eBay Censors

Arbitrary censorship of what is sold on eBay

24th January

Comment: eBay Censors...

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The arbitrary vision of censorship on eBay

I recently listed a DVD on ebay, which is readily available at on amazon, play.com, etc and my local HMV has it on the shelves. eBay have deemed this DVD unsuitable for sale, and have pulled my listing. The DVD in question was Baise Moi.

To quote eBay: Sexually orientated adult material is meant for people who are 18 years and older. Materials adult in nature are not permitted on eBay, as they breach laws in the United Kingdom and many other countries. Some items, though legal to sell to adults outside of eBay, are still restricted on the site.

So eBay, consider an 18 film to be illegal. A very dangerous precedent. What I do find strange is they allow DVDs of Lady Chatterley's Lover and copies of the Emmanuelle books to be listed. Again to quote eBay: Any materials clearly designed to sexually arouse the viewer/reader are prohibited. I thought both of the above were designed to sexually arouse the viewer/reader. Maybe I am wrong.

Comment: eBay Censors Follow-up

21st January 2010. Thanks to Paul

I concur with Trog having come-up against this a few times, most recently trying to sell Larry Clark's Ken Park DVD, being told it was banned in Australia and therefore my listing needed changing so Australian's couldn't bid on it (I live in the UK) plus it contained the dreaded Any materials clearly designed to sexually arouse the viewer/reader ! Crazy, considering films such as Caligula, 9 Songs , etc. etc. can be cheerfully traded on the site despite having similar levels of sexual activity.

A few years ago I tried to sell a copy of Puppetry of the Penis . Despite being rated only 15, eBay deemed this too strong and asked me to withdraw the DVD...

As an aside whilst shopping in Sainsbury's recently we used the self-scan facility. Scanning a bleach based product went through without a hitch, however we couldn't proceed with a 12 rated DVD without the intervention of an assistant to confirm we weren't children! Apparently it even requires intervention on PG rated DVDs too - despite being discretionary.

Comment: Re eBay Censors

22nd January 2010. Thanks to DarkAngel

I've had similar run-ins with Ebay myself, it seems they have a very strict policy against "strong adult content" which goes beyond pornography, however no one who works for them seems to know why this is.

I had a listing for I Spit on Your Grave pulled, I duly complained stating that it was a legimate release, not a bootleg, and that it was the toned down UK version which had been censored and rated 18 by the BBFC and was freely available from Amazon and ordinary high street stores like HMV and even WHSmiths and Woolworths (they were still going at the time).

They responded that the UK release still fell foul of their policies on strong adult material and the fact that it was available elsewhere made no difference to whether they were going to allow it.

I asked why they felt the need to prohibit this material, they said because they regarded it as being unsuitable to be sold by them. I pressed them as to why they regarded it as unsuitable, they said because their legal team had a list of films they considered in breach of this policy. So I asked why they felt the need to have such a policy, they said because they consider certain films unsuitable and round and round the answers went (in a scene rather reminiscent of a Monty Python sketch) until they eventually stopped replying to me.

It was just one circular reason after another, you couldn't pin them down as to why, so I could only conclude that they didn't know and the decision was down to someone higher up.

It does seem, judging by their arbitrary decision making, that the people who make up these lists of films to block don't really know which ones do and don't breach their policies as they are blissfully unaware of the many films with similar content that continue to be happily traded, until someone tips them off about it (I bought and sold numerous different uncut VHS and DVD versions of I Spit on Your Grave back when Ebay were still relatively new on the scene).

Also, they have been known to pull auctions solely based on a films title. A colleague of mine listed some films that had been released by the company "X-rated" (they're a German/Austrian cult movie label). Of course Ebay saw the words X rated in the description and duly pulled the lot thinking X rated referred to the content, as opposed to the name of the distributors.

I've said this before but back in the early days, Ebay were quite liberal with the sort of stuff you could sell on their site, as long as it wasn't porn. Now that they've cornered the market and wiped out the competition, they seem to be trying to impose their moral views on what can and cant pass through their site, which is probably why, according to the news this morning, more and more people are defecting to Amazon marketplace.

Comment: Ebay double-standards

24th January 2010. Thanks to Jon

Have just read your articles on eBay's double- standards over adult/extreme horror DVD's. It was interesting to here that eBay claim such titles like the BBFC-approved and heavily-censored edition of I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE aren't allowed to be sold, and yet I found lots of copies, as below...

Search eBay for I Spit on Your Grave

Also, if you type in the words Porn DVD , you get plenty of more dubious materials, such as Amateur Porn Star Killer .

EBay really do need to get their act together, and either ban everyone selling specific titles, or allow anything that is legal in the seller's/purchaser's own country.


1st February

Update: Little Hitlers at eBay...

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Dad's Army game banned at eBay

Auction site eBay has backed down after banning the sale of a rare Dad's Army board game for promoting hatred and racial intolerance .

The game, originally released in the mid-70s at the height of the much-loved TV series' popularity, was deemed offensive because it contains a picture of a swastika.

Just like the opening title sequence of the show, the board game box depicts arrows bearing swastikas and Union Jack flags moving across a map of Europe.

Seller Dave Davidson, who bought the game at a car boot sale, was amazed when eBay removed his item from the site. He told the Worcester News: I want to expose eBay for what they are - a laughing stock. They allow coins and stamps with swastikas and there are hundreds of novels which are war stories that have them. It's ridiculous that they can't use any common sense. Dad's Army is the most harmless TV programme in the world.

Davidson discovered his item had been removed from the site when he received an e-mail from eBay.

He told the paper it explained that his listing breached the company's offensive material policy. It said: We don't allow sellers on eBay to list items that promote violence, hatred, racial or religious intolerance, or items from organisations that promote these views. We don't allow items or memorabilia associated with the Nazi Party.

However, the site has now said it will allow him to sell the game but Davidson has decided to hang on to it: I think I'll keep it as a souvenir to political correctness gone mad.



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