Martha Reeves complains to FTC about Ebay posting

Singer Martha Reeves has registered a complaint with the FTC about a posting on Ebay of an old contract she signed — it contained her Social Security number.

Ebay’s defense is the same one they give for copyright/trademark violation disputes. There is no way for them to monitor every one of their auctions. They rely on the owners of the copyrights/trademarks to monitor the auctions, and inform them when they see a violation.

It’s simple for anyone to ‘subscribe’ to a daily listing of ebay auctions with keywords. So it would be easy for anyone with any worries to subscribe to any auction that mentions their name, for example.

Of course, one might ask — should this be necessary?

To force Ebay to moderate all their auctions would force them to hire an extraordinary amount of new employees — and force a rise in costs to the auctioneer that would probably cause a sharp decline in business.

But do Ebay’s profits outweigh privacy and intellectual property rights?

At some point, in my opinion, Ebay does have to be held accountable for what is sold on their site.

0 thoughts on “Martha Reeves complains to FTC about Ebay posting

  1. Greg Trotter

    Well, in this case, what can be done?

    I mean, you are right, there isn’t any way eBay can police this. And what happened isn’t even illegal as far as I know.

  2. John

    I don’t have an answer.

    You’re right, this probably isn’t illegal. Unless you consider it selling someone’s social security number — which might be a stretch.

    Ebay operates on the honor system, and there are lots of dishonorable people. If a seller is caught violating the law, they ban the seller. This after-the-fact policing may satisfy the law. It doesn’t satisfy me entirely. Ebay is providing a forum. Napster’s argument that their forum could be used for the legal trade of files didn’t fly in court. But the difference is the vast majority of Ebay sales are probably legal.

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