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: lawsuits, maria angeles duran, ownership, sun
Companies: ebay


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  • identicon
    avideogameplayer, 11 Jun 2015 @ 4:34am

    At least you can use a bridge...

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

    • identicon
      David, 11 Jun 2015 @ 6:19am

      Re:

      Humans managed to get along without bridges but not without sun.

      The real question is why she is selling square meters rather than cubic ones. I mean, just where on a ball of hot plasma is the surface supposed to be?

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

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 11 Jun 2015 @ 4:42am

    Sun of a bitch.

    Couldn't resist.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2015 @ 4:55am

    I say the lawsuit should go through. If she wins though, all her "customers"/fraud victims get to sue her for more than she wins from eBay. After all, what's good for the helium is good for the hydrogen, as the saying doesn't go...

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

  • icon
    Prashanth (profile), 11 Jun 2015 @ 4:59am

    Tatooine

    It's a good thing we don't live in Tatooine, otherwise things could have gotten dicier.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2015 @ 5:03am

    How do you even often settlements to these kinds of people?

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

    • identicon
      Call me Al, 11 Jun 2015 @ 7:21am

      Re:

      I expect they offered to settle because they could offer a little cash and make it go away. It wouldn't be worth the effort to do anything else.

      Of course now she's made it worth the effort, so Ebay should crush her because of this nonsense.

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

  • icon
    Gracey (profile), 11 Jun 2015 @ 5:28am

    ...just wait until god smites her for trying to take ownership of his creation.

    There "must" by a copyright issue here somewhere.

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

    • identicon
      Lurker Keith, 11 Jun 2015 @ 8:21am

      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.

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

      • icon
        aethercowboy (profile), 11 Jun 2015 @ 8:22am

        Re: Re:

        Also, at least in the US, there's that whole "supernatural authors" not being eligible for copyright protection thing.

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

        • identicon
          DogBreath, 11 Jun 2015 @ 10:37am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Well, at least as long as the Sun exists, she is not allowed to own and sell "nothing".



          "In the beginning, there was nothing. Then God said, "Let there be light". And there was still nothing but you could see it."
          - Groucho Marx

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 3:45am

          Re: Re: Re:

          So ghost writers can't profit from their works?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2015 @ 9:40am

      Re:

      How about Earth "ownership"? Sic 'em, God.

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

    • identicon
      That One Other Not So Random Guy, 11 Jun 2015 @ 1:38pm

      Re:

      "god smites her for trying to take ownership of his creation" ROFL. You are funny lady.

      Dinosaurs.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2015 @ 8:18pm

      Re:

      No. If the sun was registerable as IP, it would have a patent.

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

  • icon
    aethercowboy (profile), 11 Jun 2015 @ 5:31am

    I'd hate to be her when it's time to pay property tax.

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

    • icon
      Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), 11 Jun 2015 @ 6:17am

      Re:

      radius of the sun (photosphere) = 695,800 km
      surface area of a sphere = 4*pi*r^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.

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

      • icon
        aethercowboy (profile), 11 Jun 2015 @ 6:25am

        Re: Re:

        Assuming the valor catastral values it at an even 5 quintillion euros, she would owe the Spanish government anywhere from 20 quadrillion to 55 quadrillion euros every year.

        That should improve the Spanish economy.

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

    • icon
      R.H. (profile), 11 Jun 2015 @ 9:23pm

      Re:

      Does Spain charge property taxes on property not located in Spain? If so, that's a serious case of government overreach. If not, your reasoning is (fortunately) invalid.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2015 @ 5:52am

    According to Duran, she received 600 orders


    I don't even

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2015 @ 5:54am

    Could she be sued for skin cancer?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2015 @ 4:50pm

      Re:

      My thoughts exactly.
      If its her sun than why not sue her for Skin Cancer, and global warming, I mean her property is causing real damage...
      Better still register as the owner of Venus or Mercury and sue for her property rendering them uninhabitable...

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

  • identicon
    jaakko, 11 Jun 2015 @ 6:35am

    A good investment opportunity!

    As the sun has no choice but to eventually start running out of hydrogen to burn and evolve into a red giant, the plots on the surface will grow to become much larger! Just imagine the value of all the euros you're getting free due to astrophysics if you buy today!

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

    • identicon
      That One Other Not So Random Guy, 11 Jun 2015 @ 1:42pm

      Re: A good investment opportunity!

      And just think... you only have to wait 5 billions years for the payoff. At least the trademark will still be active.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2015 @ 6:56am

    All she had to do was post her tourist photos proving she had taken physical ownership....

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

  • icon
    leehb9 (profile), 11 Jun 2015 @ 7:08am

    Oh wow, you saved my ass!

    I was just about to go and buy one of her sun-plots! It was a nice one, too!

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

  • icon
    Jeremy Lyman (profile), 11 Jun 2015 @ 7:35am

    Squatter's Rights

    Don't most adverse possession laws require you to occupy the property continuously for between 7 and 20 years? Someone get her a rocket so she can put her feet on the "ground".

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2015 @ 7:37am

    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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2015 @ 8:00am

    Amazon wouldn't allow this because you can't actually use the property of the sun. I don't see any online retailer or site allowing this fool ass lady to sell off the property of the sun.

    She would have better luck suing everyone for going outside and getting a suntan.

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

  • identicon
    Hirohito Masamune, 11 Jun 2015 @ 8:01am

    Leave it to a Spaniard

    to think they can "own" everything in the whole damned Universe. Wasn't it just a few hundred years ago they split the Earth 50/50 with Portugal without any input from anyone else?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2015 @ 8:06am

    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.

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

    • identicon
      dr evil, 11 Jun 2015 @ 11:28am

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jun 11th, 2015 @ 8:06am

      but you CAN sue for unwanted light coming from you neighbors lights.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2015 @ 8:15am

    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.

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 11 Jun 2015 @ 8:26am

      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.

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

  • identicon
    Rich, 11 Jun 2015 @ 9:04am

    Pedantic: "monetize" doesn't mean "to make money off of." It means to literally "use as money."

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

  • identicon
    Hiro, 11 Jun 2015 @ 9:40am

    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?

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

  • icon
    wereisjessicahyde (profile), 11 Jun 2015 @ 9:52am

    If she owns the Sun can I sue if I get skin cancer?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2015 @ 9:58am

    Ebay needs to smash this woman into utter poverty for the next 30 or 40 years otherwise the freaks will emerge from under their stones and Ebay will face THOUSANDS of stupid lawsuits theyll have to kill off 1 by 1 until the law can be changed.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2015 @ 10:20am

      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.

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

  • icon
    Oblate (profile), 11 Jun 2015 @ 10:35am

    This may be a scam...

    ...but at least it's a scam with flare!

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

  • identicon
    dr evil, 11 Jun 2015 @ 11:26am

    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. :-D

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

  • identicon
    lulwut, 11 Jun 2015 @ 11:58am

    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. ...

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

  • identicon
    Socrates, 11 Jun 2015 @ 12:05pm

    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.

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

  • icon
    Stan (profile), 11 Jun 2015 @ 12:25pm

    Ya'll have overlooked something !

    Her claim just might be legitimate...and she could win her lawsuit.


    Has anyone established that she isn't God?

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

  • identicon
    biton, 11 Jun 2015 @ 1:35pm

    comment

    the treat makes especially those of international affairs should be clearly checked,for example, this women has right to do so because on that treat nowhere limit individual to posses objects like the sun. So, she's right under the universal human right"we have right to own property"

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

  • identicon
    Bradley Dichter, 13 Jun 2015 @ 1:00pm

    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.

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

  • identicon
    vimal, 21 Jun 2015 @ 12:15pm

    Seriously plots on sun!!

    eBay is a platform to sell but it doesn't means you can sell anything. You are no one to own any planet or anything like that.

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

  • identicon
    Andy, 14 Oct 2015 @ 1:19pm

    You talk about her like she's an idiot, yet she's making money from people who were dumb enough to buy pieces of the sun.... Whoever wrote this is probably butt hurt that they didn't think of it. Or maybe they got tricked into buying "land" as well.

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


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