Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick




Internet Continues To Break Down Local Protectionist Laws

from the license-for-what-now? dept

Over the past few years, it's been clear that services provided over the internet have been putting a lot of pressure on local businesses who often hide behind local protectionist laws. Luckily, many have started to realize that such protectionist laws don't do much good for consumers. Court rulings have tackled local protectionist laws on things like wine and contact lenses, but there are other issues starting to show up lately as well. For example, eBay has been going around fighting laws that could require local eBay users to get an auctioneer's license. Now there's another example, with an online home-buying site suing the state of New Hampshire over whether or not it needs to become a registered broker in the state. Of course, the state hasn't acted against the site yet, so it may just be something of a publicity stunt. However, it does highlight some of the issues with many of these local licensing laws that are much more about keeping out competitors rather than consumer safety.

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  • identicon
    dorpus, 13 Jun 2006 @ 3:43pm

    Used contact lenses anyone?

    In light of all the people going blind recently from fungal infections -- are we sure that laws against reselling such devices is really just a "local protectionist law"?

    What is to prevent unethical "real estate" sites based in Russia from selling beachfront property in Arizona? How about sites that sell toxic wine full of pollutants, sold as "20-year-old Bordeaux"? How about stolen property from country A being sold in country B, via 3rd-party country C that makes it impossible to prosecute?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2006 @ 4:03pm

      Re: Used contact lenses anyone?

      i like it!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Mason Lee, 13 Jun 2006 @ 4:44pm

      Re: Used contact lenses anyone?

      Many licensing requirements are in place to generate REVENUE for the government, not protect consumers. As for selling used contact lenses or bad wine, natural market forces will tend to weed out companies hawking these products.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      John, 13 Jun 2006 @ 5:03pm

      Re: Used contact lenses anyone?

      Why should anyone have any more faith in a licensed broker or a licensed dispenser of contact lenses?

      Most people know of unethical behavior by licensed real estate brokers. I can think of two, first-hand examples.

      As with any transaction, you need to know who you're buying from.

      Martha Stewart had been a licensed stock broker, but she went ahead with the trades.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Adam, 13 Jun 2006 @ 5:35pm

      Re: Used contact lenses anyone?

      If someone was dumb enough to buy their contacts on eBay, they lose a lot of 'Intellectual High Ground' when they complain about going blind.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      DittoBox, 13 Jun 2006 @ 6:53pm

      Re: Used contact lenses anyone?

      Yes, but I think via certain lobbying efforts by certain morally repugnant industry associatations that AllOfMp3.com might be taken down first.

      Those horrible jerks, giving consumers what they really want!!! Why I oughta...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Jun 2006 @ 3:41pm

      Re: Used contact lenses anyone?

      There existing laws that punish / prevent all of those. protecting your buisness model by getting laws enacted is BS no matter who you are.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jon, 13 Jun 2006 @ 4:14pm

    for my pet fish eric.

    (in response to the license-for-what-now tagline)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dorpus, 13 Jun 2006 @ 5:03pm

    Really? So if pharmaceutical companies or beverage makers were allowed to behave however they please under "natural market forces", will they still sell safe products? Or could it be that natural market forces are the true way to bribe governments into doing nothing?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dorpus, 13 Jun 2006 @ 5:04pm

    Because if there is a licensing system, then the licenses can be revoked for unethical behavior. (Assuming that natural market forces have not taken over the rule of law via bribery.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Why not?, 13 Jun 2006 @ 6:11pm

    I say it's time that we license ALL computer users. If they cannot pass a useage and wriiten exam, NO COMPUTER FOR YOU! COME BACK ONE YEAR!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2006 @ 8:40pm

    This idiot would fail

    See ya next year

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2006 @ 9:32pm

    Unlicensed Surgeons anyone?

    The reason you buy from a 'licensed' realestate broker is the same reason why you go to a 'licensed' doctor. Have any of you heard stories about fake plastic surgeons killing people by filling them with auto-grade synthetics to give them fuller breasts? How could you trust someone selling you contact lenses or real estate online if they weren't certified? Besides what all you anarchists think, there are actual benifits to society for registering your business or getting a license, like, you know, making sure they have a degree or aren't actually selling you someone else's land and you didn't even know it until you've sold your house and gave them the money to finish the deal? You can call those people stupid if you want, and I'm not saying they're that intellegent, if they have any at all, but these people are committing crimes and this is one way to make sure they don't, not just a scheme to get money (though that is always one benifit they get).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    claire rand, 14 Jun 2006 @ 4:28am

    license?

    nothing stops online companies being licensed & certified etc. if you choose to buy from 'x' with a local license to your country (which must be verifiable) a product that meets say ISO1234 (you get the idea) all well and good, if you choose to buy from 'y' with a site loaded with spelling mistakes, no certifications (or ones from iffy countries) thats your choice.

    but if something isn't certified in your country for the usage you put it to, there should *not* be the oppertunity to seek legal redress over this, you bought it, the responsibility is *yours* to make sure its suitable.

    if its sold in a shop then its the shops job, since *they* imported it. import it yourself and thats on you.

    and as for 'services' like music download sites, regulation is pointless anyway since they is no physical product to track, just bits & bytes.

    if you choose to buy surgery online, and travel to another country for it, *without* a few basic checks, well you get what you pay for.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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