for health and herbal "supplements" of all kinds.

I do not need Sears' permission to sell a Craftsman lawn mower through the local want ads, and Sears cannot block the sale of my lawn mower citing "intellectual property" concerns. The lawn mower is a thing that I own, and I can sell it to someone else when I no longer need it and cannot use it. Sears cannot prohibit this.

But eBay is, in this case, interpreting the law, which allows re-sale of purchased items, to mean that the law requires them to de-list certain items because the resale of a physical item violates the "intellectual property" rights of the producer. If that isn't making law by extending it far beyond its original reach, I don't know what is. And, as I originally posted, incorporation has not provided a shield from liability for eBay and has therefore failed, because it has caused eBay to de-list a perfectly legal sale.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

Law and the Law (none / 1) (#97)
by virg on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 01:12:20 PM EST

> You have the right to re-sell something that you own, within reasonable limits. Intellectual property simply doesn't enter into the discussion.

This is a little incorrect due to being too broad, but that broadness isn't relevant to the discussion, so I'll take it at face value. It's correct, but that correctness doesn't mean anything to this case. The right to sell something doesn't mean you have any right to sell it on eBay, and they can tell you they don't want you selling on their site for any or no reason. That's part of the agreement you enter when you sign up to list an auction. Note that VeRO doesn't forbid her to sell it to someone on the street, just on eBay, which isn't a public place.

> The attempt to make this about intellectual property is solely eBay caving to pressure from a corporation, in this case a dodgy "supplement" provider, to eliminate the resale market and force everyone to buy only from them.

You're absolutely right. Now please tell me what law this violates. Telling her she can't sell the vitamins on eBay doesn't constitute antitrust activity, since there are other places to buy such vitamins than eBay, so they don't adequately control the supply. The IP argument is spurious, but since eBay can legally tell someone they can't sell an item on their site because it's colored blue, a spurious argument is good enough.

> I do not need Sears' permission to sell a Craftsman lawn mower through the local want ads, and Sears cannot block the sale of my lawn mower citing "intellectual property" concerns. The lawn mower is a thing that I own, and I can sell it to someone else when I no longer need it and cannot use it. Sears cannot prohibit this.

Most certainly,they can. They just can't use the force of law to do it, but there's no law that says that Sears can't go to an entity they do business with and convince them not to allow resales. For example, if Sears went to your local paper and said that they'd pull all advertising if the paper allowed resale of Sears products in the want-ads, and the paper complied, there's no law that says that's forbidden. That the mower is a physical item is irrelevant to the discussion. eBay can use VeRO rules to remove auctions because they can remove auctions at will. If it's a bad business decision, that's one thing. But it's not in any sense of the word illegal.

> But eBay is, in this case, interpreting the law, which allows re-sale of purchased items, to mean that the law requires them to de-list certain items because the resale of a physical item violates the "intellectual property" rights of the producer. If that isn't making law by extending it far beyond its original reach, I don't know what is.

Well, you're right to say you don't know what is. Delisting an auction is not an act of legality or illegality, it's a business decision. There is no legal precedent set here, she faced no legal ramifications, and the only punishment that eBay can levy is disallowing her to use their service. She's not facing a fine or jail time or confiscation or any legal ramifications at all. She's just not allowed to sell her vitamins on eBay. That's it, and that's all. Her legal argument is with Juice Plus, not eBay. eBay neither broke nor interpreted any laws.

> And, as I originally posted, incorporation has not provided a shield from liability for eBay and has therefore failed, because it has caused eBay to de-list a perfectly legal sale.

Oops, you're hyperextending what incorporation means. Incorporation protects owners from liability, not corporations, by making the corporation itself liable in legal disputes. Incorporation isn't supposed to protect eBay from liability, it protects eBay's owners from eBay's liabilities. eBay as an entity is still responsible for its own protection, and by delisting the auction, they essentially said that they want to get out of the middle of the legal dispute between that woman and Juice Plus. That makes it a wise decision in terms of liability. Whether the public relations damage will outweigh the liability remains to be seen, but this example does nothing to demonstrate the "failure of incorporation" in any way.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
Okay, that's fair. (none / 0) (#111)
by gr3y on Wed Dec 08, 2004 at 12:11:56 AM EST

I can't argue with facts: eBay has no obligation to the seller to provide her with a forum in which to sell the vitamins... because eBay does not offer auction services, as stated.

eBay refers to itself as an auction site, but that's a strange usage of the word, considering what eBay has done. The auction is one of the oldest American marketplaces, along with the commons, and, as such, one should expect to be able to enter into an agreement to auction any item that is legal to sell in this country.

I've been to plenty of auctions, some of which were selling week-old bread. In other words, I've been to auctions that only re-circulate food other people won't eat and used junk. The auctioneer would not have refused to sell the vitamins in a single one of them, because there's no risk to the aucioneer and it's not illegal.

I'm forced to conclude that what eBay offers isn't an "auction". But you are correct, nothing requires eBay to offer real auction services.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

Contracts are law (1.00 / 1) (#75)
by deadcow on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 04:02:54 PM EST

Actually, 90+% of law is made by private individuals in the form of contracts. Contracts are binding instances of law tailored to the purposes of the contractees... Problems only arise when there is a conflict with statutory law or when contractees do not abide by the terms of the contract.

It's true, however, that large corporations can write what ever the hell they want in contracts and people will sign them (when was the last time you read an entire privacy agreement / terms & conditions page?). So the real problem is the serious lack of organized intelligent consumers.

[ Parent ]

Reading the contract (3.00 / 2) (#81)
by pyro9 on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 08:57:47 PM EST

(when was the last time you read an entire privacy agreement / terms & conditions page?

Apparently, it's extremely rare for people to even read the contract when it's on paper and they are about to sign it. Every time I do, I get the strangest looks.

It's apparently even stranger for someone to strike a disagreeable clause from the contract before signing. So unusual that the representative almost never knows what to do about that, so they just initial it!!!


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]

Why should I read it? (none / 0) (#101)
by Imma Troll on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 05:22:13 PM EST

That's what lawyers are for.
Will somebody light my sig?
[ Parent ]
CDR software (none / 1) (#39)
by Sen on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 11:38:21 PM EST

Well I know of getting software that is just plain a CDR through ebay. I'm a lot less knee-jerk against "intellectual property" these days. We'll soon be autonomonous, and these issues will fade.

Thanks for doing your part (1.42 / 7) (#40)
by up on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 02:15:12 AM EST

To fill the Internet up with whining about the Internet!

You can't fill up the internet! (3.00 / 5) (#44)
by rusty on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 04:00:57 AM EST

Every time you post something it immediately just becomes more internet!

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
You say that like it's a good thing [n/t] (none / 1) (#50)
by Herring on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 07:02:03 AM EST



Say lol what again motherfucker, say lol what again, I dare you, no I double dare you
[ Parent ]
sig! (none / 0) (#87)
by coderlemming on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 05:49:49 AM EST

If I didn't have such an awesome sig already, this'd totally be my new sig.


--
Go be impersonally used as an organic semen collector!  (porkchop_d_clown)
[ Parent ]
Oh boy (2.40 / 5) (#41)
by theElectron on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 02:20:03 AM EST

This has been an issue for a lot of products on e-bay for a LONG TIME. E-bay forbids you from selling any firearm magazine which holds more than 10 rounds of ammunition -- even if the seller and all the bidders are located in states in which such a magazine is legal (i.e. all but a handful) . They also forbid you from selling any part which could be used to turn a firearm into an "assault weapon" (nevermind that such firearms are restricted in only a handful of states, and even in those states the parts are illegal only when assembled onto an actual firearm). It's all just stupid. Radar detectors are illegal in Virginia, so (following E-bay's own logic) do they ban auctioning them? Of course not. But whatever. There are now a couple of thriving auction sites which deal exclusively with firearms and firearms accessories. E-Bay's loss is a 2nd Amendment-friendly auction site's gain. Sounds good to me.

And have you ever tried to sell a copy of legal, legitimate, used software on E-bay? My god, prepare to have the heel of the IP Gestapo's jackboot planted firmly in your face.

--
Join the NRA!

you're forgetting... (none / 1) (#86)
by coderlemming on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 05:48:54 AM EST

You're forgetting that they can do whatever the fuck they want.  Within laws of course, yadda yadda.  They can turn their site into a place where you can only sell furbies and squirt guns if they really want to.  Who cares if their rules about guns don't make sense.  Maybe someone in the management doesn't like guns?  They don't have to be consistent, and they don't have to make sense.  They're doing a damn good job making money despite these problems you bring up.


--
Go be impersonally used as an organic semen collector!  (porkchop_d_clown)
[ Parent ]
This market WILL correct itself! (3.00 / 4) (#42)
by Peahippo on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 02:30:24 AM EST

If eBay drinks too deeply of the heady brew of authorized sellers, it will just drive away the individual buyers who allowed it to thrive in the first place.

All businesses end up run by scumbags who want to create classes of customers, and will eventually use force against the classes of customers they find unfavorable. If you're after a small percentage of actual scam artists, this only makes sense. But if you're just trying to sell to the rich only ... well, businesses are finding out certain truths about that. For example, when they re-tool to fulfill a big Wal-Mart account, they end up dancing to Wal-Mart's tune and finally either move to Mexico or simply go out of business due to an increasingly negative profit margin.

This will correct itself. eBay simply has to learn to honor the market even when it "threatens" an established business. (Note that the term "threat" is itself highly questionable.) Taking down an auction on someone's virginity is one thing. This is quite another.


eBay would do well to learn of the (2.90 / 11) (#46)
by skyknight on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 06:02:27 AM EST

First Sale Doctrine. When selling an item that is protected under copyright, the company retains all rights to the copyright, but the end user has the right more or less to do whatever he damn well pleases with the item short of copying it or making unauthorized broadcasts. Companies have no right to restrict the resale of their products by default. If they wish to be able to enforce such a restriction, then at the point of sale they must have the purchaser enter a contract in which this is spelled out explicitly.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
I was waiting for someone to bring this up!! (n/t) (none / 0) (#74)
by deadcow on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 03:57:29 PM EST



[ Parent ]
I have a way of bringing up inconvenient facts./nt (none / 0) (#76)
by skyknight on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 04:08:16 PM EST



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
It's actually more nuanced than that (2.50 / 4) (#77)
by cpt kangarooski on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 05:48:44 PM EST

Though you're generally on the right track. I'd suggest reading the actual text of 17 USC 109 which is the current codification of the first sale doctrine. There are some limits that you're glossing over.

At any rate, this particular situation implicates both copyright and trademark law, I'd expect. Patent law would be odd here, and there's no indication of a contract being relevant.

If they wish to be able to enforce such a restriction, then at the point of sale they must have the purchaser enter a contract in which this is spelled out explicitly.

That is not true. You can generally enforce terms of sale that are not presented until after the heart of the transaction occurs. ProCD discusses this.

--
All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
[ Parent ]

fair use (3.00 / 2) (#93)
by Highlander on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 03:25:29 AM EST

I don't think they have a case at all. She has not violated any trademarks, since calling a Company X product to be a Company X product is proper, the correct legal term might be "fair use".

They could ask her to provide proof that the product was originally from Company X, but if the seller is not selling plenty of suspect items, Company X would have no grounds to ask for anything.

IMHO, ebay is getting laid by scumbags, I think that because to make the seller sign that agreement is highly improper. Someone should get back at ebay by bying lots of real stuff, relabeling it, and selling it as "at least as good or better than Company X product".

Moderation in moderation is a good thing.
[ Parent ]

From what we know, I agree (none / 1) (#98)
by cpt kangarooski on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 01:15:24 PM EST

I'm just pointing out that while this is an easy case, the rules for the analysis are nontheless a bit more complex.

She has not violated any trademarks, since calling a Company X product to be a Company X product is proper, the correct legal term might be "fair use".

Meh. Traditional trademark fair use is more along the lines of using the descriptive mark of another to describe your own goods or services where that's appropriate and you avoid significant conflict.

I'd call this a nominative use, which is a bit different, though at certain levels both kinds of uses can overlap.

IMHO, ebay is getting laid by scumbags

They don't want trouble. They have a good thing going and don't want to get tied up in litigation with anyone, so they're caving. It's unlikely that their users can harm them in any significant way, however, so they're the ones that'll get stepped on if that's what it takes to keep ebay from having conflict with big companies.

--
All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
[ Parent ]

I tried to find out about this Juice Plus (2.80 / 10) (#52)
by Ray Chason on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 07:54:51 AM EST

so I Googled for "Juice Plus" and clicked the first link, www.juiceplus.com of course. And I got...

drum roll...

...an image of a cop writing a ticket and this message:

You have cookies disabled.

To use Juiceplus.com, your browser must be able to accept cookies. You were directed to this page because your browser's cookie settings are disabled. Please enable your cookies and click here to continue.

Geez, nice way to get your story out, guys. (Can any webmasters here why the, expletive most certainly not deleted, FUCK do people do this?)

Anyway, the first ad on the Google page points to...EBay. Clicking the link gives a page offering "juice plus, Women's Accessory Handbags, Dietary Supplements Nutrition, and Diecast Toy Vehicles items at low prices."

Finally, that same Google search gives this page that seems to indicate that, yes, Juice Plus is an MLM. It also gives this interesting bit of information:

The unreliability of testimonials was dramatically illustrated by the case of former football star O.J. Simpson, who was charged with stabbing his wife and her friend Ronald Goldman. In March 1994, shortly before these murders took place, he was videotaped telling 4,000 distributors at a sales meeting that Juice Plus+ had cured his arthritis. Testimony in the murder case indicated that he was also taking sulfasalazine, a standard anti-inflammatory drug that could have relieved his symptoms. Subsequently, his defense attorneys presented medical testimony that Simpson was so crippled by arthritis that he could not have committed the murders.


--
The War on Terra is not meant to be won.
Delendae sunt RIAA, MPAA et Windoze

Nice (2.00 / 2) (#54)
by n8f8 on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 08:04:00 AM EST

So, did the Juice Plus+ cause O.J.'s rage?

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
Cookies... (none / 1) (#80)
by skyknight on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 08:20:48 PM EST

When they are turned off, it basically cripples a web site's ability to violate your privacy. There are all kinds of cookie tricks that allow for sharing of information across sites when they are enabled.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
All kinds, really? (none / 1) (#85)
by jongleur on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 04:52:15 AM EST

I got used to the idea of cookies, since sites would have to belong to some pre-agreed group that shared among themselves, and I figured I wouldn't give info that I care about to large, commercial sites, & so I stopped worrying about it.

But what are the 'lots of ways'? Do you have a pointer?
--
"If you can't imagine a better way let silence bury you" - Midnight Oil
[ Parent ]

It's basically limitless... (3.00 / 5) (#88)
by skyknight on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 08:50:35 AM EST

Yes, it does involve agreement between sites to do it, but Doubleclick has the agreement with more or less everyone under the sun, and Amazon is becoming a big player as well. I was particularly alarmed recently to go to reason.com only to be presented with an amazon.com image that had embedded in it "Hello Skyknight, please check out these great offers and support Reason while you're doing it."

The mechanism is fairly simple... Site A receives a request from you, reads your cookie, and dynamically generates a page that contains an image whose link refers to site B, and furthermore this link has information embedded in it that identifies your session with site A. As soon as that image is requested, site B will pull in your cookie information for it and is now able to tie together your surfing on both site B and site A. You don't even have to click the image to follow a link or anything like that. Just the simple act of having that image load pipes all the information that B needs to do correlation directly to it. Now Amazon is probably going to be offering me a preponderance of libertarian books, and Reason is going to start placing Amazon ads on its pages targeting me for specific books. More aggravating still, my real name, which I use with Amazon, has now been linked to my surfing on Reason, something that I never explicitly authorized because I didn't even sign up for an account with Reason.

Anyway, you probably already knew that, but it seems pretty fucking evil to me.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Yes, Amazon's privacy terms (none / 0) (#90)
by jongleur on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 02:00:37 PM EST

have always been vague. There was some uproar a year or two ago when they softened them even further, but it was pretty soft already as I recall. Now that you mention it I have had one and maybe two sites that seemed to know a suspicious amount about me, like where I am, which was unnerving. Nothing from Amazon though. I've resisted becoming a 'verified identity user' and stuck with a handle but, they could always get my name off my credit card so, I dunno.
--
"If you can't imagine a better way let silence bury you" - Midnight Oil
[ Parent ]
It's enough... (none / 1) (#91)
by skyknight on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 02:05:57 PM EST

to make me not want to patronize Amazon ever again. I find their disregard for my privacy, quite frankly, to be alarming. Also, I find their patents for "one-click technology" to be odious on a nearly unprecedented scale. As much of an uber-nerd Internet user as I may be, I am finding myself increasingly inclined to make my purchases from brick & mortar outfits, and even to use cash. I don't even have anything nefarious to hide. I just fucking hate being analyzed at this level.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Amazon's thing is a bit simpler than that ... (none / 0) (#107)
by dougmc on Tue Dec 07, 2004 at 12:55:30 PM EST

I was particularly alarmed recently to go to reason.com only to be presented with an amazon.com image that had embedded in it "Hello Skyknight, please check out these great offers and support Reason while you're doing it."
It's simpler than you've explained. Reason doesn't need any cookies at all to do this. Reason has a link on their page to Amazon for an image -- which is an extremely common way of putting up advertisements.

At Amazon, this link is a program that looks for your Amazon cookie so it can customize the image to include your name (to get your attention, and perhaps to track you.) The `Reason' part comes from the Referrer: header.

You don't need an account with Reason. You don't even need to allow cookies from Reason. All you need is an account with Amazon, and that Amazon cookie.

In theory, any advertiser could do this, as long as they have a persistant cookie and can match this cookie up to your name. And I imagine that many more are, though they're not being so brazen to include your name.

[ Parent ]

Re: Amazon's thing is a bit simpler than that ... (none / 0) (#108)
by dougmc on Tue Dec 07, 2004 at 12:57:17 PM EST

The `Reason' part comes from the Referrer: header.
It could also be in the URL. img src=http://...?referrer=135161, anybody?

[ Parent ]
Well, sure, but... (none / 0) (#110)
by skyknight on Tue Dec 07, 2004 at 05:43:51 PM EST

the fact that Reason has gone and done this has given them a way to ascertain my identity even though I did not explicitly authorize them to have it. That really bothers me. I'd rather my real life identity weren't linked to anything for which I did not give explicit authorization.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
use the tools, stop being victimised (none / 0) (#94)
by irwoodhouse on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 07:37:23 AM EST

Privoxy (privacy proxy) will sort out many web abuses for you (including the cookie problem which alarmed skyknight). It can be tailored to allow some sites more privilege. Read the site for details.

If you're using IE - get a different browser which respects your privacy. For example, opera can be instructed to delete all cookies. (There are still some broken sites which *require* IE. Vote with your feet/wallet if you can).

To those who have difficulty installing programs: no excuses, sorry. Just like a car, either you fix it yourself or you pay someone to fix it.

Tools such as these are like locks on doors - we shouldn't need to have them, but people don't play nicely. Stop complaining and Do Something About It.

[ Parent ]

Over the top ... (none / 0) (#109)
by dougmc on Tue Dec 07, 2004 at 01:12:36 PM EST

...an image of a cop writing a ticket and this message:
... which made me disable cookies and head over there. Yup, it's a cop. But he's smiling, and has a heart on his hat, so obviously it's ok!

See him yourself here.

Seriously though, a cop? As if disabling cookies was somehow against the law?

When this sort of issue comes up, I usually apply the Grandma test -- how would my grandma react if this appeared on her screen? She'd be upset, and think she did something wrong. And for this, Juice Plus should be spanked.

And for other things too, but I digress ...

[ Parent ]

Some Ebay Policing is Good (2.87 / 8) (#58)
by garymill on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 09:41:50 AM EST

It is unfortunate that you got caught up in Juice Plus's corporate policies. We are a retailer of kitchenware, juicers etc. We have to abide by MAP Pricing, Minimum Advertising Pricing on how we advertise certain manufacturer's products for sale on the internet via our web site. What we have found is that many dealers will circumvent these policies by selling on Ebay at prices below the MAP pricing, so honest retailers like us get hurt. Now it seems that more and more companies whose products we sell are now working with Ebay to take down these auctions for products by sellers that are not abiding by their polices. But it is very understandable how an individual that is casually selling a product can get caught up in this as you did. Gary

Unfortunately.. (3.00 / 8) (#59)
by mindstrm on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 09:46:54 AM EST

Those contractual obligations you and other resellers agreed to should not be enforced by EBAY.  If a retailer is violating his supply contract and selling on ebay at below cost, undermining the whole operation, the supplier needs to deal with him in court. It's STILL not illegal for him to sell these goods, not like copyright violation or anything.

[ Parent ]
Exactly (none / 0) (#62)
by zerth on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 10:23:50 AM EST

If my company sells something wholesale to a reseller who sells below MAP, either the manufacturer sues them, or they sue us for selling wholesale without informing the person about the MAP(and I think we have to get them to sign something before we can sell to them, but I don't work on that end).  They don't (and can't) go after individuals selling off unwanted items.

Rusty isn't God here, he's the pope; our God is pedantry. -- Subtillus
[ Parent ]
EBay is a channel, not a way of advertising (none / 0) (#116)
by Software on Thu Dec 09, 2004 at 08:53:01 PM EST

MAP contracts should not apply to eBay. MAP contracts are for advertising, not for sales. In-store displays, for example, don't fall under MAP contracts. If you call a store who is selling an item for less than the MAP, they're allowed to tell you the price! For some retailers, eBay is simply a channel, like phone sales, brick-and-mortar stores, etc.

Of course, IANAL, and none of this applies if online auction sites are considered advertising according to MAP contracts (I bet they aren't, because I think most courts would find that restraint of trade).

[ Parent ]

Minimum Advertised Price? (3.00 / 5) (#60)
by acceleriter on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 09:49:58 AM EST

Isn't that an acronym for illegal trust? No sympathy for manufacturers that make such policies and see them circumvented. And if I buy something at retail, it's mine, and I'll resell it if I so desire. Your rights to an item end when you sell it to me, full stop.

[ Parent ]
UMRP (none / 1) (#63)
by zerth on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 10:32:49 AM EST

is what you are thinking(Unilateral Minimum Retail Pricing).  MAP is technically legal, since you are allowed to sell things for less that it, but can't tell anyone about it unless asked.

(IE, if ebay could do a "blind" auction where you couldn't see the price until after you placed a bid on the item, I think it wouldn't violate MAP.  Like amazon, where it will tell you what the MAP is and that they have it for less than that, but won't show you the exact amount until you put it in your cart.)

Still wouldn't cover this situation though, only retailers.

Rusty isn't God here, he's the pope; our God is pedantry. -- Subtillus
[ Parent ]

MAPs have got to go (3.00 / 2) (#65)
by DoorFrame on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 11:13:53 AM EST

The problem is with the ridiculous concept of a minimum advertised price.  Once you buy the product from your supplier, it should be up to you to set the price however you see fit... including below face value (I love loss leaders!)

[ Parent ]
Microtubule Associated Proteins? nt (none / 1) (#66)
by klem on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 11:33:20 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Honest? (none / 1) (#67)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 12:10:42 PM EST

Honest price-fixers, you mean?

Is there anywhere I can find a list of suppliers and retailers that do this so I can never buy anything from them again?

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

MAP is very common (3.00 / 2) (#70)
by garymill on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 01:18:55 PM EST

A good exmaple is an XBox or a PlayStation. Notice that retailers all sell these for the same price. Some add in extras to get around this to some degree.

[ Parent ]
MAP/pricefixing (3.00 / 2) (#95)
by irwoodhouse on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 07:53:51 AM EST

Using the example above (xbox/ps)

No one can be forced into a contract. Sony is entitled to refuse to sell further items to a retailer (even if the reason is that said retailer is selling below what Sony wants to charge).

On the other hand, if Sony and Microsoft get together and agree not to sell/allow for sale xboxes or playstations for less than X, that's a cooperative oligopoly (uk term) and illegal (and the penalties are usually huge).

In a related story, Alka-Seltzer didn't like Asda (now Walmart) selling the former's products for less, and told Asda to up the price or A-S would refuse to supply. Asda pulled every A-S product from their shelves overnight. Moral: do not bully someone bigger than you.

[ Parent ]

honest retailers hurt? (none / 1) (#72)
by black orchidness on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 02:52:58 PM EST

How can being denied further profit be considered hurt? You make a product, you get to sell it once. Trying to claim profits on any and/or all other sales of the same item is ridiculous. Companies really will do anything to make a buck won't they? Just curious, but how can you tell if a product falls under this domain? Does the company tell you when you buy it, or does it only apply when you try to sell it on Ebay and the like?

[ Parent ]
Policy (none / 1) (#79)
by dn on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 08:17:50 PM EST

Just curious, but how can you tell if a product falls under this domain? Does the company tell you when you buy it, or does it only apply when you try to sell it on Ebay and the like?
It's just a plain, ordinary distribution contract. If you agree not to advertise prices below a certain value, you get to buy product straight from the factory at the wholesale price. You've probably seen those e-tailer listings that say "too low to show—click to see the price". Well that's this sort of contract it work. It is a common and harmless business practice.

Naturally some distributors cheat, which is unfair to the other distributors. So rather than, you know, enforce the law, certain producers are paying kick-backs to eBay to restrain all trade in their product. This may violate the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, and almost certainly constitutes an unfair trade practice by eBay. Good luck getting it changed though.

    I ♥
TOXIC
WASTE

[ Parent ]

harmless? (none / 1) (#106)
by dougmc on Tue Dec 07, 2004 at 12:41:09 PM EST

It is a common and harmless business practice.
Common, yes. Harmless, I don't think so. I'd say that Lisa was harmed here. And certainly, she didn't sign any sort of contract here.

[ Parent ]
Ummm... (2.50 / 4) (#69)
by Armada on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 12:57:25 PM EST

While I disagree with the actions Ebay took, I don't see why this deserved front page status. Ebay got to be so big because people like the way they work. If people quit liking how they work, they'll use Yahoo Auctions or UBid or whatever.

Granted, I disagree with Ebay's policy of cancelling my auctions for online game accounts for MMORPGs, but that doesn't mean I'm going to write up a whiny post about it to K5. Sony complained about a sale I made once, and I fought them on it and eventually they just backed down. It probably had to do with the fact that 500 other people were trying to auction their characters as well, and Sony just couldn't keep up. It's what happens. Sometimes you get "caught" for violating a company policy (in this case, Ebay's) and you just have to start over.

She in no way violated the law. Just encourage her to start over, perhaps finding a different product other than a MLM scam to propose.

Tyranny of the majority (3.00 / 4) (#83)
by Steeltoe on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 04:20:09 AM EST

Just because MOST people like Ebay (who happen to use it anyways), doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to change behaviours like this by companies.

The old libertarian routine of "most people use them", let the market decide, etc., is an old and tired tirade. It's a bit of truth in it, but for many hundreds of years there have been a saying of "tyranny of the majority". Ie., in a totally open democracy where everybody votes on particular issues, the minorities will suffer the tyranny of the majority in each and every issue.

That's why we have PRESENTATIVE democracy, ie. people presenting the people, but having ideals for minority issues at the same time. The average Joe can't be expected to care for each and every issue.

The same goes for this. Just because the majority on Ebay uses Ebay (what a crock statement ;), doesn't make their shady practices legitimate. A philosopher said once something in these lines: A sign of advanced society is not that the majority is happy, but that the minorities are taken well care of.

Explore the Art of Living

[ Parent ]

REpresentative Governement (none / 0) (#99)
by RadiantMatrix on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 02:09:44 PM EST

We have representatives in Congress, not "presentatives".  We are a Representative Democracy.
--
I'm not going out with a "meh". I plan to live, dammit. [ZorbaTHut]

[ Parent ]
Right word (none / 0) (#100)
by Cro Magnon on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 02:13:59 PM EST

but they don't really represent us.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Not really (none / 0) (#105)
by c4ffeine on Tue Dec 07, 2004 at 09:54:50 AM EST

I'd love to be able to honestly say that there are more than two choices, but I can't. No large media station takes any independent seriously. 40 years ago, independedts were doing well, but now everyone believes that "don't throw away your vote" crap.

I know this will sound like flaimbait, so let me add a disclaimer: I voted Badnarik

[ Parent ]

Problem (none / 0) (#113)
by Cro Magnon on Wed Dec 08, 2004 at 10:08:39 AM EST

The problem is, the large media stations are owned by people who like the status quo. Certainly, they won't give independents the time of day unless they're forced to.

Right now, the Libertarians face a chicken/egg problem. How do you get enough name recognition to get media coverage, without having media coverage? If they can solve that, they may become a credible 3rd party.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]

Cleaning House (none / 1) (#89)
by n8f8 on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 09:13:18 AM EST

She was just selling extra stuff she had around the house.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
Well then it's hardly abuse (none / 0) (#102)
by Armada on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 11:50:15 PM EST

... and Ebay should apologize. I'd just tell her to send in a letter (or you can yourself) and NOT an email (paper cannot just be trashed) addressing her account directly to Ebay. Say it was a mistake and no ill will was meant. She thought it was something worth auctioning and does not intend to do it again.

It's really easy to work with Ebay on this stuff. They are very receptive towards working stuff out, she just needs to open up a line of communication OUTSIDE of email and online inquiries. Ebay takes the actions it does because it legally has to for fear of litigation. She probably tried to sell an item someone used to run a business off of reselling.

[ Parent ]

Ebay is not successful because of how it works (none / 1) (#112)
by heavenstorm on Wed Dec 08, 2004 at 09:32:11 AM EST

Ebay succeeds because they have the largest base of users, which is primarily due to the fact that nobody has heard of anyone else.  The value is entirely in the users (which constitute a market, large enough to find optimal prices).  Paypal is the same: paypal is valuable because people use it.  (Indeed, cash is the same; note there is no longer any gold standard).

This is a common business model on the internet.  Instant messaging services, message board sites like this, etc. derive all their value from their userbase; they succeed by virtue only of their past success.  (This is also why Windows and Unix succeed -- although they don't derive -all- of their value from their userbase, it is their userbase which makes them viable).

[ Parent ]

eBay violating 15 USC 1 ? Should bond complaints. (3.00 / 2) (#96)
by redelm on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 09:07:08 AM EST

I find this very odd. Yes, eBay doesn't want to facilitate copyright violation. They could get sued. But if they allow their precautions to be misused, they could also be sued or go to jail for Anti-Trust -- Sherman Act violations -- for enforcing price maintenance. Given the choice, I'd rather face a suit for copyright violation than Anti-Trust where things are "guilty until proven innocent".

Something is also wierd in that eBay is going against it's customer base. That isn't good in the long run, although perhaps they are big and dominant enough not to worry too much right now. In their place, I would require complaintants to post bond ($1000? 1 mo. sales?), forfeited 50% to eBay, 50% to falsely accused if complaint found meritless. I don't the MS would have any problem ponying up $1000.

In your wife's friend's place, I would write (preferably paper, cert.ltr) ebay back disputing their facts and actions, and mentioning that they may be violating Anti-Trust law since their actions have the effect of supporting a price maintenance agreement.



Their VeRO program sucks (none / 0) (#118)
by kancept on Mon Jan 03, 2005 at 10:38:50 AM EST

This program is basically a way for eBay to not bother being eBay. I've recently had to deal with this and eBay states they have nothing to do with it and that they can't help me. I had to deal with Microsoft. It's not that I'm selling illegal items, but I do have the right of First Sale, and no EULA can take that away from me. I've been back and forth with eBay for months about this, but they have no desire to follow Gov't law, but will listen to M$ law. There is no way that M$ law overrides the Right of First sale, and there is no way it can ovverride any right. But eBay won't bother. It's out of their hands. So eBay is not even really running their website now, they leave the megacorps to police it for them. eBay is good to a point, but when you try to sell something that might actually make something and someone is afraid of not getting a cut, they'll take it down. It's another RIAA, MPAA, M$, insert megacorp here run site now. I fear PayPal will be turning into that soon as well.

No way (none / 0) (#119)
by HollyHopDrive on Tue Jan 18, 2005 at 09:11:48 AM EST

Someone I know found BNP merchandise on eBay after he tapped in the word "Jewish" (he's a Jew, and sometimes likes to look for Jewish books or artefacts online) - several KKK books about the Jewish conspiracy to rule the world. listed right underneath Holocaust armbands.

He was too late to stop one book's sale, as it was going to end in minutes, but he immediately contacted eBay about the other one, which had several days left to run. Two days later eBay still hadn't removed the item, despite acknowledging they'd seen it, saying they would remove it, thanking him for informing them and confirming that the sales ran contrary to eBay's guidelines.

So one of these racist books can run to full sale, the other can take days to remove and yet the powers that be at eBay will come down like a ton of bricks, pretty much within hours, on somebody who sells some unused vitamins?
Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

I ran into the same problem once (none / 0) (#120)
by etherist on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 10:34:15 PM EST

4 or 5 years ago, I was selling DVD players on eBay which had (brace yourselves) a "secret menu" that could be used to make them region-free, and also to disable Macrovision. I would buy these from Circuit City (when I could find them, as there was quite a buzz circulating about them on the internets), and resell them for about 80% more on eBay (minus expenses/fees). This was back when my time was worth nothing, and I would gladly drive a hundred and fifty miles to score 7 DVD players.

I would advertise that these DVD players had the secret menu, and what it could be used for.

Macrovision (as I remember) shut a few of these auctions down under VeRO. I tried to contest/dispute this decision with eBay, asking "What rights/trademarks does Macrovision assert that I have infringed?", etc. eBay never gave a satisfactory answer, just a nonsensical form letter. I would just re-work the listing so that it made mention of the "secret menu", but not what it would be used for (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

So basically, I agree with some of the above posters: eBay would rather cave in to avoid getting sued, even if it means that their customers get screwed.

I agree with other posters: eBay can run their business however they like. If you don't like their terms, and if you don't like that they won't even disclose their terms to you, then don't sell on eBay. But you probably will anyhow.



WHO EVER RULES VERO RULES THE WORLD (none / 0) (#121)
by janeroth on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 03:30:13 AM EST

My Friend, THANK YOU FOR WRITING THAT. You nailed it!! "Verified Rights Owner Program (VeRO) is eBay's version of the DMCA." Read it again slowly: "Verified Rights Owner Program ...(VeRO) ... is eBay's version of the DMCA." "WHO EVER RULES VERO RULES THE WORLD" Let me ask you....If True Religion, which is a Vero Member, sends Ebay a demand letter to take down 15 TRUE RELIGION listings (leaving 699) and then sends ioffer (EBAY'S competitor) the exact same FORM letter but DEMANDS that ioffer remove ALL OF the True Religion LISTINGS doesn't that SPELL MON-0-POLY? LICENSED TRADEMARK HOLDERS = VERO MEMBERS. LICENSED VERO MEMBERS DEMAND EBAY COMPETITORS TO TAKE DOWN AN UNEQUAL AMOUNT OF LISTINGS. THE DMCA IS SUPPOSED TO HELP PROTECT ABUSE AND MISUSE BY THE TRADEMARK / COPYRIGHT HOLDERS THAT USE BULLY TACTICS. http://www.copyright.gov/legislation/hr2281.pdf HELLO MO-NO-POLY. GOOD BY PAYCHECK. REMEMBER TIFFANY'S BIG RIFF WITH EBAY? THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF TIFFANY AUCTIONS ON EBAY RIGHT NOW. WHERE ARE THE TIFFANY TRADEMARK / COPYRIGHT VERO TEAM LAWYERS? (SHOOTING OFF TAKE DOWN LETTERS TO YAHOO?) "Verified Rights Owner Program (VeRO) is eBay's version of the DMCA." JUST REMEMBER --- WHO EVER RULES VERO...IS GOING TO RULE THE INTERNET WORLD. IF YOU WANT TO BE ABLE TO FREELY TRADE. GET INVOLVED ! http://www.eff.org/

VeRO: eBay's version of the DMCA | 121 comments (114 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
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