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EBay Pressured To Block Sales of Ivory Products

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the first-they-came-for-the-ivory-guys dept.

The Internet 261

RickRussellTX writes "eBay is being pressured by an animal welfare group to ban sales of ivory and animal tooth products on its site. Although eBay is in compliance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species when it warns users that such postings may be inviolation of national and international law, the International Fund for Animal Welfare is demanding that they go a step further to search for and delete any posting of ivory products."

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261 comments

Have these people never taken an economics course? (5, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681423)

Where there is a demand, someone will supply, and a market will spring up. Perhaps eBay should get out on moral grounds, but if these folks think it will make a dent in the trade, they are naive.

Re:Have these people never taken an economics cour (5, Funny)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681479)

Time for me to start re-selling Ivory Soap on eBay if they do. I love to help other folks train their word filters. Like the NSA. God is great, isn't he?

Re:Have these people never taken an economics cour (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23682723)

my hovercraft is full of eels

Re:Have these people never taken an economics cour (5, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681483)

Yeah but black markets exist already and for many people the desire to possess such an item is not large enough to get involved with the black market.

Re:Have these people never taken an economics cour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23681573)

Now, it won't do much to hamper the trade but it will do something so why not do it since it doesn't require that much effort? The fact that the dent is likely to be tiny is not an excuse not to do it.

Re:Have these people never taken an economics cour (1, Insightful)

Clay Pigeon -TPF-VS- (624050) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681797)

If you outlaw all ivory products then the legitimate ones get screwed over too.

Then again that is the same premise behind gun control so /. will likely be ok with that.

You're a good example of why America is so screwed (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23682013)

The "right of the people" to keep murder weapons is archaic and backwards. We abolished slavery because it was unnecessary and wrong, and we should abolish gun ownership because it is unnecessary and wrong. Everyone likes to cite police response times as a factor in gun ownership but if the police did not have to worry about armed vigilante citizens they could go in with the knowledge that they are better-armed than whoever they might encounter and with no fear of being shot. Response times would improve and officer morale and safety would be increased a thousand times.

As far as I am concerned, there is no such thing as a legitimate gun trade.

Re:You're a good example of why America is so scre (2, Insightful)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682195)

... sigh...
Do you EVER listen to people?
A) there is more to gun ownership than killing people
B) outlawing guns will do NOTHING to ensure that the police will be better armed than whoever they're about to encounter. You know, the whole "If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns" thing.

Re:You're a good example of why America is so scre (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23682737)

Yes, there's more to gun ownership to killing people; There's also noise pollution, needless slaughter of innocent animals, and increased danger to your own family from misuse of your guns by your children and/or home invaders.

If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns, meaning police can shoot anyone holding a gun on sight without stopping to worry whether that person is a criminal or not.

There is no acceptable reason for a citizen of a civilized nation to own a weapon of any sort. If the police in your area are not doing their jobs properly, you should take it up with your government, not become a vigilante. If the government itself should decide to oppress you, then that's your fault for selecting a poor government.

Re:You're a good example of why America is so scre (1, Insightful)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682813)

That makes the HUGE assumption that I was actually involved in the selection of my government.

And, I'll note that the US Constitution specifically states that people have the right to bear arms... and one huge reason for that is in the event that they DO need to rebel against their government.

Re:You're a good example of why America is so scre (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23682877)

Gun Control: The theory that 110 pound women should have to fistfight with 220 pound rapists.

You're a good example of liberal fascism. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23682743)

*sarcasm* Oh, you're right! Nobody ever committed murder until the invention of the firearm, so if we divest ourselves of this terrible invention, we'll also eliminate murder!

Newsflash, a-hole. People have murdered each other since there were people, and they will continue to do so, be it with a knife, a club, or even a spoon. That is the problem with you liberals. You want to try to turn a dangerous world into a warm and safe cocoon for everyone, but the only way you can do so is through fascism. Your beliefs are as dangerous as they are ignorant. The data is overwhelming that gun bans only create victims. If someone is intent on committing murder, do you really think that a lesser law like a gun ban is going to stand in their way?

Re:Have these people never taken an economics cour (5, Insightful)

Candid88 (1292486) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681615)

So just because there's no magic bullet everyone should just let them do it unimpeded?

Same for drugs, kiddie-porn and nuke warhead sales?

With that mentality, why bother doing anything which isn't easily accomplished in one small step!

Re:Have these people never taken an economics cour (2, Funny)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681935)

Neil Armstrong reached the moon in one small step. Seems to me that's all we really need...

Re:Have these people never taken an economics cour (4, Insightful)

poptones (653660) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682017)

Where you gonna get a nuke warhead?

For the rest of your stupid argument - yes. Kiddie porn is already made, and drugs fall under "my body, my right."

Re:Have these people never taken an economics cour (2, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682591)

For the rest of your stupid argument - yes. Kiddie porn is already made, and drugs fall under "my body, my right."
At least until you wind up addicted and so far out of your mind you'll mug little old ladies to get your next fix.

Anyone who believes all these things should be legalised should live with a drug addict for 6 months. Believe me, it's not pretty.

Re:Have these people never taken an economics cour (1)

jcgf (688310) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682773)

If the laws weren't such that the prices become artificially inflated you would not have that problem as the drugs would be easily and cheaply available to the addicted.

Re:Have these people never taken an economics cour (1)

lbgator (1208974) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682461)

If there are victims then the activity should be illegal:

ivory: victim = animals & ecosystem => illegal.
drugs: victim = user => legal
kpron: victim = kids => illegal (think of the children)
nukes: victim = many many => illegal

I agree with your overall point though. This would be a very small step in stopping the illegal ivory trade, but a step nonetheless.

Re:Have these people never taken an economics cour (3, Funny)

happyemoticon (543015) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682757)

I'd say drug abuse definitely has a victim. In fact, anyone who's seen pictures of Amy Winehouse's skin condition has grounds to sue for emotional distress.

Re:Have these people never taken an economics cour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23682879)

It is not ebay's responsibility to enforce the law. Law enforcement is responsible for that. If some organization wants to monitor ebay in order to find and report crimes, they can do so using ebay's APIs.

Re:Have these people never taken an economics cour (1)

nickname29 (1240104) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682203)

Where there is a demand, someone will supply, and a market will spring up.

You know that some elephants are not endangered by far (e.g. the African elephant)? Do you know that elephants are being culled because there are too many of them and they fuck up the environment?

I suspect that this moratorium on ivory has nothing to do with conservation â" just like the ban on whaling has nothing to do with conservation (btw there are almost 200,000 minke whales â" they are by far not endangered, and sustainable use is possible).

This ban on ivory (and other products based on elephants) has a lot more to do with an agenda that certain âoeGreensâ push.

That will work great (5, Funny)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681429)

That will work great for my new eBay listing...

African Elephant - tusks removed - contains 0% Ivory!

Re:That will work great (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23681529)

Or mine - an elephant penis cudgel. It's infused with epoxy and guaranteed to never corrode or break when you crack it against the skull of some Free Mumia loser.

Re:That will work great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23682001)

I hear that the meat and shrunken heads of the real kook activists bring a Big profit at auctions in Africa

Re:That will work great (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682207)

Let me guess, you're going to inflate the shipping costs aren't you?

Re:That will work great (1)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682315)

Let me guess, you're going to inflate the shipping costs aren't you?
Nah, I'll just sell by the pound. That should make everyone happy.

Re:That will work great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23682551)

Sell what by the pound ?
the Ivory or the original sellers /hunters of the ivory ?

What do you call an activist(s) who ventures into the jungle to catch the original sellers of the Ivory?

Answer Activist soup

Pianos (4, Insightful)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681439)

Well then - how am I going to sell my old piano then?

Re:Pianos (3, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681733)

a lot of pianos, even many old pianos, use plastic rather than ebony and ivory keys.

Even when ivory was legal everywhere to buy, it was very, very expensive; thus it wasn't used in many pianos once plastic keys were invented

Re:Pianos (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23681913)

But some use a plastic center, and ivory veneers.

Re:Pianos (5, Interesting)

rivaldufus (634820) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682401)

It depends on the age. The pianos I had growing up were quite old and all had Ivory veneer. As far as I know, the actual key mechanism is always wood, with the veneer... the same is usually true with modern pianos - wooden key with plastic veneer.

Even ignoring the fact that someone killed an elephant to get the ivory for the keys, I've always hated playing on ivory keys as they would break more easily than plastic.

Re:Pianos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23681919)

Well then - how am I going to sell my old piano then?
You must remove all the white keys, have them ground back down and formed back into tusks for which these people can shove them back into the holes on the elephants that are missing theirs!

Scrimshaw (1)

cparker15 (779546) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682861)

...or my old 19th- and early-20th-century scrimshaw [wikipedia.org]? Much scrimshaw is passed down as heirlooms and was made when it was still legal to make it.

I'll skip to the end to save you some time (1)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681455)

eBay isn't going to do anything about it.

Ebay isn't interested in policing the existing business to protect users, so you can be damned sure it won't do anything for elephants.

Re:I'll skip to the end to save you some time (4, Interesting)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681843)

"Ebay isn't interested in policing the existing business"

That's not true. eBay bans stuff on its site all the time. Like MMORPG gold. And that's legal everywhere. Before you can decide whether or not eBay will choose to ban ivory, you need to figure out what criteria eBay uses to ban stuff.

In the case of MMORPG gold, it was because large corporations wanted them too (and probably paid them). If people with a lot of power ask them to ban ivory, they might do it. You're right about the little people though. eBay doesn't care about them.

Re:I'll skip to the end to save you some time (5, Funny)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682133)

You're right about the little people though. eBay doesn't care about them.
Nope, you can sell as many midgets as you want.

Re:I'll skip to the end to save you some time (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682327)

They restrict weapon sales too, which are *totally* legal if done according to the state/federal rules.

Who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23681469)

Law is the law... why give any attention or weight to what yet another "save this thing fund" wants to bitch about. If it's not Do It For The Children, it's Do It For The Planet/Animals.

Give me a break.

They can't... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23681471)

They're too busy doing away with important things like virtual items in MMOs!

Won't happen. (3, Interesting)

snarfies (115214) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681475)

Ebay does not give a crap, so long as they get their cut. Want proof? Go ahead and report any of the THOUSANDS of Taiwanese bootleg anime DVDs on Ebay and see if even one gets yanked.

I'll save you some time - they won't. Last time I tried (and this, I will confess, was almost a decade ago) I was told to provide proof that I was the copyright holder.

Re:Won't happen. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23681667)

> Ebay does not give a crap, so long as they get their cut. Want proof?

Will happen. E-Bay does not allow auctions of guns or gun part or most other gun related items, though they could make money from the sales.
http://news.cnet.com/2100-1017-221898.html

Politically they lean on the side of the tree huggers, so I'm sure they will help the animal lovers.. :)

Are you kidding? (5, Insightful)

Alaren (682568) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681781)

I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. But I don't think you have any standing to make complaints like that. Copyright infringement is generally a civil matter. If you think it reaches criminal levels, report it to the FBI for federal prosecution.

Second, I wish eBay actually stuck to that sort of behavior; when big companies demand takedowns, eBay often complies without verifying the complaint. In your case, they actually verified the complaint and (rightly) told you to go fly a kite.

Of course eBay wants their cut. They're a business. It's what businesses do. Policing every sale is not their job, and if they're going to open up a vast public marketplace, they have to presume their customers are following the terms of service unless and until they receive a legitimate complaint.

I know a lot of anime fans get really worked up about cheap pirated anime. It's a real problem. But I've had rabid fans demonstrate to me that something I thought was legitimate was in fact a bootleg because "there's too many episodes per disc" or "that's not the right box." That sort of intuitive filtering is not the same as establishing from a legal perspective that "this seller is illegitimate" or "that company doesn't have an actual license to produce those discs."

eBay should not get into the business of cancelling auctions based on some third-party's suspicions. The copyright owner can say definitively whether a particular DVD set is licensed or not. Not matter how big a fan you are, you do not actually have that capacity.

To tie this tangent back in--eBay should likewise not be in the business of cancelling ivory auctions because some third-party says without proof, "I don't think that's antique ivory."

Re:Won't happen. (1)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682175)

Another example of Ebay actually policing their auctions. Hasbro has recently been getting a lot of Transformer knock-offs removed.

Hand Soap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23681491)

What am I going to do with my warehouse full of Ivory Bar Soap? I was just about to launch all my ebay auctions and make a fortune. I'm ruined!

So... (4, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681499)

Reading the story, it doesn't seem like there's a single demonstrated case of illegal ivory sale on EBay, just a lot of numbers being thrown around about ivory sales overall.

Re:So... (2, Interesting)

Otter (3800) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681567)

The other curious thing is that the story claims (quoting the IFAW guy, I guess) that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permits are required for legal sales in the US and then goes on to to state that there are no such permits! It's surprising enough that the "expert" doesn't have even a basic understanding of the law, but you'd think the writer would at least go back and correct an earlier paragraph!

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

Hungus (585181) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681809)

I have not checked for ivory but it would not be surprising if both statements were true. marijuana and Alcohol were both regulated in this way at recent points in history here in the US. You had to have a tax permit to carry, buy or sell either but there were no tax permits available. It was just a way of making trade illegal without "violating" the constitution.

Re:So... (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682117)

The permits were available, but you had to have the stuff first to get the permit, which is illegal to have without the permit. Catch-22s are fun.

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

tzhuge (1031302) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682335)

I don't think it's a Catch-22. It sounds more like grandfathering. You can only get the permit for ivory you already have prior to the ban, and I'm guessing you can sell that ivory w/ the permit. It's just that you can't get any new ivory fresh off the elephants.

Re:So... (2, Informative)

Otter (3800) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682781)

I have not checked for ivory but it would not be surprising if both statements were true.

Well, if you RTFA, the Fish and Wildlife Service guy states that permits are not required, in contrast to what both IFAW and EBay are saying.

Boo Hoo (2, Interesting)

strikeleader (937501) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681511)

As long as eBay is following the law they should tell those bleeding hearts to go pound sand.

Re:Boo Hoo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23681525)

Just because you seem like an asshole, someone should totally rape and murder your entire family.

Re:Boo Hoo (2)

Morris Thorpe (762715) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681613)

I by no means toe the politically correct line but....you are either ignorant or heartless.

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0703/sights_n_sounds/ [nationalgeographic.com]

Re:Boo Hoo (3, Interesting)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682437)

you are either ignorant or heartless.
Not caring about an issue is not the same as heartlessness. I don't give a flying fsck about the plight of the elephants, but I'm about as far from heartless as they come. Everyone has some things they don't care about, that doesn't make them bad people.

It's Forbidden Everywhere else (2, Insightful)

Toad-san (64810) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681557)

I have no problem with this at all. No one in the world is supposed to be permitted to sell anything but antique ivory. So why would eBay be exempted from this?

Re:It's Forbidden Everywhere else (5, Insightful)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681619)

They're not exempted from this - I haven't read the article yet (of course) but it says ebay follows all of the laws.

This group wants them to go not sell any Ivory - no antiques, pianos, etc. Nothing. Even if it's perfectly legal.

Next will be any fur and leather products. Stay tuned!

Re:It's Forbidden Everywhere else (5, Insightful)

Bayoudegradeable (1003768) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681763)

Not going for flamebait here... What if I have a pair of antique ivory chopsticks bought a long, long time ago and I wish to sell them on eBay to a U.S. customer? That is legal, correct? So why punish all of us wishing to use eBay for legal purposes? Wait, I can get drugs, prostitutes and many other illegal goods and services, so shut the whole thing down? Stopping people from legitimate uses in order to halt illegal ones seems to be a slippery slope. I am actually all for stopping modern trade in modern ivory, but to ban something the law allows sounds like censorship to appease a cause.

Shocking, simply shocking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23681579)

Commercial enterprise complies fully with the law, but private lobby group pressures them to go further and restrict everyone, citing a reason best paraphrased as "it's the only way to be sure no one is doing something illegal with it!!"

We'll be drawing plenty of parallels to every other current event when we cover this on the news at 11.

Vintage items? (4, Interesting)

jockeys (753885) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681597)

The article is not 100% clear on whether an item must be older than 100 years or just older than the 1989 ban to still legally be sold.

Does anyone know?

I collect old straight razors, and have been looking to sell an old piano (not 100 years old, though) so the issue affects me personally.

Re:Vintage items? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23681747)

I collect old straight razors
Then under current US and international laws, you're classifiable as legally creepy.

Re:Vintage items? (5, Interesting)

beadfulthings (975812) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681887)

The convention among people who might be interested in ivory is that objects more than 50 years old are OK. You would most likely be both legally and morally in the clear with an old piano and antique razors. I would guess that nobody has manufactured straight razors with ivory handles in the past 50 years, and celluloid keys for pianos have also prevailed in that time frame. The problem comes with people who lie about the age of the ivory they're selling. (Incidentally, for people who might be interested in the "look and feel" of ivory without the slaughter, I'd strongly suggest a look at "vegetable ivory," or tagua. It is a nut-kernel product that actually has the look, feel, grain, and strength of the real stuff. It can be worked, carved, and shaped just like the real thing, and it lasts just as long. It's entirely renewable, and its harvest and preparation provide employment for people in several economically distressed areas of the world. Any amateur carvers or makers of jewelry would do well to investigate its excellent properties.)

Renewable resource (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23682595)

Ivory is a renewable resource. The problem is in determining when the source is legal. There aren't many elephant and walrus farms. There are some legal sources of ivory...and why does Wikipedia say eBay banned ivory in 2007? If it's already banned, what are we talking about? Don't make me RFTA!

Re:Vintage items? (2, Informative)

mparker762 (315146) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682657)

I also collect and shave with straight razors, and there are definitely new razors being made with ivory scales, though the manufacturers all claim to be using mammoth ivory. I always assumed there were certificates and licenses that they had to have to use any sort of ivory, but maybe I'm wrong. Anybody know what German law is on ivory (the DoVo company that makes these is in Solingen Germany)?

The bigger problem is that it can be tough to tell real ivory from ivory-looking celluloid just by visual inspection, even if you're holding it in your hands. There's no way to tell from a low-res ebay picture, and most sellers IMO don't have the foggiest idea what real ivory is like. I've had sellers claim that the genuine article was celluloid and vice versa, and I've had celluloid ivory in my hands that I had to test with a hot needle to see if it was celluloid or genuine.

Re:Vintage items? (2, Informative)

Clairvoyant (137586) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681891)

Are you kidding me? RTFA:
"IFAW is hoping that eBay will ban all ivory sales".

IFAW wants all ivory to be banned from eBay because these tree(sorry, animal) huggers are to darned lazy to filter out the authentical ones themselves. They want eBay to do it for them.

Re:Vintage items? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23682633)

The article is not 100% clear on whether an item must be older than 100 years or just older than the 1989 ban to still legally be sold.

My impression is that the law is extremely complicated and involves issues such as whether state or national boundaries are being crossed and the location of origin (Asian vs. African) and whether proper certificates are available, etc.

As a practical matter, my parents had inherited a large collection of ivory. Certain pieces probably dated from as late as the 1950's. Last fall, they shipped the whole collection from the midwest to a (fully legitimate) art auction house in California (where it all sold at auction).

My impression is that the whole transaction was legal enough that they didn't have to worry about getting in trouble for it.

Use It To Find Them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23681653)

Seems to me that the authorities would be better off to LET these sales happen over eBay so that they can more easily find the wretched scum...

Don't kill elephants (-1, Flamebait)

Christmas (1294060) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681703)

Yeah I totallllly think they shouldn't kill elephants for ivory. That's so cruel! But like, I saw somebody make a good point cause, what if you have a old piano or something that has ivory keys on it? You should still be able to sell that on eBay. So I think the law should just make it so nobody can make things out of ivory anymore. So like if you have old stuff that has it, it should be okay to sell it but if you kill an elephant and make something out of ivory, you should get arrested. Ohh we don't have elephants in America except at the zoo though!! hmmmmm lol

Re:Don't kill elephants (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23681823)

I am the stupider for having read that inane babble. Please remove yourself from the internet posthaste.

They can't (1)

Hankapobe (1290722) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681709)

She admits that the company does not inspect ivory sold via its site to ensure that it was harvested prior to the CITES ban.

How could they? The sellers can just lie and say it's pre-CITES. What' eBay supposed to do? Have everyone who wants to sell ivory get some sort of certificate and mail it to eBay before listing? Or eBay inspects everything? The only recourse is to ban all ivory sales.

There is Still Craigslist (1)

PawNtheSandman (1238854) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681745)

I sell my Ivory on Craigslist so I don't get double banged on the eBay/PayPal fees. Although, I'm anticipating the day where eBay starts mandating PayPal for Craigslist face to face purchases.

How much do ya wanna bet.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681779)

... that somebody's gonna try selling a few bars of ivory soap on Ebay and their auction will get deleted?

The more serious issue (5, Insightful)

RickRussellTX (755670) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681799)

(Disclaimer: I'm the OP.)

The issue that bothers me, and it has nothing to do with elephants or ivory, is that eBay is merely a silent broker in these transactions. Could you realistically expect the relevant carriers of information to ban exchanges of ivory arranged over e-mail? Over postal mail? The telephone? At swap meets?

eBay has built the smoothest, most liquid, easiest-to-use method of arranging private sales between geographically disparate private parties. That results in transaction volume that far exceeds the capability of any single person to review it (and read TFA and you'll see that even IFAW built its statistics by doing the most basic text searches -- they didn't actually try to verify anything).

Organizations that like to tell people what to do and get themselves in the news, like the IFAW, hate such liquid markets. They want all transactions involving their particular interest to be monitored, filtered, verified, etc. Even though they are not willing to do it themselves.

So if we monitor, filter, and verify transactions involving ivory, where do we stop? Do we ever stop? Does private enterprise go away and get replaced by "monitored and certified enterprise"?

Re:The more serious issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23682139)

But they're not a silent broker. Their entire business model relies on users publically posting the content to be brokered.

People use public mail to send drugs and seeds - but the content of each package isn't posted to USPS's website.

Re:The more serious issue (1)

Alistar (900738) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682409)

They arne't quite silent borkers in this deal as they are getting a cut of the sale.

I would expect that anyone acting as the middle man in a transaction would be obligated to verify the legality of the product if he expects to profit from it.

They're just trolling. (5, Insightful)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 5 years ago | (#23681827)

The International Fund for Animal Welfare is just trolling for attention. It's a tried and true technique. Attack a large and popular entity and charge them with the responsibility of handling your pet project to save the world.

How about this "International Fund for Animal Welfare"? Instead of bitching real loud, how about you bid for the ivory, then tell the sellers that you will pick it up. Show up at the seller's door with law enforcement.

Oh, I see. That doesn't get you free advertisement for your fund raising efforts.

Re:They're just trolling. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23682093)

...how about you bid for the ivory, then tell the sellers that you will pick it up.

Home pickup is not an option for most sales on eBay. Lots of sellers like to remain anonymous, whether selling ivory or homemade tablecloths. Your idea simply would not work.

Re:They're just trolling. (1)

Samgilljoy (1147203) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682273)

...how about you bid for the ivory, then tell the sellers that you will pick it up.

Home pickup is not an option for most sales on eBay. Lots of sellers like to remain anonymous, whether selling ivory or homemade tablecloths. Your idea simply would not work.

Upon the receiving the ivory, they'd be able to give law enforcement probable cause to find out who the seller is and charge them. So, home delivery is a bad example, but the overall idea is sound.

Re:They're just trolling. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23682465)

They might actually be able to get eBay to ban ivory sales.


After the Virginia Tech shootings, somebody made a fuss because the shooter bought some gun parts through eBay brokered sales.


Two or three months later, eBay banned all gun part auctions (parts necessary to make a gun fire, like magazines, barrels, hammers). They justified it because other countries have different rules & prohibitions on various items.

Re:They're just trolling. (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682665)

While you may not agree with the fact that animals should not be tortured, even though most people I know do agree that animals should not suffer unduly, for instance good hunter really do try to make the kill in one shot, there is a larger issue. Poaching.

Most governments do not allow Elephants to be killed, or control the killing of elephants very carefully. The poachers who kill the elephants are criminals, just like the person who takes a deer off your land, that is if you own any land, or have the means to worry about such things. I can tell you it is one thing for a family to poach to feed themselves, but quite another to poach for profit. For instance, I can't imagine a single land owner who would tolerate deer being killed, their antlers removed, and the carcass left behind.

The ivory ban exists mostly to make sure that thieves do not remove the natural resources of a country. This is why older ivory can be sold. But it is not enough. Poachers still kill perhaps tens of thousands animals a year, and it the cross boarder demand for ivory that is causing this. It would be like your neighbor killing all your deer because he liked your deer better, leaving you with no deer at all.

As far the specific criticism on tactics, yes it is of questionable value. OTOH, that is what the organization exists to do. It is like after columbine, when Heston went there and continued to promote gun rights for the NRA. Sure it was questionable, but he was doing his job. But the key thing here is why does ebay exist. Not to be a in-between in every internet sale, but to be the middle person in enough sales, and to maximize the income from each sales, while minimizing expenses, to maximize profit.

To me complaining that ebay won't sell this or that is complete waste of time. If transacting a sale becomes too expensive, they would be stupid to continue to allow those sales. Ebay already has restrictions on items that might have providence or taxissues, items such as art, artifacts, catalytic convertors, gift cards, tobacco, etc. These are things that probably would cost more than ebay makes in single transaction. I am surprised that ivory is not already on that list.

I don't understand you people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23681895)

If this were anything else you would be saying:

Stop going after the the big company because it is easier, you should be going after the person that is actually selling/posting the item.

I love how the commenters on this site so easily flip their arguments when it is a company they don't like. As long as ebay is in compliance with the law, they should not give into pressure by special interest groups.

C'mon, hippies... (1)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682177)

Unless it's an ivory gun or something, selling ivory that was yanked off of an elephant isn't going to kill anyone. If you want to help, target the people stealing tusks and selling new ivory, rather than those with a bit too much stuff in their attics.

Re:C'mon, hippies... (2, Interesting)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682827)

If people genuinely wanted to reduce trade in endangered species they'd support devaluing the products by ranching and harvesting the species instead.

Domestic cows aren't hunted to extinction.

where will I buy .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23682187)

Darn it, Where am I going to get my Ivory soap is Ivory is banned from ebay?

eBay Needs a Competitor (4, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#23682807)

eBay needs a competitor who is willing to sell all the things eBay won't (lawfully acquired ivory, concert and sporting tickets of all types, legal second-hand copies of AutoCad, Scientology e-meters), along with everything else. Also one who takes payments other than PayPal. Someone like that ought to eventually eat eBay's lunch.
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