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.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.
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.
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.