Much to my surprise, I recently ran afoul of Pink Floyd. Well, I ran afoul of Pink Floyd Management, actually. I consider that a semantic difference. An important one, maybe, but semantics all the same. Long story short, I decided to sell my Alembic F-2B preamp on eBay to try to save my eBay store (my fees were past due) and put a little money in our pockets. I’d researched the preamp fairly thoroughly, and discovered some time ago that it’s the very same preamp that David Gilmour has used since the mid-1970’s. His has been modified slightly, but it’s still an Alembic F-2B. You can find all sorts of information scattered around the Internet about his use of the preamp. So… I thought I’d mentioned this in my auction, and did so, with links provided to web pages that detailed how Gilmour used a modified version of the preamp. I also provided links to product pages at Alembic. All of this was intended to help potential buyers learn as much as possible about the Alembic F-2B.
You can imagine my surprise when, five days into the auction, I got a notice from eBay, stating;
Your listing has been removed.
Your item was removed because of a request we received from VeRO participant, Pink Floyd Management, asking us to remove the item for:
– Listing(s) content violates a celebrity’s rights of publicity.
Um… okay. I was rather disappointed, to say the least. I wasn’t given the option to modify my listing. eBay took my listing fees. And now, a few days later, my eBay store is even deeper underwater (since I’m likely not going to be able to afford to pay those fees without… ahem… the sale of a certain preamp). eBay has suspended my store (because of the fees, not because of the preamp), so I can’t put the preamp back up for sale. So… hey, thanks, Pink Floyd.
Yes, I know. Pink Floyd, the band, had nothing to do with this. It’s not like David Gilmour called up Roger Waters and said, “Hey, did you know some guy in Florida is selling an Alembic F-2B on eBay and mentioned that I use one?” and Roger Waters said “No, I didn’t know that. But if I were you I’d go after the little shit. Who does he think he is?” I imagine this action was taken by some overzealous peon who didn’t even read the item description. My cardinal sin was probably in mentioning David Gilmour’s name in the auction heading. Okay, okay. I get it. My bad. I just wish I’d been given the chance to correct it, rather than being penalized the existence of my eBay store at a time when we really, really need the extra income.
Anyway, in the end there are no hard feelings. I guess I screwed up by the way I listed the item, but I thought I was within the realm of fair-use. It wasn’t like I was selling a line of preamps claiming that they were endorsed by David Gilmour. I was selling a single preamp, and mentioned that Gilmour uses one. I’m rather surprised that someone at Pink Floyd Management has nothing better to do than to troll eBay and look for examples of how the little people might be invoking the name of the Pink Floyd gods. But I guess, in the end, it’s always going to go badly for anyone who triggers the ire of millionaire Rock stars and their minions.
In the end, I still think Roger Waters is a genius. I still think David Gilmour is a whiny, if talented, asshole. And I’ll chalk another one up to the bizarre twists of fate, that the only interaction I’m ever likely to have with Pink Floyd or any of it’s member and management was a corporate smack-down over a simple misunderstanding that occurred because I was trying to find ways to keep our heads above water financially.
And as for eBay… well, they can go fuck themselves. They’ve been at war with their sellers for over a year now. Sooner or later they’re going to discover that they’re posting record losses because they’ve made it impossible for the small fish to sell products there. It might behoove them to try to work with people to resolve issues rather than say “That’s the way it is. Talk to the hand.” The button pushers at eBay might be surprised to learn that the bulk of their income comes not from Power Sellers and corporations, but from the hundreds of thousands of small fry who are selling the contents of their attics. I, for one, can’t wait to see eBay bleed.