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?