NYC Blasts eBay On WTC Items

The city of New York is asking eBay to show some respect and remove any items on its site that pertain to the September 11 attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center.

“Many of these items represent outrageous attempts to profit from a recent act of mass murder,” said New York Chief Counsel Michael Cardozo in a letter to eBay Thursday.

The cease-and-desist letter is especially hard on the San Jose, Calif.-based online auction site’s overall approach to selling sometime questionable items.

“I do hope to continue to persuade them,” said Cardozo. “It’s obvious much of what is on its Web site is morally repugnant.”

As of Friday, there were some 21 pages of memorabilia and other trinkets being sold by eBay members.

Some of the items listed include a silver dollar recovered at Ground Zero, rescue audiotapes and a pair of boots “worn” at the site.

eBay said it would remove those items that violate copyright laws, but a spokesperson said that it was unlikely that all the items would be removed.

The company has been sympathetic in the past, placing a ban on the sale of WTC and Pentagon items from September through Dec. 31. eBay even organized the “Auction for America” in support of the victims and their families.

This is not the first time that eBay has been asked to police itself based on seemingly objectionable material.

After serious consideration, the company revamped its policy on hate and violence related listings to include Nazi memorabilia in May 2001.

In August 2001, eBay removed artwork related to the disappearance of Chandra Levy at the request of California Congressman Gary Condit’s office. The Modesto, Calif. woman is reported to have ties to the lawmaker.

eBay’s policy does point out that “out of respect for the families of murder victims, (the company does) remove listings of items closely associated with individuals notorious for committing murderous acts within the last 100 years.”

However, it remains to be seen whether other items up for bid, like postcards postmarked 9/11/01 or shotglasses with the World Trade Center logo, constitute as “morally repugnant” or “legally objectionable.”

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