eBay Bans Albums By Black Metal Artist Burzum
Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - 02:08 PM
It has been well established throughout the history of TLDR that I am a fan of what one could call "difficult" music. And even for me, Noreweigan Black Metal is a little out there. Not simply because it's totally brutal and unrelenting, it is also infamous for being a culture of Satanism, suicide, and church burning. Varg Vikernes, who records under the name Burzum, is often cited as a poster child for all that is ugly about the genre, having burned several churches and spent 21 years in prison for murdering fellow Black Metal artist Euronymous in the mid 90's. It's all pretty gross. So is that why eBay is making it impossible to purchase his music?
The Daily Dot hipped us to this article from Metalsucks.net, which claims that posting Burzum albums violates eBay's offensive material policy. If you do a search on eBay, there's still a ton of Burzum material on eBay, but according to Metalsucks' tipster, as of last week users are no longer allowed to list new items.
This seems like a weirdly inconsistent application of a policy. Taking for granted everything offensive about Vikernes - he's a Satanist, a church desecrator, a murderer and a white nationalist - I found albums by at least one other white supremacist group (fortunately, I am not all that familiar with white supremacist rock and roll), and plenty of memorabilia and music for all-around terrible person GG Allin. I imagine that a band like this has probably happened before with other artists, and likely at the behest of someone complaining to eBay, but policing for offensive material on eBay would be an almost impossibly difficult job.
Even though the application of this policy is inconsistent, I'm just not finding myself outraged at this. The First Amendment can't abridge hate speech, but corporations do it all the time, and it makes perfect sense for a for-profit enterprises to want to avoid being associated with media that could offend or outrage a vocal group of people. Still, I have sent a request to eBay for clarification on its policies regarding the banning of certain artists, and will update the post with any information they provide.