eBay Yanks Levy/Condit Art From Site

A painting depicting missing Washington intern Chandra Levy and Calif. Congressman Gary Condit was removed from eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) Monday after complaints from the congressman’s office.

The work entitled “Social, Artistic and Political Commentary #9” was posted on the San Jose, Calif.-based online auction site last Friday by Overland Park, Kansas-based artist Terry Aley – that is until he got an e-mail from eBay officials.

The letter reads: “We regret to inform you that your auction:
1448723501 NEW ABSTRACT ART-CHANDRA LEVY & GARY CONDIT has been ended at the request of Representative Gary A. Condit, a member of eBay’s Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) Program, because they filed a sworn statement that it offers a product or contains material which violates their copyright, trademark or other rights.”

Aley says he thinks he was singled out.

“All of this doesn’t make much sense to me, other than Gary Condit trying to control the spin on his media coverage,” says Aley. “Just looking around on eBay, I’ve seen ‘garyconditsucks.com’ Web sites for sale and bumper stickers with his face and lie detectors on them. For me to get the picture back on eBay, I’d have to contact Condit, let him see the painting and ask him if it would be all right to re-post it. I doubt that would happen.”

eBay says its VeRO Program checks items listed for auction to make sure they do not infringe upon the copyright, trademark or other intellectual property rights of third parties. VeRO members may identify and request removal of allegedly infringing auction listings.

Aley says the painting done in the style of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (words, painting and collage) is more of a social commentary on the media feeding frenzy surrounding the case than it is about accusing anyone.

“If Condit’s people think I’m doing this to make money they’re wrong,” says Aly. “The whole time the painting was listed I got two bids for a total of $1.25.

Meantime, Levy, who disappeared on May 1, is still listed as missing and no criminal investigation has been identified.

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