Could Amazon sell secondhand digital music?

Tom Pakinkis

A patent for re-selling digital content has been granted to online retailer Amazon.

The patent describes a service similar to ReDigi in the US, which has raised copyright concerns with Capitol Records accusing the company of infringement.

The Amazon patent, which was filed in 2009 but granted last month, covers “digital objects including e-books, audio, video, computer applications etc” and could be implemented “when the user no longer desires to retain the right to access the now-used digital content.

“The user may move the used digital content to another user’s personalised data store when permissible and the used digital content is deleted from the originating user’s personalised data store,” it says.

The mechanism could be problematic for rights holders, if they are left out of the loop when it comes to gaining revenue from second-hand digital sales, which could cannibalise sales at digital retailers.

ReDigi issued a statement last week saying that the details of the Amazon patent have “justifiably” caused a stir, calling it further proof that the “secondary market is the future of the digital space.”

The US company argued that its model “frees up billions of dollars of locked up wealth enabling the participation of all parties from consumer to artist/author to copyright holder in the profit chain.”

“To our knowledge Amazon has NEVER compensated artists, authors or copyright holders for the secondary sale of their goods, and they have sold billions of dollars worth of them,” says a statement on the ReDigi website. “There is nothing in the Amazon patent that addresses this issue.”


Tags: Digital, Amazon

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