Not to milk my 15 seconds of fame too much, but I’m gonna put on my egoist hat for this post. eBay will be doing a trial wherein pre-approved sellers (AKA rights holders) will be able to auction off digital music (via Engadget). They very specifically note “a buyer of downloadable media through eBay cannot re-list or resell the media on eBay.” This must be how the person who forced Windex to put “Do not drink” on their labels feels.
USA Today has the story, including a quote from me about the aforementioned auction as well as reference to how I “fumed about it ever since on his Internet blog.”

One response to “eBay to sell digital music”

  1. Hey, without your work, USA Today would either have no mention of the resale issue in the article or might have had an unclear explanation of vague fears of how the license agreement could limit use. A high-publicity litmus test early on can really help clarify the issue in the debates to come…
    The ability to resell and copy could not be stopped practically with physical media, so the law sensibly had to own up to that and make sure it was legal. But licenses in the style of software EULAs are arbitrary contracts and can usually be enforced by software. So what really is going to happen is that the digital media companies are going to make up rules that suit them and only alienate the customers that want to use the media in “creative” or “different” ways. We are not the majority of their users.
    My guess is, it will be hard to get the majority up in arms about this because the majority don’t have high expectations of how they want to use their music. Because of this, I don’t think market pressure will solve this – there probably needs to be a Supreme Court ruling or act of Congress to secure some set of rights for people regarding digital media they purchase. However, given that the DMCA is the law of the land I don’t think the current political environment would be warm to this idea.
    I guess I hope two things:
    1. this is just a pendulum swing away from freedom
    2. the pendulum doesn’t have far to go before swinging back

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