Sun-Owning Lady Sues eBay Because They Wouldn't Let Her Sell 'Plots' Of 'Land' On 'Her' Sun

from the 40-acres-and-a-tan dept

Techdirt readers with a good memory may recall that back in 2010 a Spanish woman with entirely too much time on her hands claimed to have found a legal loophole that allowed her to register her ownership of the sun. Yes, the sun. You know, Sol, that star that allows us to exist, and it apparently fell into the hands of Maria Angeles Duran. The law had been constructed to prevent any nations from declaring ownership of planets or stars — but not individuals. Maria laid her claim by registering it and announced plans to charge us lowly citizens of the Earth for all beneficial uses of “her” sun.

Well, she presumably was told by someone with a couple of brain cells to rub together that the world wasn’t going to let that kind of Dr. Evil shit go on, because she instead decided to monetize her “ownership” of the sun on — wait for it — eBay! Yes, via the internet marketplace, Duran was selling “plots” of “land” on “her” sun, all the way up until eBay caught wind and shut the whole thing down. And now Duran is taking eBay to court over all of this, a court which ostensibly falls under the watchful eye of her property’s rays.

A magistrate’s court in Madrid has declared that Maria Angeles Duran, from Vigo in Spain’s northwestern region of Galicia, has the right to take eBay to court after it blocked her account which was selling plots of land on the sun at a price €1 (73p) per metre square. In 2013, Duran began selling plots of the sun at a price of €1 per square metre on eBay in Italy and Spain with the promise “buy new object, unused, unopened, undamaged. Shipping is free” – and in return buyers received a diploma of acquisition.

According to Duran, she received 600 orders worth €1,200 but some customers were left disappointed by the closure of the page; eBay closed the page because the item on sale could not be touched or transported and it believed it to be a scam.

Which is exactly what it is, of course. Duran doesn’t actually have an ownership claim on the sun simply because she registered it in her name. Nor does she have any land-rights for a star that doesn’t have anything resembling land, so there’s nothing to suggest that selling these plots is anything other than a silly attempt to pilfer from the likewise misinformed buyers. And, make no mistake, every action taken by Duran is that of someone simply looking to grab at cash.

Duran filed a suit against eBay in 2014 for breach of contract, and claimed €10,000 in compensation. The ecommerce giant tried to settle the claim out of court, but Duran complained that the pact was “blind” because she didn’t know how much money was she going to get.

All this in a settlement offer for not allowing her to sell plots of land on the sun, mind you. I’ll give Duran this: it’s nice to see a non-American go all crazy-litigious for once. I guess it’s time we updated that whole “I have a bridge to sell you…” joke.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: ebay

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Sun-Owning Lady Sues eBay Because They Wouldn't Let Her Sell 'Plots' Of 'Land' On 'Her' Sun”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Lurker Keith says:

Re: Re:

Due to Sol existing before Earth, & therefore before Copyright, Sol is in the Public Domain.

It is irrelevant if one believes the Sun is 4.5 Billion Years old, 10,000 or 6,000 or any other age any given group of people believe, whether or not such belief is reasonable. It clearly existed prior to 1923 or any other date copyrighted things enter the Public Domain, & therefore is in the Public Domain.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re:

radius of the sun (photosphere) = 695,800 km
surface area of a sphere = 4pir^2

surface area of the photosphere of the sun = ~6,080,768,758,400 km^2

She’s selling at 1 euro per square meter, and has 600 sales at that price, so apparently the market values her “land” at approximately 6,080,768,758,400,000,000 euros. Oh, minus the 1200 square meters she sold.

Anonymous Coward says:

Hate to say it but eBay has the right to regulate what users can or can’t sell through their site. She may claim to “own” the sun, but she doesn’t have an entitlement to sell it where ever she wants to. The auction site regularly removes auctions from its site’s listings. While people moan and complain about it, there isn’t anything wrong, illegal or ‘lawsuit-able’ against the site unless eBay is seen violating the law, such as discriminating against a user based on their ethnicity or any such matter as recognized under constitutional or civil or human rights.

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s a scam, yes, but a relatively harmless one. People should know that there’s no land on the Sun, and that if there WAS land there would still be no way to get there or to live on it.

She can’t charge people for the use of the sun any more than someone who installs a floodlight can charge neighbors for the light that goes onto their property. If she really wants to insist she owns the sun, it doesn’t get her anything… except sued by everyone who has a sun-related injury. Every case of heat stroke, sunburn, and skin cancer should be able to sue her for damages.

Anonymous Coward says:

Invalid transfer is invalid

Who did she get her supposed ownership of the Sun from? I’d say the answer is “nobody”. Then under which legal theory did she get her supposed ownership of the Sun? It’s not usucapio or similar, since they all require possession for a period of time, and she doesn’t have possession of the Sun (nobody has).

So even if she got her title registered, the registration is invalid and possibly fraudulent.

She can’t sell what she doesn’t have; so her eBay sales are probably also fraudulent.

I would be curious to read an in-depth legal analysis of her claims, since I’m not a lawyer. It would probably make for good afternoon reading.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Invalid transfer is invalid

“I’d say the answer is “nobody”. Then under which legal theory did she get her supposed ownership of the Sun?”

This is actually very easy to answer. Since she’s (presumably) not a signatory on any international agreements then this would be settled the same was it has always been settled: whoever can hold the land against invaders “owns” it.

There is no ultimate authority granting “ownership” of land.

Hiro (profile) says:

She’s actually not wrong, but she’s thinking too small. She’s better off claiming ownership of that planet made of diamond. I mean, it’s going to spiral into its host star eventually, but she still has a few hundred million years or so to figure out how to get there….and mine it without burning to a crisp….and then getting the diamond all the way back here to Earth but….Still, you’re technically worth a few billion trillion dollars so. Write a bunch of IOU’s to SpaceX maybe?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Ebay needs to smash this woman into utter poverty for the next 30 or 40 years

How? What claim do THEY have against HER?

The best they could do is maybe get attorney fees, but you’re not allowed to try to run those up. If they get the case dismissed early on and try to claim millions in fees, that’s going to raise a red flag. And if they don’t get it dismissed early on, it’s less likely that the fees will be shifted.

and Ebay will face THOUSANDS of stupid lawsuits theyll have to kill off 1 by 1 until the law can be changed.

What law needs to be changed? The one that allows people to file lawsuits against large corporations? She’s already going to lose because the law and/or facts are not on her side.

dr evil says:

first off

I appreciate the shout out but I would never sell. SunSpace(c).. first.. maybe the light is like mineral rights, that is tangible. Are not ALL property rights man-given? I don’t recall hearing about God giving rights to own specific plots of land .. she claimed it, she can have it, she can deal with trespassers. 😀

lulwut says:

King of Canada

Sounds like a guy I know claiming king of Canada. His spin is when the queen signed sovereignty of Canada over is like a transfer of ownership. It was left blank thus anyone can fill in their name and claim ownership of the nation which he wishes to be the one.

Nothing is ever foolproof for clever fools and its one of the prime reasons we can’t have nice things. …

Socrates says:

Owning the rain and the Moon

Selling the Moon have been going on for quite some time now. I don’t see the selling of the Sun as much different. IMHO both should be treated as scams.

There scams of the same type that is enforced harsher though. In Bolivia multinationals claimed to own even the rain, after the Bolivian “government” signed a deal with them. The multinationals raised the water prices in a pure extortion racket. The Bolivian citizens got their rights back through the water wars. ISDS is just this mentality for the hole world. I hope it is repealed without bloodshed.

Bradley Dichter (user link) says:

Star "surface" ownership

The constant nuclear exposions, conection currents, solar mass ejections, radiation, solar wind and gravity would make a so-called plot of surface a real problem to possess. It would explode in your face if you still had one if you got anywhere close enough to identify your property. I like the comment about sueing someone for getting cancer, but how could you prove your cancer came a specific tiny plot? If she owns the bulk of the sun, they she would name the others in the suit and a judge would throw the hole thing out as a waste of the court’s time.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...