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Media Comment & Crimes Social & Political

eBay listing as editorial

<![CDATA[So, it seems someone listed Judge Jerald R. Klein as being for sale on eBay. The judge isn’t happy about it. The interesting question is, is this a libel in which eBay has participated?
“In today’s world, this is how people who are not celebrities can get their voice heard,” said the woman, who recently lost a case before the judge and is being evicted from her apartment. “It was satire; it was parody.”
The judge is pissed off at eBay, as though eBay makes some kind of editorial decision about what gets listed in its auctions. And eBay, for its part, pulled the listing shortly after learning about it.
I am all for parody and the freedom of expression. I hope someone saved a screen shot of the listing when it had been bid up to $127.50 by 21 people (who are they? that’s the story I want to hear). That the judge would think this may be libel—he wouldn’t say, only that he was conferring with court administrators about what steps he can take—and that eBay would remove the listing because it is a personal attack rather than parody, is just plain discouraging. eBay is a community, which means it has to bear a little conflict now and again to stay humane.
If the judge were smart, he’d have let the auction conclude and allowed the seller to be confronted with her inability to deliver the goods. That would have been real payback in a conversational marketplace.]]>

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