J.K.Rowling’s attempt to hold eBay responsible for the scammers who sell illegal Harry Potter ebooks on the site has gone populist, with fansites Mugglenet and JKR’s Army getting up a petition to demand that eBay police every single Harry Potter item sold on the site.
Hundreds of huge multinationals use eBay’s VeRO programme quite successfully to protect their intellectual property. No one from Rowling’s management team has been able to explain why they are incapable of using this, but instead must demand special treatment. If eBay stops being an open market place and instead has to potentially police and take legal responsbility for every item listed by sellers, this will be the end of the site as we know it: fees will go through the roof to pay for thousands of extra support staff, and more thousands of innocent sellers will be forced out of business. Perhaps to Rowling, famously richer than the Queen, this doesn’t matter: for thousands of children, and their parents, it does.
As usual, some hacks have spun this into a tale of “war on eBay”, as well as making close-to-libellous statements implying that just about everything sold on eBay is a fake. (Frankly, Ms. Brantley, perhaps you should stick with your diet and figuring out how to put bottles in a recycling bank. 🙄 ) Perhaps we should all take a calm step backwards here, and realise just who is a fault: eBay are not selling the ebooks, and Rowling and her lawyers should be going after the criminals, not the innocent parties. Moreover, they should consider who is *buying* the ebooks: aren’t these the very same Harry Potter fans from whom Rowling has made her millions? The fansites themselves should be trying to oust the traitors in their midst.