JKR vs. eBay, Round 2
Sep 12, 2005
Jo Rowling has posted an update to the eBay situation we posted about a few days ago. In short, nine of 10 of eBay’s JKR signatures, Jo Rowling estimates, are on items she has never been near, much less autographed. JKR urged eBay to adopt a better screening policy and for Potter fans not only to do the same, but to avoid using eBay to acquire “collectibles.”
eBay says, through a spokesperson, that consumers should police their site, and then also says it is up to the copyright owner to report violations (in other words, Jo should tell them personally when things are fake). What does Jo say? I have!. She updated her site:
Ebay might be interested to learn that most Harry Potter fans are children, whose ability to verify the authenticity of signatures is not to be entirely trusted. Meanwhile Hani Durzi seems unaware that I have advised Ebay repeatedly, through my legal representative, that many signatures for sale on their site appear to be fake, but have yet to see any reduction in the number of forgeries on offer….What I am calling for is prevention rather than cure (which has had limited effect here in any event). After all, reputable booksellers and auction houses take steps to ensure that signatures are genuine BEFORE they put them up for sale. The current situation has Ebay profiting from the Ebay users relentless scamming of Harry Potter fans while, in effect, telling them that they have no-one but themselves – or me – to blame.
And that’s the crux of it, so here’s our editorial on the matter: eBay is clearly unwilling to cut off a branch of its business that makes untold amounts in commissions from illegal activities. These illegal activities prey upon children most often. Come on, eBay. The “well, we didn’t know it was fake!” argument can’t be held when you’re quite aware now that most of them are. Employ some screening protocols and join the thousands of established, respected, honest business sellers in the world who think it far worse to profit from scams than to bump up their sales. This is not Jo Rowling trying to retain profits from these items – most autographed items go to charity anyway, and I think we’re all in agreement that she’s not the type to scrabble after red cents. She’s protecting her readers – why don’t you protect yours?