eBay’s Hypocritical Censorship

PayPal, eBay and SkypeA number of years back I used to collect Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs CDs. I’m not sure why, but they seemed to be valuable on eBay and so whenever I’d go shopping at Amoeba or someplace and I saw one for sale for cheap in the used CD bin I’d just buy it knowing that it was collectible and worth more money than they were selling it for. I got tired of collecting them after a while and so they sat in the attic for years. Recently my wife and I decided to clean house a bit, get rid of the clutter and start selling off crap that we just don’t need any more and so she’s been putting these old CDs up on eBay and selling them off. They usually go for anywhere from $20 or so to $150 per disc.

Earlier this week she tried to list one of the CDs, Blind Faith’s self titled CD. It’s a pretty famous album but on the cover there’s a photo of a young girl holding a silver space ship without a top on. I certainly wouldn’t consider it child porn. You can see the album cover if you want simply doing a Google Image Search for “Blind Faith” “self titled.”

After listing the CD along with an image of it eBay pulled the listing. She figured it was because of the album cover and so she relisted it, only this time without a photo of the cover and eBay pulled the listing again sending her the following email explanation:

To protect our users, recognizing that images of nude children often raise legal concerns, eBay has made a policy decision that it will not permit the listing of any item that depicts images of nude minors (under 18 years of age).

Now it feels kind of crappy to have eBay calling you a child pornographer. Especially when listing a mainstream rock CD that I’m pretty sure any court in America would rule is not child porn. I think eBay is also entirely hypocritical in their rejection of this item. eBay says that they “will not permit the listing of any item that depicts images of nude minors (under 18 years of age),” and yet if you do a search on eBay for Nirvana’s most famous CD “Nevermind,” you’ll find tons of listings. Isn’t that a naked baby on the album cover? Isn’t that naked baby nude and under the age of 18? What about nativity collectible with a naked baby Jesus in the manger? Isn’t that also depiction of a minor under the age of 18 naked?

eBay needs to learn to relax their censorship here. Not allowing someone to sell Blind Faith’s classic self titled album is just stupid. What’s next? Is eBay going to stop allowing breast pumps to be sold because someone might take a photo of a mother using one that ends up on Facebook?

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10 comments on “eBay’s Hypocritical Censorship
  1. Eric in SF says:

    Thomas, I bet it’s because of this:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2008/12/wikipedia_is_censored.html

    The hysteria over child porn is firmly in prosecutor hands worldwide and no one wants to be pulled into court by a grandstanding prosecutor.

    You should send every instance of a naked baby/toddler to eBay. Flood them with their own BS.

  2. Frank says:

    Ah, the famous “British cover” of the Blind Faith album. When it came out, the US version was kind of a brown paper, with just a small picture of the band and the name in a hand-made font.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_faith#Album_release_and_controversy

    Amazon’s certainly gotten past it, if you look in its listings. Really too bad about eBay – – but we know which side Meg Whitman was on between McCain and Obama! Wouldn’t be PRUdent!

  3. How on earth does that censorship protect children in any way? At this point, it’s not about protecting kids at all; it’s about legislating prudishness under false pretenses.

  4. Stefan says:

    maybe it is because this cover looks very ugly.

  5. siamshopmarket buy sell shopping

  6. Benedict says:

    Wonder who is hypocritical in this case.

    What I see on the mentioned cover is a young girl with developing breast and an airplane-shaped dildo in her hands. How can anyone seriously compare pederast porn like this with a swimming baby like on the Nevermind cover?

    This is of course a sexually loaded pic and shooting this kind of imagery with minors should be prosecuted as sexual abuse.

  7. haha says:

    Benedict your the only one who took that space ship for a dildo, so maybe people are the issue here not the album cover

  8. Alex says:

    With or without the plane it’s a poor comparison TH is making. Sure you could do better than that.

  9. ryan says:

    sorry thomas, this is not so cut and dried as you insist. this particular image does (for me) constitute crossing the line and i can see why ebay acted the way they did.

  10. Mark says:

    I left a post on a Discussion board today – my first – it was removed within minures and I was santioned for 7 days. These guys are running scared. Here is (was) my post.

    I am concerned that Ebay has lost its way. I used to come to Ebay first for all of my needs – now I go somewhere else. Usually the prices are higher on Ebay and I dont know who it is coming from. I can buy most things cheaper from a reputable company and have some kind of warranty. I used to be able to get a deal on Ebay – but now it seems there are just multiple listings from the same people or companies with higher prices over and over. This cannot last – I see Ebay going away or changing dramatically.