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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

E-meter Incompatible with Ebay

posted by on February 19 at 15:38 PM

In 2000, nerd news mecca Slashdot reported that eBay was actively complying with Church of Scientology requests to take down auctions of used e-meters. At the time, eBay’s explanation went as follows: “…someone who claims to be an owner of Intellectual property can send a notice sworn under penalty of perjury that an item is infringing.” Plenty is said in the Slashdot piece about the ridiculousness of that allegation, along with the legal reasons nobody has challenged it—or, more specifically, has enough cash to file suit. Because they blew all their cash on those e-meters in the first place. Vicious cycle, much?

The story has resurged this week because this auction-canceling process has become mighty efficient. As reported by Reality Based Community, it turns out the CoS is now removing e-meter and other Scientology auction listings as a member of eBay’s VeRO program. Wuz that mean?

If you’re uninitiated to eBay, you’d probably think that for each of these removals, the Church of Scientology informs eBay of the violation of its rights, eBay considers the merits of their argument, and then only then does eBay yank the listing. But that’s not what happens at all. Instead, eBay effectively deputizes Scientology, which logs into eBay and removes the listings itself.

VeRO was started to help legitimate companies clear out widespread false auctions (fake designer handbags, etc.) without nagging eBay over and over. Thanks to creative legal wording, the CoS is in the legal clear to join the program until someone effectively complains, even though it further blurs the CoS’s line between religion and business. The whole thing cracks me up, really—with all of the negative press Scientology has gotten lately, are their leaders really worried about a booming stay-at-home membership surge? Do these new Scientologists join up after taking a particularly brutal personality survey on MySpace? Is an outlet store on the horizon in Burien? Quit with the overreacting, guys. Resold Scientology equipment will never have the same effect as the original material—the good shit. Handed to you by someone who can stand at your side and tell you that you’re not good enough yet. Everybody knows an e-meter’s worthless without that new-insecurity smell.

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In other, semi-related news:

Why is the Stranger supporting the Candidacy of Eric Cantor, Chief Deputy Whip, and the House GOP's Most Valuable Player for re-election?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | February 19, 2008 4:10 PM


Posted by Big Sven | February 19, 2008 4:13 PM

And, yet, meteorites are still fine to buy on eBay ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 19, 2008 4:47 PM

@1, what on earth are you talking about?

Posted by Fnarf | February 19, 2008 5:31 PM

You want some fun, build your own e-meter. It's not like they're real complicated.

Posted by Greg | February 19, 2008 5:53 PM

The Stranger advertisements, alongside Slog postings, are for Republican Congressmen, and sponsored by someone other than The Stranger (but from whom, I suppose, The Stranger accepts money...)

Posted by NapoleonXIV | February 19, 2008 9:16 PM

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