There is a great article on CNET here, on a new site called Bopaboo which allows people to sell their MP3s on. My initial view is this is bonkers and a paragraph of the article states why:
“Patrick Ross, executive director of the Copyright Alliance, a watchdog group made up of artists, producers and other content creators, chuckled when I explained Bopaboo’s business model.
“Clearly a first-sale defense won’t apply here,” Ross said. “In the case of a book or any other creative work, you no longer possess the work once you sell it…It’s also hard for me to imagine the model succeeding because if somebody wants to pay for works they will pay for it at a legal site and see that creators are compensated. If they are willing to break the rules, they would just go on (P2P service) Lime Wire and get it for free. I hope (Bopaboo) crashes and burns before it gets sued. It seems like a flawed business model as well as an illegal business model.”" From CNET
However, surely it COULD be given the green light if it was only done with files with DRM, and if somehow the DRM was transported with the file. Clearly, DRM is on the way out, so its not really relevant, but for those with tons of files with DRM it might be legitmate question. Actually, DRM is on the way out for Audio but not for TV and Film downloads, so for this market it may be very very relevant.
When selling CDs the music industry has always stated that what you are buying is not the physical product, but the license that goes with it. Hence, if the license states that you can only listen to the audio on tuesdays, whilst standing on one leg wearing women’s underwear, then you have to not to be in breach of the license. Accordingly labels have tried to limit the license so resale is not allowed, and are stating that case with digital downloads.
Yet, first-sale rights exist before the license comes into play which is why second hand sales of physical products exist. So even though there are clear issues (as the quote above points out) with digital media, it could be argued that there is an issue here that needs to be resolved somehow. Someone could build up a huge library of tv shows and films and then decide if they want to sell them on. Additionally, what happens if someone sells a computer, with all that content still on the machine (but perhaps it was backed up on a separate Hard Drive). Thats clearly theft too, but one can see that kind of setup happening as people try to add value to their second hand hardware (the same with IPODs etc).
In fact there are many shops in the US/UK that sell second hand IPODs, even Amazon and Ebay do. Surely if they are pre-loaded with music, films and tv shows then they too are aiding and abetting breaking copyright as much as Bopaboo?