OJ Simpson’s “If I Did It” Hits eBay

Not surprisingly, copies of OJ’s newly suppressed book, If I Did It, are now available on eBay. As I write, the highest bid for a copy weighs in at $15,300. Meanwhile, the New York Times tells us that an attorney for Nicole Brown SImpson is demanding that eBay banish the book. The article also suggests that eBay has already been pulling the books from its listings. If it has, it’s not doing a great job. There are six copies up right now, and at least one has been posted for well over a day.

I have no idea about the legal implications here. Does eBay have a legal duty to pull them? I suppose this might turn on how, and conceivably, under what contractual limits, the sellers obtained the book. If the sellers obtained the book by theft, and eBay knows or should know this, I suppose it might be criminally liable for “fencing” the volume. If the seller obtained the book under a confidentiality agreement, which he or she is violating, I’m not clear that eBay has any duties at all. And if Nicole’s lawyers hope to suppress the book on the grounds that it is hurtful, or that OJ is an ass…that just seems like a loser of a legal argument. eBay could choose to pull If I Did It out of kindness or good taste, but I have to think that this book is only one of many items currently listed on eBay that could be excluded on these grounds.

The likely reality is that copies of this book are going to circulate, OJ won’t benefit from these sales (beyond his generous advance), and this trash will fetch top dollar for a relatively short time. For the hard-core OJ Simpson fan, it’s probably best to wait out the frenzy. If we’re lucky, OJ’s book will be selling on eBay’s Half.com before you know it.

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4 Responses

  1. Heidi Kitrosser says:

    Hi Dan. E-Bay would have a pretty good First Amendment argument against criminal liability, and certainly against any prior restraints requiring it to pull the book. The Supreme Court generally has protected the rights of those who disseminate even illegally obtained works, so long as the disseminator did not themselves participate in the illegality. Of course the other side could try to distinguish this situation from prior cases by saying this doesn’t involve a matter of public importance, but that probably wouldn’t fly in light of the obvious public interest in the case (regardless of normative assessments as to whether this public interest is desirable or not)! Though, as you suggest, if E-Bay has imposed contractual limitations on itself that this activity breaches, then that may be a different story.

  2. Texas Truth says:

    Everything which people think have a monetary value ends up on the secondary market. Did anyone think a copy wouldn’t leak out?

    I have posted a comment on this and other topics on my blog. Please feel few to stop by and post your thoughts and views, no matter what they are.

    Free exchange of thoughts is what makes us better.

    Texas Truth

    http://texastruth.blogspot.com

  3. mlbrown626 says:

    Just wanted you to know that I have some of the books coming…should have them in 4-5 days if you know anyone who would like one!

  4. Breanna says:

    I actually have a copy that i want to get rid of right now. Its for sale if you are interested let me know.