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Music The Courts

RIAA Doesn't Like the "Used Digital Music" Business 300

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-owner-only dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Ars Technica reports on the developing story between the RIAA and music reseller ReDigi, 'the world's first online marketplace for used digital music,' who first came online with a beta offering on October 11th, 'allowing users to sell "legally acquired digital music files" and buy them from others "at a fraction of the price currently available on iTunes.'' If the notion of selling 'used' digital content is challenged in court, we may finally receive a judicial ruling on the legality of EULAs that will overturn the previous Vernor v. Autodesk decision."
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RIAA Doesn't Like the "Used Digital Music" Business

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  • by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:10PM (#38064374) Journal
    Backup copies, you're just trading files with moneys attached. Like reselling a physical CD after ripping it or copying it to tape or whatnot, same as we've done for years really, just quicker and easier. This kind of resale relies heavily on the honor system.
    • Re:Honor system (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:13PM (#38064446)

      Not the honor system, but it relies on the idea that a CD is a license to listen to the music. The RIAA should put their whole inventory online, assign them uuid's hashed with the users uuid, and provide a clearing house so that it's the NUMBER on the cd case that entitles you to the music, not the CD itself. it's a thought... closer to reality then stomping out the practice of selling used music is.

      Not that I want to help those asshole culture pimps along or anything.

      • Re:Honor system (Score:5, Informative)

        by Pope (17780) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:27PM (#38064672)

        Ever look at the fine print on an old LP? Same thing applies. You have never "owned" the music, you just have a limited playback license tied to the physical object.

        • Re:Honor system (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:44PM (#38064938)

          That language is illegal under The Clayton Act of 1914. The Clayton Act was an anti trust act that prevents restrictions on reselling and rentals. Trying to control market of used items with an nda is illegal price fixing.

          • Re:Honor system (Score:5, Interesting)

            by ILongForDarkness (1134931) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @05:10PM (#38065450)
            I think the RIAA will argue that iTunes, CDs etc are the distribution mechanisms for licensed products. Just because a licensed product exists in physical form doesn't mean that you don't need a license to use it. So sure sell the CD/iTune file but the caveat is that the buyer doesn't have a right to use it since they haven't purchased a license.
            • Re:Honor system (Score:5, Interesting)

              by nabsltd (1313397) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @05:29PM (#38065794)

              I think the RIAA will argue that iTunes, CDs etc are the distribution mechanisms for licensed products.

              They can argue that all they want, but a CD, a downloaded MP3, and a book are all identical as far as copyright law is concerned. All are copies of copyrighted content whose ownership has been transferred to the purchaser. The only part of copyright law that concerns licensing is granting rights to material you have copyrighted to another entity (person, business, etc.). For that, I agree that an iTunes sale can also include licenses for things like making limited multiple copies, transcoding to a different format, etc., and those licenses can be explicitly declared as not transferable in the event of a resale of the actual original copy.

              Just because a licensed product exists in physical form doesn't mean that you don't need a license to use it.

              You have been tricked by the big media companies into believing a lie. Again, there is no license mentioned in copyright law other than the licensing of the exclusive rights of the copyright holder. Once you have a copy of copyrighted material in your possession, you are free to do with it as you wish, as long as you do not violate any of the exclusive rights listed in copyright law, and none of those rights concern simply your personal "using" (reading, listening to, watching, etc.) of the material.

              • Re:Honor system (Score:4, Insightful)

                by Bucky24 (1943328) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @06:14PM (#38066584)

                a CD, a downloaded MP3, and a book are all identical as far as copyright law is concerned

                Until the RIAA realize they can't get money this way and a new revision to the copyright is suddenly introduced in Congress.

                • by rtb61 (674572)

                  It seems they managed to sneek the DMCA in but ever since then they have been struggling. Apparently the internet is starting to rule over the idiot box when it comes to political advertising and that battle is still on going, as the idiot box audience dies off. So it is more likley that if they start reviewing copyright laws too much they might be shocked to find they go in the other direction.

              • Re:Honor system (Score:5, Informative)

                by lgw (121541) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @06:32PM (#38066832) Journal

                The law doesn't work the way you want it to, I fear.

                They can argue that all they want, but a CD, a downloaded MP3, and a book are all identical as far as copyright law is concerned

                Wrong. "Phonorecords" are different in copyright. For example, you don't need any special licence to rent out DVDs, but you do for CDs.

                and none of those rights concern simply your personal "using" (reading, listening to, watching, etc.) of the material

                If you cannot consume the media without a copy of it being made (e.g., in the memory of the player), there's plenty of room for weasels in copyright law.

                • Re:Honor system (Score:5, Informative)

                  by msauve (701917) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @08:32PM (#38068226)

                  If you cannot consume the media without a copy of it being made (e.g., in the memory of the player),

                  Transitory "copies" do not violate copyright. There's case law behind that. See here [proskauer.com], for a bit of info.

                  Beyond that, I'd argue that any "copying" necessary to reproduce the work as it is obviously intended to be rendered (i.e. audio and/or video playback) would be "fair use," as the work would be useless otherwise.

                • by russotto (537200)

                  Wrong. "Phonorecords" are different in copyright. For example, you don't need any special licence to rent out DVDs, but you do for CDs.

                  Various copyrightable items are different in various ways, but copyright law does not grant the copyright holder the exclusive right to control private use of a copy by its owner, for any copyrightable item.

                  If you cannot consume the media without a copy of it being made (e.g., in the memory of the player), there's plenty of room for weasels in copyright law.

                  There's a circuit

        • Re:Honor system (Score:4, Insightful)

          by AshtangiMan (684031) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:53PM (#38065102)
          Except the fair use doctrine allowed for copies to be made. You were allowed to make a tape copy of an LP for your own use (this was challenged by the record companies of course).
        • Ever look at the fine print on an old LP? Same thing applies. You have never "owned" the music, you just have a limited playback license tied to the physical object.

          That doesn't mean the license is not transferable. You can put anything you want in fine print, that doesn't mean it's the law.

          • by gstoddart (321705)

            That doesn't mean the license is not transferable. You can put anything you want in fine print, that doesn't mean it's the law.

            Sadly, with the DOJ talking about violating the TOS of a site as being a crime [slashdot.org] ... what you say may not be true for long.

            We're pretty much getting bent over and subject to the whims of copyright holders, and they're getting more clout all the time. It's only a matter of time before hearing someone's stereo or humming a song will be a major felony.

        • by bberens (965711)
          It's not clear to me what my liquid propane tank has to do with digital music.
        • by memojuez (910304)
          There was once an image link posted on /. that showed clearly that you had to send $0.25 to RIAA if you resold that album. Every time a CD, LP, 8-Track or Cassette is sold, or resold, RIAA demands payment.
      • You just pretty much described the "UltraViolet" locker service; unfortunately the implementation is buggy and laden with DRM.

    • Even the honor system won't work. Now that the on-line retailers like Amazon and iTunes have a cloud service that stores your purchases, the concept of deleting local copies doesn't work.

    • by Tharsman (1364603)

      Not just the honor system. Now that apple allows users to re-download music at any time, there is no way for you to get rid of a song you purchased. You will forever own it unless you completely transfer your itunes account. That point alone may make the case fall appart in court.

    • Re:Honor system (Score:5, Informative)

      by carrier lost (222597) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:31PM (#38064742) Homepage

      Like reselling a physical CD after ripping it...

      Actually, ReDigi is quite proud of their "forensic" software which authenticates tracks and rejects ones that are ripped.

      From the ARS article:

      "ReDigi says that it does this via its "forensic Verification Engine," which the service says analyzes each upload to make sure it is a legally acquired track—songs ripped from CDs are excluded. "

      In other words, ReDigi is bending over backwards to satisfy the RIAA, but of course, it's not enough.

      • Re:Honor system (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:39PM (#38064856)
        But how do they determine that I have not kept a copy? That's the crux of this. Who cares if I bought it legally. I still don't have the right to sell it to someone else unless I no longer have a copy. Who can prove this to be true?
        • Homeland Security will be called in to strip search you and go through your house after every sale. If you have a garage sale, you may request a Homeland Security agent to be stationed in your garage for the duration of the sale. For $40 extra, they'll use lube.

      • I think the RIAA is just arguing that iTunes and the like license the song to you where as a CD is a purchase. That said the EULA doesn't say it is a license (at least from what was posted earlier in the thread) but the Verrnor v AutoTool also used a criteria of substantive restrictions on use in the EULA as making it a license versus purchase so if Apple or whoever you bought the track from limits its use (ie. mentions no copying, no resale, no use outside of a geographical region etc0 it is defacto a lice
      • So what if it's legal in your country to rip a CD? This is the Internet, legality is a matter of which country you and/or the buyer reside in at that moment, not what country the RIAA or the medium used to do the trade in is based in. Or is it? This is too hairy to give absolute answers on, because there are way too many situations in which exemptions to one or the other jurisdiction will apply.
      • No no no. You buy the CD, you rip copies to your hard drive, then sell the CD to Record and Tape Traders for $5. You have the music, they have the CD. It's the same with i.e. Amazon MP3s, you upload your copy for resale but you KEEP the original you have downloaded, now there are TWO copies. A thing that cannot be stopped, so we just plead with you to not do it.
      • by Xian97 (714198) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @05:48PM (#38066138)
        When dealing with the RIAA, bending over backwards isn't the position you have to assume...
      • In other words, ReDigi is bending over backwards to satisfy the RIAA, but of course, it's not enough.

        That's because the threat to the RIAA is, and always has been, the dwindling of the music industry's hegemony over sales of recorded audio. If an industry arises that threatens their (still!) ridiculously high prices on iTunes etc., then they're in trouble. They do *not* want a race-to-the-bottom for the price of mp3s. It might also make P2P piracy look much more benign (does anyone care about the crime of stealing pennies?), and it could get that dangerous idea of "sharing" into the heads of the general

  • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:10PM (#38064390) Journal

    Now the RIAA has flip-flopped by acting as if these digital files are NOT equivalent to physical items...I guess their position will be where the money is, regardless of what's logical or their prior actions.

  • by Moryath (553296) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:10PM (#38064392)

    They've already been trying to do this.

    In the PC games market, tying games to Steam - I bought Portal 2, and discovered it required me to install Steam to get the install and get the fucking software to run.

    What does this mean? Well, I can make it run. But I can't, when done with it, give the copy (serial and all, uninstalled from my computer) to a family member or friend as a gift.

    iTunes does much the same thing. You can't buy something and then send it to someone else, in a "deleted from your account, credited to theirs instead" transaction.

    The cartels salivate at killing the used market because they think it means more sales.

    • The cartels salivate at killing the used market because they think it means more sales.

      It can mean more sales. If used book stores burned every book they bought, the sales of new copies of those books would increase at least a tiny bit...and that sliver is what they're after.

      That's what I'm assuming anyways. If they think that 1 used book sale = 1 lost new book sale, as with piracy they'll be sorely disappointed.

      • by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:31PM (#38064740)

        It can mean more sales. If used book stores burned every book they bought, the sales of new copies of those books would increase at least a tiny bit...and that sliver is what they're after.

        That's what I'm assuming anyways. If they think that 1 used book sale = 1 lost new book sale, as with piracy they'll be sorely disappointed.

        If they thought that, they'd just buy the used books at 30% and destroy them.

        The problem with digital content, is that when properly cared for it doesn't degrade. Vinyl disks wear out with use. Cars rust. Even books get cruddy. Unless a digital recording is released in a higher fidelity, a 20 yo used copy doesn't sound any worse than a new one.

        I'm waiting for a sub-culture, a digital Amish, as it were, of people who only consume media that's at least N years old. People who band together with the latest hardware, but only content that's old and used. Device drivers will have to be open source and blessed by a software shaman. Maybe I'll start it for tax purposes....

        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          I've been thinking about this for a while. Copyrights keep on getting extended, so there isn't all that much content in the public domain, and that which is, wasn't recorded digitally, so all we have are less than stellar recordings. Give it another 100 years, we will eventually have a lot of content in pristine condition which is in the public domain, more content then one could watch in a lifetime, or we'll have copyright extended indefinitely. If you look to books, we already have enough freely availa
          • by Jason Levine (196982) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @05:23PM (#38065688)

            Sadly, I think we are headed more towards a "100 years from now" future where copyrights have been extended to 250 years (after all, that's "limited", right?) than a future where copyrights were kept at 95 years and content was allowed to fall into the public domain.

            Then again, a hundred years is a long time. A hundred years ago, movies were vastly different than they are today. They didn't even have sound. It's possible that 100 years from now, watching a 2011 movie would be as interesting to the average American as watching a silent movie is to the average American of today.

            • by Thing 1 (178996)

              A hundred years ago, movies were vastly different than they are today. They didn't even have sound. It's possible that 100 years from now, watching a 2011 movie would be as interesting to the average American as watching a silent movie is to the average American of today.

              It's come close to reaching that point for me already; I spend more time here than I used to watching media.

      • Until used books stores realise used books aren't a very economic fuel source and stop buying them.
        Then all book lovers realise they have infeasible large piles of books building up which they will never be able to get rid of, and re-reading them becomes more attractive then buying new ones.

      • by poemofatic (322501) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @05:38PM (#38065990)

        But purchasers of books take resale value into account, so destroying the used book market may well mean that demand for books *decreases*:

        I've known people who buy (low brow) books to read once and then re-sell. It is a cost/convenience trade off. They could go to the library, but that's a hassle. Say the hassle is worth $8 bucks to them. They buy a book for $12, read it, and sell it back for $4.

        They are paying $8 in order to not deal with the library.

        Destroy the used book market, and now they need to pay $12 to read that low-brow book once. If it's not worth it, then they don't buy, and overall book demand may decrease. Detroit learned this lesson the hard way when they had the bright idea of building cars that weren't meant to last long enough to have a high re-sale value. The net result was *not* an increased demand for the product.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @05:00PM (#38065246)

      They've already been trying to do this.

      In the PC games market, tying games to Steam - I bought Portal 2, and discovered it required me to install Steam to get the install and get the fucking software to run.

      What does this mean? Well, I can make it run. But I can't, when done with it, give the copy (serial and all, uninstalled from my computer) to a family member or friend as a gift.

      iTunes does much the same thing. You can't buy something and then send it to someone else, in a "deleted from your account, credited to theirs instead" transaction.

      The cartels salivate at killing the used market because they think it means more sales.

      Gotta be perfectly honest here: Going by volume of whining alone, I'm apparently the single, solitary person left on this planet who doesn't sell every damn thing he owns the very picosecond I get bored with it*. No, seriously. I've never looked at a game I've had and thought to myself, "Man, it's absolutely vital that I get about 10% of the money I paid for this back; I mean, COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY VITAL, to the point where my inability to do so, coupled with my apparent lack of reading comprehension and research and a video gaming mindset stubbornly stuck somewhere in the 16-bit era where it was most convenient for me, renders this purchase nothing but a mistake".

      For me, long before "I MUST SELL THIS BACK VERY VERY SOON TO RECOUP MONEY" comes into my mind, the thought of "I most likely don't need this luxury item in the first place" wakes up and stops me from wasting my apparently precious money on this sort of thing if I need said money that badly.

      But apparently, again going solely on how loud the whining gets, that's just me. Guess I'm a "tool of the cartels", or whatever label the entitled generation wants to attach to me, because I'm actually responsible with my money BEFORE I spend it.

      Hint: Failing to get 10% of the price you paid for a game back by selling it is NOT what is keeping you from being rich, nor is failing to get gifted games a few months after release what is keeping your friends or family from being rich (especially since, given time on Steam, that same game will be around 75% off anyway).

      *: Solely because modern physics has yet to determine if time itself has granularity.

    • by Binestar (28861)
      Your example is valid, but I do suggest the following to people who want the ability to trade these games: Make a unique steam ID For each game you install that you might want to trade/sell at some point. Then you just give the login for that game to whomever you want to give it to. Certainly not convenient, but works.
  • by khellendros1984 (792761) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:14PM (#38064458) Journal
    I don't see how "used digital music" actually means anything. There's no way to stop a user from retaining a copy of the file without yet *another* level of some nasty DRM. Anyhow, the idea of "used data" is pretty ridiculous. I predict that the RIAA takes this company to court for enabling and encouraging "unauthorized redistribution of copyrighted IP" or some such. The pusher doesn't like it when you find another source...
    • Re:Meaningless (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:29PM (#38064716)
      You're exchanging a use license. If the original user continues to use the data then they--so the theory goes--would be the violator and subject to litigation. I suspect this company is largely an attempt to test the laws regarding digital property rights. Along the way they probably hope to make some money to pay for the lawyers and with any luck continue the business model having won the recognition that digital and physical property rights may be considered one in the same.
    • Re:Meaningless (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:30PM (#38064722) Journal

      There's no way to stop a user from retaining a copy of the file without yet *another* level of some nasty DRM

      How is this any different from used CDs? There's nothing stopping you from copying the CD and then selling it. In fact, there's nothing stopping you from just downloading the music and skipping the buying step altogether except the idea that you need to own a license to the music, and that license is what they are selling, the file itself is largely irrelevant.

      • The RIAA hates used CDs also and would stop them from being sold if they could. Unfortunately (for them in some ways, for us in others), selling a piece of plastic that you bought is a lot clearer ownership transfer than copying a few files and saying "you own these now."

  • Lots of considerations should go into this. What happens when someone passes away, does their mutli-thousand dollar music collection somehow become magically worthless? What about someone going through a divorce or a bankruptcy? Can these be considered assets and taken from one person and granted to another?

    The first sale doctrine needs to apply in common sense situations like this. If you buy something, including a license, it is only common sense that you would be able to resell it. That being said if a license is sold the original terms should also be accepted. I'm not advocating simply sharing it, I'm talking about removing it from one place putting it in another.

    People would never tolerate the loss of first sale doctrine in any other aspect of their life as it would be absurd. Can you imagine toyota demanding a transfer fee or the right of first refusal when you want to sell your car?

    • by Junta (36770)

      The problem being that you *can't* really even pretend to 'give away' digital content without DRM. In the event of death, I think you can easily say the previous owner will not likely use their copies again, so inheriting makes sense (though should not count in any way in terms of 'estate tax'). In a divorce, I think practically both get the 'property' (maybe a *smidge* unfair to the music industry, but I doubt this constitutes much 'loss'). For purposes of bankruptcy, I'd say it's fair to call the music

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jumperalex (185007)

        That is not my problem. If the business model they have set up is not technically and realistically workable then come up with another model. Part of that new model will ahve to accept that the value of a digitial music license for which I have no transfer rights is then much less than the value of a physical music license which i can transfer via selling the phsyical storage medium.

        That is the real crux of this whole issue and one of the many reasons the ??AA like to play both sides of the fence. It pre

        • by vakuona (788200)

          They have a workable business model in which they do not allow you to resell your music. You are trying to get them to come up with a business model that suits your purposes and asking them to find ways to cater to your whims. You are the one who needs to come up with a workable business model. As far as we can see, allowing people to resell music violates copyright, because you do not have the right to create new copies to sell. Reselling digital music necessarily involves creating new copies of the media.

      • by Pi1grim (1956208)

        Well, if the seller does not remove his copy and the buyer get's the copy, then the seller is actually pirating music and profiting from it. Secondary market can exist and it is way better then what we have now — a lot of filesharing networks. Allowing people to resell what they rightfully bought will be a step towards the end-users and might actually decrease the numbers of those people who don't buy digital music because there is no way of recouping the cost of buying it in the first place.

      • The problem being that you *can't* really even pretend to 'give away' digital content without DRM.

        I agree. But given that I have already agreed to DRM in many cases (e.g. Steam), allowing resale/lending would at least give me some benefits to offset the costs of DRM.

    • I want to know what happens if your collection is stolen? If it's a license, the RIAA should let you get it back. (for a nominal processing fee)

      What happens when you tell your wife to give that box of CDs to charity, and she grabs the wrong box? Do you still have rights to that music that was given away by mistake?

      Fire? Scratched DVD?

      I can borrow a DVD from my public library for free, for 2 weeks. Much better than the Redbox. Should they be able to make a copy of a rare DVD, lend the copy, a
    • by carrier lost (222597) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:44PM (#38064920) Homepage

      What happens when someone passes away, does their mutli-thousand dollar music collection somehow become magically worthless?

      I always thought that it would be instructive for someone to stand in front of congress, hold up an MP3 player or phone and say, "There are 30,000 songs on this device. The Recording Industry insists that every one of those songs is worth at least a dollar. I have a great deal here for some lucky congressperson today - who wants to buy $30,000 worth of music for just five hunnert dollah?

      "Do I have any takers?"

      • In Capital vs. Thomas, the verdict was for $2,250 per song. So your 30,000 MP3 player/phone would be worth $30,000 if the songs were legitimate and $67.5 million if they were pirated. That makes the $500 sale price even better. It'd be 99.999% off!

        • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

          That wasn't the value for the music, that was the lost sales due to uploading. Physically stealing something, you have to pay restitution for not buying it. Uploading, you have to pay restitution for everyone else for not buying it.

          The original example would probably draw questions such as, how did you acquire $30,000 worth of music legally? If you ripped it from CDs then it's not yours to sell, without supplying the original discs. If you downloaded them individually and paid 0.99 per track, then you s

    • Can you imagine toyota demanding a transfer fee or the right of first refusal when you want to sell your car?

      Microsoft and Cisco do it. That used router you bought? Its firmware was fully licensed, but since it's non-transferable you have to buy it all over again. (And since the router is a brick without firmware, they have you over a barrel on pricing.) I always thought it was unfair that such practices are allowed when they only hurt businesses even though people would scream were they applied to consumer goods.

  • If only.... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I wish there were such a thing as used digital goods. If only someone would have thought of a way to make that work...I don't know maybe a major game retailer with their own digital distribution site/application. I don't get what the big deal is. DRM has made enough people sick of buying music, and when they do buy their "license" to the music, they can't do anything with it. People that pirate can do anything they want with their music. Wonder who's winning this fight. My solution to the problem is s

  • So publishers are allowed to sell copies of CDs, but the people who bought them are not? Besides, I don't think there is much money lost here, people won't sell music they actually like.

  • Maybe we'll actually get it decided once and for all whether digital goods may be considered equivalent to physical goods. Then again, that'd actually straighten out all manner ambiguity related to digital property rights from ebooks, movies, musics, etc.. Since business must always prevail regardless of merit for that to happen we'd be stuck with a pro-business interpretation. So I suppose that means the judge will either punt or screw us over. God bless our plutocracy!
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:20PM (#38064570)

    I'm sure he'll be standing up to the RIAA any minute now....

    gonna be soon.....

    he's probably on his way....

    just be patient.

    • That's cute and all but this is a matter of law, not executive authority. This is a matter settled in courts, legislated if desired, from the legislative branch and hopefully not the judicial.
      • by phayes (202222)

        Sure, the reason why Obama will never take a stand on this issue is because it's not his job to take principaled stands on issues & thereby encourage the legislative branch to move in the desired direction...

        Except that that's exactly what he does on other issues & should be doing here but won't because then the Dems would lose the record labels patronage.

        • Sure, the reason why Obama will never take a stand on this issue is because it's not his job to take principaled stands on issues & thereby encourage the legislative branch to move in the desired direction...

          Except that that's exactly what he does on other issues & should be doing here but won't because then the Dems would lose the record labels patronage.

          He has taken a strong stand on this issue by appointing several RIAA lawyers to high positions in the DOJ and then having that department, which is directed by the executive branch, mind you, submit friend of the court arguments that call for harsh penalties in virtual property cases.

    • by houghi (78078)

      What? Is your president some sort of Super evil person that makes the public unable to do anything themselves?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:20PM (#38064572)

    Either intellectual property is a physical good that can be legally acquired, owned, and resold as a used item, or it is not, in which case stop fucking calling it theft.

    • by amoeba1911 (978485) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:55PM (#38065142) Homepage

      It's like the wave particle duality. The intellectual property exists in two mutually exclusive states.
      1. it is physical good that can be legally acquired, owned, resold, discarded and stolen
      2. it is also intangible, can't be owned, can't be sold, can't be discarded nor stolen.

      Just like the quantum world, the wave function collapses only when you try to make a measurement. Until you try to measure you can't be sure if it's physical or intangible. Until it is measured, it exists in both mutually exclusive states concurrently to maximize profit for the copyright mafia.

      MIND = BLOWN

  • by DrXym (126579) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:24PM (#38064634)
    ..Bitcoin can digitally sign money and facilitate transfer of ownership, I really see no reason that other forms of digital property couldn't do likewise. It might require some kind of vendor neutral DRM and key escrow to enable transfer of ownership and stop people being able to play their old copies, but I think it would be quite feasible to do.

    The main issue is that people don't actually own the music they purchase, they own a licence to the music and the licence is flagged non transferrable. That is why I believe the first step is for a country to precisely describe in law what digital property is and also through some means encourage its adoption in a fair and universal fashion.

    • by Pi1grim (1956208)

      Your idea is flawed for one simple reason: as soon as the content can be played — it can be copied. Hardware locks and TPM hardware can make it really difficult, but still, there is no way to stop people from copying and sharing. Humans are social animals and and such they have an intrinsic need to find and share information. What RIAA and the likes of them try to do — trying to change the human nature so that a very small percentage of population can profit (the RIAA, MPAA and their publishing

  • Spent? Certainly! But used? Never!
  • I haven't pondered this long enough to form a complete opinion, so I'll hold off on that a little. But what is clear and has been repeated numerous times is that the music and movie industries are late and reluctant to enter the digital age. Their knee-jerk reactions have been to block, restrict and limit all new media. By doing so, they are hurting themselves badly. Worse, they are hurting their customers and any other business that wants to participate in new and emerging markets.

    They REALLY need to g

  • by rlp (11898) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @05:29PM (#38065796)

    Latest entertainment industry power grab ...
    Slashdot: "Down with the stupid evil corrupt entertainment industry!! Dirty lying evil bastards!!" ...
    They're making a "Dr. Who" feature film ...
    Slashdot: "Oooooh - shiny!!"

PLUG IT IN!!!

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