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The Almighty Buck

Ohio Wants eBayers to Post $50k Bond 841

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-wait-a-minute dept.
MacDork writes "CNNMoney posted a short article this morning about new Ohio regulations set to become effective May 2 this year. If you are in the state and selling on eBay, you will need to pay $200 for a license and post a $50,000 bond or face possible fines and jail time. Getting the license also requires a one-year apprenticeship. When asked to which eBay users this bill applied, the bill's author, Larry Mumper responded with these very specific guidelines.... "It certainly will not apply to the casual seller on eBay, but might apply to anyone who sells a lot.""
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Ohio Wants eBayers to Post $50k Bond

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  • by Skye16 (685048) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @09:34AM (#11876126)
    ...but why does this affect anyone other than eBay? TECHNICALLY, they are doing the auctioning. You're just putting up your item for auction. Is it illegal for you to pay an auctioneer 500$ to have them auction off your house? How could this apply to the user? THEY aren't accepting bids - the software is, and the software was created by and managed by eBay. The user isn't auctioning a damn thing, they're having ebay do it for them.

    ...aren't they?
  • Seems a bit overdone (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PepeGSay (847429) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @09:35AM (#11876133)
    Why would you have to apprentice as an auctioneer to sell something where the auction portion is run by someone else. This seems akin to making people on the Antiques Roadshow take auction classes and an apprenticeship before they can have Sotheby's auction their items. Is this really a way to back into a tax?
  • Re:rediculous (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jeff85 (710722) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @09:35AM (#11876137) Homepage
    Did you read the summary? It stated that "It certainly will not apply to the casual seller on eBay, but might apply to anyone who sells a lot." So the average seller isn't affected, unless the average person sells a lot of stuff. And in my book, a casual seller is the average type of seller on eBay.
  • auction school (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fr1kk (810571) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @09:36AM (#11876144) Homepage
    FTA: Besides costing $200 and posting a $50,000 bond, the license requires a one-year apprenticeship to a licensed auctioneer, acting as a bid-caller in 12 auctions, attending an approved auction school, passing a written and oral exam. Failure to get a license could result in the seller being fined up to $1,000 and jailed for a maximum of 90 days.

    and a school to become a licensed seller?

    what if i go on a spree, and say, sell like 30 items that i've found in my basement over christmas break? does that constitute as someone who sells more than 'casually'?
  • by server1 (702972) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @09:41AM (#11876179)
    This is just another snow job to dance around the Internet no-tax law. ...where is the ACLU on this??!...they must have been sleeping...
  • WTF!?!?! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @09:41AM (#11876181)
    I see absolutely no reason why this bill should even exist! Unless it is some sort of sick money making scheme by part of the state. They are targeting ONE auction site, a specific company, and are charging insane/asinine amounts of money just to be an eBay seller, of which there are many. WTF
  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @09:43AM (#11876192) Homepage
    No ambiguity there.

    Seriously, despite the certain risk of being modded down, Ohio has EVERY right to do this. If you open up a business in Ohio, it has a right to license you. That applies even if you set up your business in your house.

    However, I certainly hope they clear up that vague definition before it's enacted!
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @09:43AM (#11876197)
    Something about the Interstate Commerce Clause might get congress, or at least the judcial branch involved. How long until the first lawsuit to stop, or at least clarify, the law?

    Interesting idea and the law is certainly too vague, but I don't see how this is an interstate commerce issue. Ohio is regulating (or overregulating) its own state's businesses. Its really no different than a local sales tax on restaurants, business license for retailers, etc. This would only become an interstate issue is Ohio required non-Ohio eBayers to register, pay tax, or put up a bond.
  • by AKnightCowboy (608632) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @10:08AM (#11876439)
    5 years ago I would've kicked you in the teeth for saying that, but these days I realize you're entirely correct. I can't wait to get out of this state.
  • by seanmc42 (736339) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @10:13AM (#11876477)
    "Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest." - Mohandas Gandhi
  • by ianscot (591483) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @10:17AM (#11876515)
    That's funny, because my first reaction was that this law sounded as sloppily written as Minnesota's recent concealed weapons legislation -- which was written in a way that left major ambiguities about who could provide the required safety courses, for one example.

    We have a passel of state Reps I'd describe as "social right wingers" who put up stuff like death penalty legislation every term. They were behind the weapons bill: it was touted as making the law fairer by not leaving it up to individual sheriffs, but really it aimed at allowing more people to carry concealed guns. The bills these folks turn out seem to have been written by 10th graders who were unfamiliar with anything but the skeleton of the issue they're talking about, and they often have unintended consequences.

    So, who is this guy?

    Senator Larry A. Mumper [state.oh.us], Ohio Senate Republican.

    He's listed there as primary sponsor of a couple of other bills, including one that was presented as an "academic bill of rights for higher education." [kenyon.edu] This bill was partly prompted by a story about a kid who wrote a "pro-America" paper and got a bad grade from his teacher... Oops, except the kid's paper was crap [mediamatters.org]; he'd written a 1-page "report" that wasn't up-to-snuff, got a bad grade, and decided it was because he was patriotic that he'd been silenced. The bill itself reads like a wolf in sheep's clothing aimed at "protecting a plurality of opinion" by remaining neutral about crap like "intelligent design." It doesn't spell out how you'd decide when a topic was "controversial" -- gee, an ambiguity that could lead to unintended consequences.

    Does this sound like exactly the sort of wingnut I'm seeing in Minnesota? I mean, this is a guy who says his law "might apply to anyone who sells a lot" and "If someone buys and sells on eBay on a regular basis as a type of business, then there is a need for regulation." "As a type of business"? No ambiguity there, is there?

  • by anthony_dipierro (543308) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @10:17AM (#11876518) Journal

    Gibbons lost the case and appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which reversed the decision. The Court held that the New York law was unconstitutional, since the power to regulate interstate commerce, which extended to the regulation of navigation, belonged exclusively to Congress.

    Actually Gibbens vs. Ogden was an example of an industry which was already regulated by the federal government. This is a much different case, because the federal government has not yet stepped in to regulate these transactions in this way.

    In this case, the law still may be unconstitutional, based on the dormant commerce clause, but as long as the law does not discriminate against foreign commerce (which would certainly be true if it only applied to sellers located in the state, if anything it would then favor foreign commerce), then the court must do a balancing test: does the burden imposed by the law outweigh the benefits.

    In this case, I don't know. A $50,000 bond seems quite excessive. But this is an arguable point, and it would be a much less open and shut case than you make it out to be by referencing Ogden.

  • by clonan (64380) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @10:28AM (#11876634)
    I DO sell on ebay.

    I sell part time, maybe 5 hours a week.

    Last year I grossed almost $250 K...that's a quarter million!

    Of that I took about 12 K in profit.

    Ebay is NOT a very profitable place to operate anymore. People are NOT becoming rich....at least not often.

    I can almost understand the $200 license...standard government fines....but why the classes/apprenticeship.

    THe ENTIER point of ebay is that THEY are the auctioneer not you. You are simply the provider of the goods you don't actually participate the in auciton itself.

    This law is stupid and will only drive income tax revenue from Ohio. I just thank god that I do not live in a state that is considering this.
  • by deacon (40533) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @10:39AM (#11876755) Journal
    Many people have the mistaken impression that guns are too lightly regulated in the USA.

    Not only do Americans tolerate a wide variety of restrictive laws, which vary state by state, they even have to pay for their own guns and ammunition!

    Compare this to the Swiss experience.

    Every Swiss [stephenhalbrook.com] man, on reaching age 20, is issued with a rifle to keep at home.

    That rifle is the SIG Strumgeweher (assault rifle) model 1990 (Stgw 90), a selective fire, 5.6 mm rifle with folding skeleton stock, bayonet lug, bipod, and grenade launcher. pic [waffeninfo.net] , pic [swissarms2.ath.cx], Google [google.com]

    The Stgw 90 is a real assault rifle in that it is fully automatic.

    Gun control dogma claims that this would result in a bloodbath. As usual, the dogma is wrong.

    Note also that Mainstream Media avoids reporting on the Swiss gun policy. After all, they don't want to undo all the work they have done for anti-gun forces over the years!

  • by digidave (259925) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @10:42AM (#11876788)
    Actually, most non gang-related gun murders are committed with legal firearms. Most gang-related murders are not committed against the general public.

    In other words, if you're not a gang member you are more likely to be killed by a legal firearm than an illegal one. That doesn't make "gun control" a workable solution, but it does fly in the face of what most gun activists say.
  • by prgrmr (568806) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @10:48AM (#11876855) Journal
    THe ENTIER point of ebay is that THEY are the auctioneer not you. You are simply the provider of the goods you don't actually participate the in auciton itself.

    From any of ebay's crappy, canned e-mail responses: "we are just a venue"

    eBay itself went through this 4-5 years ago in California after so many people were complaining to the Attorney General that eBay wasn't registered as an auctioneer (with appropriate bonding and all the liability that goes along with that, which ain't trivial). The AG's ruling was that they didn't have to, as they are not an auctioneer. They are a venue selling in an "auction style format", as ebay puts it, and the AG bought it.

    IANAL, but given that ebay isn't a registered auctioneer, it ought not to be too terribly difficult to get judicial review on this in Ohio and have ebay (and other on-line sites like Yahoo's "auctions") ruled not a traditional auction and thus exempt from this mess.
  • Re:rediculous (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @11:12AM (#11877119) Journal
    Heh heh heh. I always love outrageously imprecise laws that are defended by "that's not the intent" and "we would never use it that way". The proof is in the pudding, I'm afraid. If legislators create an overbroad and ill-defined law (what's "lots" and what's "casual" and when does one become the other) they are either numbskulls or have something rather nasty in mind.

    I don't know that much about Ohio's politics, though their position on science education leads me to believe you've got some pretty goofy people running the state.

  • by jotok (728554) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @11:26AM (#11877294)
    Sure, but also consider the number of young kids these days who are medicated. Individually, they don't have any say in whether or not they take ritalin or prozac or what-have-you. By the time they reach age of consent, the damage is done and they are a part of drug-consumer society, which is bad even if they restrict themselves to legal drugs.

    Just a thought.
  • by AviLazar (741826) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @11:35AM (#11877395) Journal
    Unrestricted? When I purchased my gun they took my license & SS# and ran a background check (it is an automated system that utilized your D/L and SS card). Then to get a carrying permit I had to file for one - in person - with three forms of ID and it took exactly (as they said it would) three months to get the carrying permit. Now that is in PA...I know in CA they require you to take a training course in gun safety (unless you are in the military, or law enforcement agency). So what is this unrestricted you are talking about?

    Kids manhandling their daddys gun and shooting themselves is strictly the fault of the parent - and should not hinder the rest of society. Lock up the freaking gun - they pretty much all come with safety locks. Suicides will kill themselves in a manner of different ways - gun is just easier - but if someone wants to die, nothing can stop them.

    The occasional nutjob - how did he get that gun? Legally or illegally?

    My gun has another reason to exist - i like to go to the shooting range, it's fun. My friend likes to go hunting pheasant once a year (he does eat them). And, for protection - sorry I am not such a good fighter that I can fend off 2-5 people with bats and knives...however, i am an excellent shot and my 8 bullets can stop 2-5 people quite easily.

    And this "screwed up notion" of defending myself comes up because I do not have a police officer next to me at every moment of my life. A police officer does little good to defend my life if he is not there.
  • Re:rediculous (Score:2, Interesting)

    by the_bard17 (626642) <theluckyone17@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @11:45AM (#11877518)
    IANAL, but...

    From eBay's website, When you list an item on eBay, you're charged an Insertion Fee.... Based on that, I'd say that it could be argued that you're simply the seller, and eBay is being hired by the seller to function as the auctioneer.

    This can be strengthened by pointing out that eBay is the one who handles the bidding process itself, not the seller.

    But then again, I may not have any clue what I'm talking about ;o)
  • by whats_a_zip (743877) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @12:11PM (#11877774)
    "I think ohio has seen a big fat cash cow and has decided to get down to milk it at gunpoint." Bingo! Gov. Taft was rated the worst Governor in the United States. The state of Ohio is broke, and completely mismanaged. What you see here is desperation.
  • by FreshlyShornBalls (849004) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @12:14PM (#11877795)
    it's sad that this is what our "representatives" spend most of their time doing

    Mostly because the average voter doesn't spend ANY of his/her time researching the candidates in November....

  • "From what I can tell from the article, the law is more meant for Auctioneers."

    The bill *supposedly* wasn't meant to apply to casual sellers. However, the way it is currently written, it applies to everyone who sells on ebay. They are trying to backpeddle and swear that they are going to revise it, but I really don't buy it.

    There are many times that I want to smack our legislaters (I live in Ohio). The amusing thing was that the state rep for where I used to live was a friend of my family's, so I really *could* smack him. =]
  • by rolofft (256054) <rolofftNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @12:45PM (#11878104)
    > ...Ohio has EVERY right to do this.

    States do not have the right to impose arbitrary licensing laws. E.g. Arbitrary licensing laws on hairbraiders, casket sellers, and jitney drivers have been struck down. [ij.org]

    The first question to ask when a new licensing scheme is proposed is whether its true motivation is rent seeking [wikipedia.org] rather than consumer protection. I'd be interested to see whether Mr Mumper's has received any recent contributions the from brick and mortar antique seller's lobby.
  • by ageoffri (723674) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @01:14PM (#11878408)
    Sarcasm aside, I DO read stories with alarming frequency of kids finding guns and accidentally shooting themselves, suicides, and even the occasional nutjob shooting up his office or school. Would any of these (other than suicide, sadly) happen without guns being freely and readily available?

    This is the media that is distorting your view. There are thousands of documented cases a year where a firearm saves lives and prevents crime. I take it you support the V chip and the goverenment telling us what children can watch? I ask this because any time a child gets ahold of a gun it is is a parenting failure.

    We're talking an item that has NO other reason to exist than to kill people. Where do we get this screwed up notion that we should be "defending ourselves" instead of the police force that we as society have tasked with that (and they do a damn fine job, I might add)? No other reason to exist then to kill people? Are you really this clueless? There is competive shooting events, just because it isn't your hobby doesn't mean that there aren't thousands of people who enjoy target shooting.

    I'd like to know where you got this screwed up notion that police are here to defend us? The job of the police has always been to solve crime, ask just about any police office and they will tell you that there is very little they can do to prevent crime.

  • Outside the US yes, but inside the US on statistics done on a State by State basis concealed gun permits actually reduce crime. While gun control laws have little effect, and sometimes make matters worse.

    Its a simple fact that the country is full of guns and they arn't going away. Apparently even the British are starting to have problems themselves as the criminals are arming themselves.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @01:39PM (#11878672)
    Depending on how the money is spent, taxes can be a waste of money.

    And while you paid attention in American History and Civics, it appears you didn't do so well in Economic. More money and taxes won't necessairly help your "crimes." Look more into the idea of scarcity.

    "The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics."
    -- Thomas Sowell
  • by jallred (108071) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @02:47PM (#11879558)
    "Things can get bad, really bad really fast. I want those government programs in place so that, should catastrophe strike, my family and myself are taken care of."

    Come on, don't rely on the govt to take care of you. You need to take care of yourself. At a minimum you should have a supply of money and food set aside that can last you for a year. You lose your job? So what, you have a year to find a new one.
  • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @03:15PM (#11879887)
    How about trying this, instead?

    Correlate gun ownership rates in any county of the USA with fatal shooting in that county. You'll be surprised.

    Hint: the counties with the most restrictive gun-control laws and the lowest rates of gun ownership tend to be up near the top in terms of fatal shootings.

    Anecdotal case: Jefferson Parish LA vs. Orleans Parish LA. Two counties (we call them parishes in LA, but they're still counties) that are literally side by side - separated by a canal about 30 feet wide. Populations of both are similar - about 400,000.

    Prior to passage of Louisiana's Shall Issue (Concealed Carry) Law, Orleans Parish didn't issue concealed weapon permits, Jefferson Parish did quite freely.

    Murder rates in Orleans Parish were on the order of 300 per year.

    Jefferson Parish? about 25.

    You might also consider Switzerland. Everyone has a fully automatic weapon there. Required by law, as part of their militia system, I understand. Murder rate? Trivially low.

    Canada has about the same gun ownership rate the US has (they're just not so noisy about it as we are), but 1/3 our murder rate.

    One might also want to consider that looking only at fatal shootings is misleading. Look instead at murders from all causes (after all, it's not really desirable to remove guns if all we do is make sure that more people are killed with baseball bats than previously).

This place just isn't big enough for all of us. We've got to find a way off this planet.

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