EBay weighing legal options against Simon parody site

The Associated Press
Friday September 06, 2002

LOS ANGELES — EBay Inc. said Thursday it is considering legal action against a parody Web site called E-Gray that lampoons Gov. Gray Davis and is produced by his opponent’s campaign. 

“Obviously it has the look and feel of eBay without our permission,” said eBay spokesman Chris Donlay. “Whenever we see a situation like that we always take a good hard look at it.” 

“We are exploring our options and we’ll decide whether to take legal action or not,” Donlay added. 

E-Gray parodies the popular Web auction site by purporting to sell favors from Davis. It’s meant to illustrate one of Republican Simon’s principal accusations against the Democratic incumbent, that he runs a “pay-to-play” administration that favors those who make large political contributions. 

With its logo and color scheme it is clearly meant to mimic ebay. Simon staff said they intend to leave it online. 

“We think there are numerous differences, one of them being E-Bay clearly sells products to the public, while Gray Davis clearly sells public policy,” said Simon press secretary Mark Miner. “The only similarities there are is they’re both sold to the highest bidder. We stand by the Web site.” 

“This is once again another example of Bill Simon’s legal problems,” responded the Davis campaign’s press secretary, Roger Salazar. “He’s got several court dates over the next couple of months. I’m not sure they want another.” 

Simon is scheduled to testify Nov. 8 in the trial of a lawsuit in which he and other investors accuse the government of improperly seizing a savings and loan and costing them millions of dollars.