Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Censorship Your Rights Online

Scientology Given Direct Access To eBay Database 684

Posted by kdawson
from the finger-on-the-scale dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Church of Scientology can delete auctions from eBay with no supervision under the VeRO program, and has used this to delete all resale of the e-meters Scientologists use. This is to stop members from buying used units from ex-members instead of buying from the official (and very expensive) source. Given Scientology's record of fraud and abuse, should eBay give them this level of trust? Will this set a precedent for other companies that want to stop the aftermarket resale of their products?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Scientology Given Direct Access To eBay Database

Comments Filter:
  • Don't tell Chef but (Score:5, Informative)

    by qw(name) (718245) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @03:50PM (#22478940) Journal
    Just go to Radio Shack and buy an ohmmeter. They're a lot cheaper.
    • by rishistar (662278) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @03:55PM (#22479038) Homepage
      But I'm Hindu you insensitive clod! I have to use an Aum [wikipedia.org]-meter for my religious measurements!
    • by thanksforthecrabs (1037698) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:12PM (#22479338)
      Does this mean my "What Would Xenu Do?" t-shirt isn't legal?
      • by Bobb Sledd (307434) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:57PM (#22480024) Homepage
        No, it's OK. "Xenu do" was already a movie from the 80's starring Olivia Newton-John.

      • by flyingsquid (813711) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @05:03PM (#22480098)
        Does this mean my "What Would Xenu Do?" t-shirt isn't legal?

        The problem with "WWXD?" is that it's just not a terribly useful guiding philosophy. For instance, imagine you're in a situation where you're having trouble getting along with your coworkers, and so you ask yourself, "WWXD?" The answer is that Xenu would round up his coworkers, put them on some starships shaped like DC-8 airliners, ship them to the distant reaches of the galaxy, and then nuke them into oblivion. So, as you can see, "WWXD?" has two major problems:

        First, the solution is *always* to put people on spaceships shaped like 1950s-era jet airliners and then nuke them, because that's all we know about Xenu. "WWXD?" dictates that you put people on DC-8 shaped spaceships and then nuke them in any situation, whether it's marital problems, dealing with the poor, or feeling frustrated that you dropped your grilled cheese sandwich: just round up a bunch of people, put them on airplane-shaped spaceships, and then drop a bunch of H-bombs on them. It's just not very flexible as a philosophy.

        The second issue with the "WWXD?" philosophy is more practical. Xenu was an evil galactic overlord. As a galactic overlord, he had lots of resources, in particular, lots of minions and henchmen to round people up and put them on spaceships, and lots of spaceships shaped like DC-8s, and lots of thermonuclear bombs. Unless you have access to similar resources, "WWXD?" is just not practical to apply to your everyday life. Although I admit, when I think of how to deal with Scientologists, and then ask "WWXD?", I have to admit that the philosophy does have some appeal.

        • by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @05:42PM (#22480568) Homepage
          The second issue with the "WWXD?" philosophy is more practical. Xenu was an evil galactic overlord. As a galactic overlord, he had lots of resources, in particular, lots of minions and henchmen to round people up and put them on spaceships, and lots of spaceships shaped like DC-8s, and lots of thermonuclear bombs. Unless you have access to similar resources, "WWXD?" is just not practical to apply to your everyday life.

          I agree this is a big problem. I don't know about any of you, but all my spaceships are shaped like DC-10s.
        • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @06:06PM (#22480944) Homepage Journal

          "WWXD?"
          Scientologists are now allowed access to the eBay database without supervision? Shit-fire, these whackjobs shouldn't be allowed access to public transportation without supervision.

          What is eBay thinking? I'm not going to read TFA because it'll probably make my head hurt, but I'm hoping this was some oversight on eBay's part and the outcry is going to make them re-evaluate this "vErO" policy or whatever the hell it's called. I don't see why anybody should have this level of access to eBay besides the folks who administer the site. So this means that if I put a used computer up for sale on eBay Microsoft can delete it because there's a good chance that it has Windows on it? Disney can delete my auction of a used copy of The Little Mermaid? Or how about Apple being able to delete my auction of an old iPod (including 5000 mp3s)?

          I suppose it's just too much trouble to expect a third party to have to write a C&D letter to eBay, sort of like how it's too much trouble for the NSA to get an after-the-fact warrant signed by a judge before they listen in on the phone calls of US citizens.

          I'd like to say I'll never deal with eBay again, except for the fact that I've never dealt with eBay in the first place. I do like to barter through the Illinois Trade Association, though. If you think auctions are a cool way to do business, you really need to check out barter. It's one way to keep the government out of your grill.
  • short answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Romancer (19668) <(romancer) (at) (deathsdoor.com)> on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @03:50PM (#22478942) Journal
    Short answer, no.

    This is favoritism. Microsoft doesn't even have this ability to stop the resale of their software.
    • Re:short answer (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AoT (107216) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @03:53PM (#22478982) Homepage Journal
      It isn't even favoritism, it's outright stupid given CoS' past abuses.
      • Re:short answer (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Brian Gordon (987471) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @03:56PM (#22479060)
        It's outright stupid, period. Why does ebay give this power to anyone? What do they possibly stand to gain from it? And how on earth does the CoS, or anyone, restrict after-market resale of their products? It's called the free market and it's America. Licensing software is one thing, but a physical object? What ?
        • Re:short answer (Score:5, Informative)

          by AoT (107216) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:04PM (#22479198) Homepage Journal
          eBay explains here [ebay.com] why they do it. I would guess that it's easier for them(read: costs less money) to simply let the companies do the work of deleting auctions, rather than have the company call or email eBay every time they want something taken down.

          I especially love their section on how things won't be mistakenly removed:

          How eBay helps to ensure that listings aren't mistakenly removed. A rights owner reporting through VeRO must be registered through VeRO before reporting items to us. Rights owners sign legally binding documents when reporting items to eBay.
          Ooooh! Legal binding documents, I feel so safe.
          • My guess is... (Score:5, Informative)

            by an.echte.trilingue (1063180) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:11PM (#22479324) Homepage
            It's probably cheaper for Ebay to simply acquiesce to the CoS demands than to meet them in court. Even if they win, they may never see their legal fees recovered. There is less risk involved in giving in, too: they loose almost nothing if they yank the items, but could potentially lose a fortune if they don't.

            The Scientologists are just that scary.
            • Re:My guess is... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:22PM (#22479510) Homepage
              Scientology must die. It was already a sign that they are beyond control when they can intimidate the IRS let alone eBay. I find it amazing that they've been able to do what they've done to this point. They are indeed frightening and that is reason enough to want the whole operation disbanded. I wonder how the EU is doing with the CoS? Last I heard some member nations were refusing to recognize them as a religion.

              It's a given that CoS will abuse eBay's information. I guess it's already too late to purge my account.
              • Re:My guess is... (Score:5, Informative)

                by KublaiKhan (522918) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:39PM (#22479726) Homepage Journal
                Germany, especially, which is launching an investigation into their practices.

                You may be interested in the phenomenon of Anonymous--a sort of movement that has coalesced to fight against the abuses of the Church of Scientology.

                Interestingly, the 'official' position (if so nebulous a thing can have anything 'official') is not that the -religion- of scientology is wrong and evil, but that the -organization- that calls itself the 'Church of Scientology' does not deserve tax exemption, recognition as a church, etc.

                I've been keeping track of Anonymous for some time--they seem to be the origin of many of the various memes that end up getting popular, so they seem to work well as a sort of miner's canary when discerning the opinion of the internet in general. This is, to my knowledge, the first time that this particular phenomenon has occurred--an internet movement that has had significant international effect in the real world. What makes it even more interesting is that it -has no leaders-. Somehow, out of total anarchy, it's managed to coalesce a sort of identity to itself, and has directed attention towards a single goal.

                At any rate, it appears that as a followup to the February 10th protests (which were remarkable in themselves in that they were entirely without violence and none of the protesters in any of the countries were arrested--that has to be a first, in a protest of that scope) there are another series of protests being planned for March 15th--sort of a "Happy Birthday" to Hubbard, whose birthday was apparently March 13th and not conveniently on a Saturday this year. I've also heard some mention of plans for April, but not being an Anon, I don't know the details.

                IIRC, one of the Anonymous-sponsored websites is youfoundthecard.com; it's worth looking into.
              • Re:My guess is... (Score:5, Interesting)

                by an.echte.trilingue (1063180) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:40PM (#22479752) Homepage
                Where I live, Belgium, they are not considered a religion. Neither are they in Germany [germany.info]:

                On November 11, 2004 the Administrative Court in Cologne ruled that the monitoring of SO Germany by the Office for the Protection of the Consitution is lawful. The Court underlined that there are clear indications that the SO pursues anticonstitutional activities directed at abolishing the human rights guaranteed in the Basic Constitutional Law (Grundgesetz). An appeal at the Higher Administrative Court in Münster is pending.
                This is, interestingly, also the only group that does not benefit from some of the basic advances of the European integration. For example, Scientologists have been excluded from the free circulation of workers since Van Duyn v Home Office in 1974 [peterjepson.com].

          • Re:short answer (Score:5, Interesting)

            by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:12PM (#22479332) Homepage Journal

            Filing a Copyright Counter Notice. For listings that have been removed at the request of the rights owner for copyright infringement, you may have the option of filing a Counter Notice with eBay if you feel that your listings were removed in error and you have not been able to come to an agreement with the rights owner.

            A Counter Notice is a form provided by eBay in compliance with the requirements of the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The form is a legal document that requires you to, among other things, certify under sworn penalty of perjury that your listings were not infringing and were removed by mistake or misidentification. When you sign a Counter Notice, you will also have to consent to federal jurisdiction and service of process. Please read this form carefully, so you fully understand what you agree to if you choose to submit it to eBay.

            Once a valid Counter Notice is submitted, eBay will provide a copy of the notice to the reporting party and will advise them that the listings will be reinstated after 10 business days if we do not hear from the reporting party that they have filed an action seeking a court order to restrain you from re-listing the items.
            This part is interesting. Assuming eBay doesn't just file 13 these counterclaim notices, I wonder which way a Federal court would rule on it? I don't see where they have legal grounds for a copyright case on a hardware device that you're just reselling. I'm not sure many people want to deal with the CoS lawyers long enough to find out though.
        • Re:short answer (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Teun (17872) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:48PM (#22479888) Homepage

          It's outright stupid, period. Why does ebay give this power to anyone?
          Because CO$ has a lot of nasty lawyers.
          They run a despicable business that can only survive thanks to litigation.

          This story of E-bay associating with CO$ cannot possibly be good for E-bay's reputation.
    • Re:short answer (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:10PM (#22479290) Journal
      You know, I simply don't understand why the government lets $cientology have its cake and eat it too. If they're a religion, then they shouldn't be afforded all these civil protections. I'm not going to get sued by my local Catholic Diocese if I print nasty bits from the Bible or some part of the latest Papal encyclical.

      I think the government should give $cientology a choice; either be a religion, in which case you can't sue, you can't seek special favors from companies over the resale of your products, and so forth, or you're not a religion, and you're a business, in which case you've got to pay taxes on moneys or products changing hands.

      And in either case, their lawyers should be disbarred for multiple cases of malicious prosecution.

      Or, in short form, FUCK $CIENTOLOGY.
      • Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:38PM (#22479710)
        If someone is drinking the Scientology Kool Aid, then does it really matter whether or not they get discounted second hand equipment? If Scientology has their hooks into you they will get your money one way or another.

        What they're really trying to control is the purchase of scientology collectables by non-scientologists.

  • Is this legal? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by obstalesgone (1231810) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @03:51PM (#22478946) Homepage
    Is it, in general, legal to allow a vendor to prevent the resale of their product? I don't understand why this would be considered beneficial to society or why it wouldn't be considered monopolistic.

    Of course, I'm no lawyer, but I've heard that everyone on Slashdot is.
    • this = Scientology (Score:5, Interesting)

      by eleuthero (812560) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @03:57PM (#22479078)
      Though the fraud claim will probably lead to slashdot getting sued, Germany http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Top_News/2007/12/08/scientology_facing_ban_in_germany/5643/ [upi.com] and several other countries have taken steps to limit scientology within their borders. While many might seek to compare this to the actions of many Islamist states, scientology's claims often involve situations that fall under racketeering laws not aspects of religious freedom.
    • Re:Is this legal? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @03:58PM (#22479084)
      I'm an eBay PowerSeller, and I can tell you that it's rampant. eBay's "VeRO" program is regularly abused by liars who have no right to interfere in aftermarket sales of their products, gambling on the fact that you won't file in federal court to contest their "good faith" declarations.
    • Re:Is this legal? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Romancer (19668) <(romancer) (at) (deathsdoor.com)> on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @03:59PM (#22479102) Journal
      Preventing the resale is one thing, direct access to a market is unprecidented. Since scientology doesn't actually own these devices any longer and ebay has given then direct access to removing these devices from private sale this is definatly a step over the line.

      Imagine if the makers of the other products out there followed suit. You would not be able to purchase second hand goods. Only directly from the original outlet. Kinda stifles the economy since the majority of vehicles out there are purchased as used items. Just one example but it would have a very bad impact if this method of controlling profit spreads.
    • by Quadraginta (902985) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:39PM (#22479744)
      E-Bay is private firm, and they're free to list or not list sales on their site for any reason whatsoever, including because the "Church" of Scientology asserts some utterly bogus intellectual property right, or because they just feel like it.

      The C of S is not "preventing the resale of their product," they're just preventing the resale through E-Bay and with E-Bay's cooperation. You can still put an ad in the paper and sell it, or put up a notice in your neighborhood market, or just walk around town with a sign attached to you saying "E-Meter Cheap!"

      And who gives a shit what the lawyers think? Why should the law be relevant here? This isn't a question you want the lawyers thinking about, because you can be damn sure that any solution they think up is going to cost you far more in cash and personal liberty than you would like to part with. Do you want there to be a law telling you what you can and cannot sell on your personal website? Do you want to have to get your Craigslist ad vetted by the police before it can go up? Do you want the FBI to have the right to interrogate you about whether you sold your pet cat or unused furniture to the right people, and in the right way?

      Christ, let us keep the lawyers in the fridge, OK? If there's a big market for secondhand E-meters, and E-Bay foolishly foregoes it because they want to keep the Scientologists happy, then let someone start up a private website devoted to reselling E-Meters, and he will make scads of money, more than enough to dare the "Church" to sue him, and get their clueless clock cleaned and get hit for beaucoup lawyer fees on top of it.

      But what I suspect is that ex-Scientologists who want to recoup some of the financial loss associated with their recent vacation from rationality are a very small group, and while it kinda sucks that when there's very few of you and a whole lot of someone else (in this case, non-ex-Scientologists, or pre-ex-Scientologists), you have to tread carefully, that's just life in a wide-open democracy. It's not like an intelligent and determined person can't work around this problem fairly easily. I'm sure if I had an E-Meter to sell, I could do it easily enough without E-Bay or the Church getting a clue. Probably my 16-year-old could, too.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @03:51PM (#22478948)
    Seems to me that given the recent Project Chanology protests against Scientology, this would be the perfect time for Anonymous to organize a massive boycott of eBay. Or worse, expand their DOS and hack attacks to include eBay, since they're cooperating with the CoS.

    Posting this AC because, frankly, I don't want anybody to think I'm advocating this. I'm just saying I wouldn't be surprised if it happened.
  • by superwiz (655733) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @03:51PM (#22478952) Journal
    It could be just the media frenzy making a bigger deal of isolated incidents than the real deal is, but it seems like the group is both paranoid and vindictive. I am more worried about them trying to use this as an opportunity to supress criticism than to use it to supress second hand resales. Although why one shouldn't be able to resell one's physical property in a free contry is beyond me.
  • by Reality Master 201 (578873) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @03:51PM (#22478954) Journal
    Do they just have the ability to delete sales, or do they also have access to the details of who's been bidding, selling, and buying?

    Yet another reason to not use EBay or PayPal.
  • Curious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jav1231 (539129) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @03:51PM (#22478966)
    Who knew the NSA is the least the vast conspiracy-minded unwashed have to fear.

    I wonder who at eBay is high up the kook-chain in Scientology?

    • Re:Curious (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dekortage (697532) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:09PM (#22479270) Homepage

      Well, if you RTFA, it has nothing to do with insider knowledge. Instead:

      "The mechanism that permits the Church of Scientology (and others) such broad access and discretion is called the Verified Rights Owner ("VeRO") Program. Membership in VeRO is obtained simply by submitting a form to eBay explaining that you are an Intellectual Property rights holder. ... It should come as little surprise that VeRO members routinely overreach, as the cost of challenging a listing removal is almost always prohibitive. ... The VeRO Program makes a great deal of sense for some types of listings -- counterfeit Rolexes and Gucci handbags appear on eBay with such frequent regularity that those companies would be hard pressed to handle these trademark violations any other way."

      eBay has more info about their VeRO program [ebay.com].

      Basically, the original summary is misleading: lots of companies (e.g. copyright/trademark holders) have access to directly delete auctions on eBay. The Slyentologists are only one of many (but they're fun to pick on!).

  • by PrinceAshitaka (562972) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @03:53PM (#22478992) Homepage
    If I am the manufaturer of a widgit, what do I have to do to gain access to Ebay to delete whatever auctions I want? Do I just have to write in the EULA that I have this right and then go onto Ebay and delete the auctions of competitors.
  • F-meter (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @03:55PM (#22479034)
    I think their membership is ready for an F-meter which indicates just how much they are being fucked over by their own church.
  • Uh, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ack154 (591432) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @03:56PM (#22479050)
    I was under the impression this was exactly the kind of reason eBay existed. "hey, i don't use this junk anymore, what'll you give me for it?" If the "church" was really given this kind of power, that's just not right.

    Perhaps if they wanted to curb the resale of their devices, they should offer some sort of buy back program? They'll still turn around and sell them again and make a profit.
  • Off topic, yet... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @03:57PM (#22479074)
    "Shawn Lonsdale, whose one-man crusade against Scientology made him a public enemy of the church, was found dead at his home over the weekend in an apparent suicide. He was 39."

    http://www.xenu-directory.net/critics/lonsdale1.html [xenu-directory.net]

    That's pretty sad.
    • mod parent up (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:19PM (#22479458)
      This is important and it is relevant to the main story, because Co$ victims are often first thought to have committed suicide. There is a direct link between the main story and this news. Co$ is a dangerous cult.
  • by Knara (9377) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:00PM (#22479118)

    ...to stop using eBay to sell your used stuff.

  • by sweetser (148397) <sweetser@alum.mit.edu> on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:00PM (#22479128) Homepage
    It is a privilege to do everything in our power for Tom. This crap is so valuable, you should pay a lot to prove you are a sucker.
  • Thats it! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Coraon (1080675) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:01PM (#22479158)
    I will not work with ANY company that works with those evil *deleted*. I will no longer use e-bay or paypal. they want my business back, go neutral or allow all religious groups to delete auctions.
  • indulgences (Score:5, Funny)

    by SoupGuru (723634) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:04PM (#22479202)
    Hopefully the Catholics won't find out I've been reselling my indulgences too!
  • VERO Program (Score:4, Informative)

    by dcollins (135727) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:05PM (#22479220) Homepage

    It's pretty obvious from the early comments that not many people RTFA. (Comments like, "I wonder who at eBay is high up the kook-chain in Scientology?" and all that.) This is an established EBay program called VERO that Scientology has joined, like a bunch of other manufacturers, and (big surprise) happens to be abusing.

    The mechanism that permits the Church of Scientology (and others) such broad access and discretion is called the Verified Rights Owner ("VeRO") Program. Membership in VeRO is obtained simply by submitting a form to eBay explaining that you are an Intellectual Property rights holder.

    It should come as little surprise that VeRO members routinely overreach, as the cost of challenging a listing removal is almost always prohibitive. (See my paper on this subject here, and see the brave husband and wife exception to this rule here.) The VeRO Program makes a great deal of sense for some types of listings--counterfeit Rolexes and Gucci handbags appear on eBay with such frequent regularity that those companies would be hard pressed to handle these trademark violations any other way.

  • by MECC (8478) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:06PM (#22479224)
    If what they want is to put an end to their online existence. Giving CoS carte blanc to delete auctions is worse that putting the fox in charge of the hen house. Was Ebay, presumable savvy to how the Internet works, thinking nobody would notice this? What kind of drugs do you have to take to get that delusional?

  • Wonderful (Score:3, Funny)

    by LittleGuy (267282) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:08PM (#22479250)
    Now where am I going to go to resell my Top Gun action figures or my White Tony Manuro Disco Suit?
  • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:10PM (#22479300) Homepage
    A quick google for "e-meter schematic" reveals about 1200 pages. The first few that I checked have the circuit diagram for the e-meter, often directly drawn from L. Ron Hubbard's 1966 patent.

    For those who can't figure out the diagram, it's basically a Wheatstone bridge with a simple (crappy) differential amplifier. It's the sort of thing anyone could build from pennies worth of components.
  • by arkham6 (24514) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:14PM (#22479368)
    The government is not stopping sale of e-meters, and eBay, as a private vendor, can fully decide what and what not can be sold on their site. If they choose not to allow sale of e-meters, then thats their prerogative.

    The CoS is not doing anything illegal either, since they are acting now as an agent of E bay.

    But I think a much better question is, what did scientology do to eBay to get them to agree to this?
  • by Entropius (188861) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:15PM (#22479382)
    Actually, Co$ could probably be sued for false advertising.

    The name of the product is the "Mark VIII Super Quantum E-meter". A Wheatstone bridge, however, works on completely classical principles.

    Or maybe resistance is quantized, with one quantum of resistance being equal to the extra resistance from one extra thetan hanging around?
    • by linuxguy1454 (856932) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:41PM (#22479766) Homepage
      The current version of the E-meter known as the "Mark VIII Super Quantum E-meter" is a highly modified version of the 60's patented version. So no, you could not come close to it's functionality with that original patent's design, and it is not just a Wheatstone bridge. So a lawsuit on false advertising wouldn't succeed.

      Also, as a result of the fruitless '60-s investication of the CoS and it's E-meters by the IRS, the church had to add a disclaimer on all E-meters sold since then that the device in itself did nothing and was only to be used by trained or in-training Scientology ministers. Perhaps this is one reason that is motivating them to control the resale of used E-meters- so that they aren't accused of violating that '60s ruling by the IRS.

      That's my $.02
      • It's functional? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Tony (765) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @05:16PM (#22480250) Journal

        ...you could not come close to it's functionality with that original patent's design...
        Uhm... what functionality is that, exactly? It seems it has one function: to separate fools from their money in the service of richer fools. In that way, it seems to work identically to the 1960's version, only with a cooler name.

        And: it sounds like it was named by an eight-year-old.
  • a bit misleading (Score:4, Informative)

    by qw0ntum (831414) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:15PM (#22479392) Journal
    The summary and title are a bit misleading. The CoS is removing listings using the VeRO [ebay.com] program, not getting "direct DB access" as is claimed. Still blatant abuse of the program, so their actions are definitely NOT defensible.

    Interestingly people who are targeted by this can file a DMCA counter claim and bring the issue into the court system. I hope this guy does that - maybe some of the CoS's practices can finally see the light of day.
    • by sholden (12227) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:40PM (#22479750) Homepage
      Not sure if scientologists are exactly the group I'd want ebay to "we can (and you authorize us to) disclose your User ID, name, street address, city, state, zip code, country, phone number, email, and company name to eBay VeRO Program participants as we in our sole discretion believe necessary or appropriate in connection with an investigation of fraud, intellectual property infringement, piracy, or other unlawful activity."

  • by cgfsd (1238866) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:21PM (#22479482)
    I would equate an E-meter to that of a condom. Two things you would never want to buy used and two things used for screwing people.
  • Holy crap NO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Weaselmancer (533834) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:27PM (#22479574)

    Given Scientology's record of fraud and abuse, should eBay give them this level of trust?

    The answer is right there. Would you want any group with Scientology's record of fraud and abuse to have access to anything important?

    What do you want to bet they'd pull auctions of other Scientology-questionable stuff that isn't e meters?

    Put a DVD copy of Anonymous' Scientology protests [youtube.com] up for sale and watch what happens. What do you want to bet that it winds up deleted? Blocking e meter sales my ass - this is nothing more than some goofy cult making decisions about what you're allowed to buy. Don't let it happen!

    These people are batshit fucking insane. Don't legitimize them by giving them any sort of power, control, or authority whatsoever.

  • by WolfTheWerewolf (84066) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:31PM (#22479616)
    ... so the CoS can get the name and address of the auction lister, then Fair Game them as they see fit.
    According to eBay's VeRO ToS they will gladly hand this information over.
  • by AtariDatacenter (31657) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:33PM (#22479648)
    That's wacky. Try it yourself... [ebay.com]
    In the search box type (without quotes) "emeter". If you type it with the quotes, that's different.
    What happens? You perform a search for "exeter"!

    I'm sure it isn't anything sinister, though. A search for "cimputer" is changed into a search for "computer". But it sure is confusing.
  • by Kashra (1109287) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:39PM (#22479728) Homepage
    Of course, another completely misleading headline and article summary.

    The VeRO program does not provide direct access to eBay's database to delete items. It is a fast-track for manufacturers to submit deletion requests for items they believe are infringing on their copyrights. Every time an auction is deleted, the VeRO program gives eBay the proper documents holding the manufacturers legally responsible for their claim of copyright infringement.

    Taking a simple look at the program's description [ebay.com] reveals that ANY auction being deleted through this program can be reinstated, automatically, by the user, within 10 days. They simply have to do the same thing the manufacturer did: claim legal responsibility for their auction, in writing.

    Now, there's no doubt that I, as a private individual, would never risk challenging the very well funded battery of lawyers the Church of Scientology has to keep me in line. Even though I know they have no leg to stand on, I can't afford the legal battle. But I wouldn't cry that its eBay's fault, when eBay gave me the option to directly challenge the "manufacturer".
  • by touretzky (215593) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:50PM (#22479922) Homepage
    Q: What's the difference between Microsoft and the Church of Scientology?

    A: One is a wealthy and powerful criminal enterprise bent on world domination, while the other, ah, ummm.... Microsoft has better health benefits.
  • by gleffler (540281) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @05:07PM (#22480144) Journal
    eBay has long since decided to deputize any company that feels like signing papers with complete and unfettered access to eBay. Anyone that signs a "legally binding document" can then gain power to delete any auction from eBay for whatever reason they feel like. If it's because of counterfeit or provably stolen product, that's fine, but eBay's history of repudiating first sale has really gotten tiring.

    Try reselling Weight Watchers program materials. They get deleted on a regular basis because Weight Watchers doesn't like it if you resell them. There's no legal basis for this, and if you push the issue with eBay, the response you get is "Well, they said they don't want you selling them, so too bad." They tell you to "take it up with Weight Watchers" who says "We say you can't sell them, and that's that."

    VeRO is a bullshit program that lets eBay wash their hands of legitimate issues on the site and that gives companies ridiculously too much power. Do you think that if I set up a stand at a flea market reselling legally acquired materials, that the flea market owners would stand for the publisher of those materials walking around with a rubber hose and yanking the items away if I tried to sell them?

    This isn't news, hopefully this just pushes VeRO into the public eye and convinces eBay to get rid of it, or to force "rights owners" (I wasn't aware that a "right to prevent resale" existed) to actually file individual complaints based on some sort of legal theory to delist an item, not just "We don't want these resold." Scn is abusing it like they abuse everything else, but this system seems to be made specifically to facilitate abuse.
  • by chord.wav (599850) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @06:08PM (#22480954) Journal
    Dear eBay,
    Get some balls.

    Sincerely,
    Me
  • by RecycledElectrons (695206) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @06:21PM (#22481118)
    This is the same thing that eBay has been doing since they killed my auctions in 1998.

    You see, Microsoft wanted to engage in illegal price fixing, and killed my auctions reselling copies of Microsoft software that I had won as door prizes.

    I had never agreed to a license agreement, so I was not bound by it, but eBay still allowed Microsoft to kill my auctions.

    It was only after I won my small-claims lawsuit against eBay for breech of contract, and another small claims court suit against Microsoft for slander that I got another eBay account. That's why my account says "since 1999."

    Anyway, great job hopping on this story 9 years later, /.

    Andy
  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @06:46PM (#22481486)

    An E-Meter is no match for the "Church of Jobs" iMeter!

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

Working...