Vol. 1, Issue 2, May 20, 2003
The Aeronautical Cure
DeadBrain UK

Town Uses Ebay to Recoup Festival Losses

The small town of Reslin, California is best known for its fields of garlic and its annual Garlic Renaissance festival, which provides up to 40% of the town's income for the year. So when unseasonable rains threatened to call off the entire affair, an inventive teenager came to the rescue.

Brian Stockley, age 15, auctioned off the weather over Reslin to a dentist in Shreveport, LA. He then tipped off town officials to the new ownership of the weather, and the town subsequently sued the dentist for $10 million in economic damages. They eventually settled for $2.5 million out of court.

"Auctions normally run for seven days, so I put up a really attractive "Buy It Now" price," added the teen, referring to Ebay's feature whereby the first bidder to meet a pre-set price level has the option to purchase an item immediately. The dentist, Dr. Marvin Pier, purchased the weather over Reslin for a mere $25.

"Seemed like a good bargain at the time," grumped the fuming dentist following the multimillion dollar settlement. "Obviously, less so now."

Stockley carefully worded the terms of the sale to avoid conflicting with federal law, which prohibits private ownership of airspace rights. The sale only transferred ownership, and hence responsibility, for the weather in the airspace over Reslin.

"See, I didn't make the connection with the festival, because the weather rights extended throughout the entire month," said Dr. Pier in court statements earlier. "Next time I'll be more careful when shopping on Ebay."


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