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Stoner v. eBay

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Citation Edit

Stoner v. eBay, Inc., 2000 WL 1705637, 56 U.S.P.Q.2d 1852 (Cal. Super. Ct. Nov. 1, 2000).

Factual Background Edit

Various third party sellers allegedly were offering infringing bootleg sound recordings through eBay's website. The plaintiff sued eBay for violations of California Business & Professions Code § 17200:

Specifically, plaintiff claims that eBay violates section 17200 in that '(1) eBay actually sells, or at minimum, advertises and offers for sale, and causes the sale of, various bootleg and other infringing sound recordings, in direct violation of several applicable Penal Code Provisions (Pen.Code, §§ 653h, 653s, 653w); (2) eBay, independent of its users, engages in unfair business practices in that, knowing full well that infringing sound recording auctions are prevalent on its site, eBay actively promotes and enables those auctions and takes a commission on each sale, even though it could eliminate said infringing auction if it wanted to; and (3) eBay itself engages in conduct likely to deceive the public in that it knows about and actively facilitates infringing sound recording auctions even though, as it also knows, many of the ultimate purchasers of the recordings truly do not realize they are buying illegal items with no resale value.'[1]

Trial Court Proceedings Edit

The trial court held that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA) provided eBay with immunity against such claims. The court held the immunity would not be lost unless the plaintiff could show (1) actual knowledge of the illegal sales by eBay, and (2) an affirmative act by eBay beyond providing a venue for the sales.

References Edit

  1. 2000 WL 1705637, at 1.

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