Poor David Morrill. All he ever wanted to do was sell an Xbox 360 that had, inexplicably, Sarah Palin's autograph scrawled on the side of it. Instead, all he's getting is trouble.
First, unable to sell the console for one million dollars on auction site eBay, he had to drop the asking rate to a more "reasonable" USD$25,000. Now eBay is making him remove all mention of the former Alaska State Governor's name from his listing.
"eBay has been nothing but a headache from the day I started this", Morrill tells Kotaku, after the online shopping giant informed him that:
Listings or items that contain a celebrity's name, likeness, or signature may infringe his/her right of publicity. This right is generally defined as an individual's right to control and profit from the commercial use of his/her identity, and is not limited to only celebrities.
That meant he couldn't mention Palin's name in the auction. Couldn't say the signature on the console was hers, even though the photograph to the left — taken by one of Palin's photographers — suggests that it is most likely hers. Nor could he display that image anywhere on the listing.
Why the crackdown on what is, essentially, a novelty listing? Well, just prior to eBay's notices, Palin's team moved to trademark the conservative darling's name. Unconfirmed, but that might have something to do with it.
As a result, Morrill's auction site now exists almost as a middle-fingered salute to both eBay and Palin, advertised as an "XBOX 360 with scribbles" which was "defaced at a picnic of no significance", where "This person grabbed my most prized possession which I just happened to have with me for no special reason, my Xbox 360, and started scribbling on it!"
They're some pricey scribbles; Morrill has left the asking price at $25,000, making his "now defaced" console the priciest worthless Xbox on the internet!
If you'd like to see the "revised" auction — and you should, if only for the item description — you can see it here.
Kotaku reached out to Gov. Palin for a comment regarding this auction and will update should she or her spokesperson comment.