Yet eBay contends that such references are informal and says that auction laws — many of them written long before the Internet and eBay even existed — should not apply to its sellers.

The New York Times publishes a folksy but probing analysis of eBay’s lobbying efforts in the US. I suppose the true question of whether the Internet is ‘bordered’ and the role of national law is not answered just by theoretical discussions and legal analysis, but also by a company like eBay having ‘a network of lobbyists’ on retainers in 25 states.

eBay has always played an interesting role in the ‘govern the Web?’ debate. It has been quite gung-ho about deleting ‘inappropriate’ items, for legal reasons or otherwise. However, the NYT report included this graphic (below) does show the extent of the eBay response to law (which is invariably ‘it doesn’t work for us’). A good public response would be to modify or craft responsive laws, rather than just carving out a series of exemptions. On another note, eBay launched (just last week) an email effort to promote Net neutrality – the type of local email campaign mentioned by the Times, going national and causing quite a stir.

Bonus point for the first person to explain (by way of comment) the title of this post.

New York Times eBay graphic