Sunday, March 10, 2013

Apple, Amazon get patents to offer ‘used’ digital goods

Apple, Amazon get patents to offer ‘used’ digital goods, article.

Wow, what can of worms is opened here? Amazon may have a de facto monopoly on the reselling of "used" digital goods? That sounds like a licence to tax the air. What a gig if you can get it.

Another worm is that presumably the author/copyright holder only gets paid the first time, while Amazon gets a bit of the pie every time a file is re-sold. Technically a similar thing is true for used physical items, but there, there's a natural friction from the physicality, and physical goods get worn, unlike digital ones. A digital file can get resold dozens of times, with Amazon getting a bite each time, and still be in pristine mint condition.


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dave_at_efi said...

Maybe there is some small benefit to end users here. Who really needs to own an ebook? One read, and it's done, never to be read again. This wouldn't be so bad if the price to read it were $2. But it's not, and that is a problem.

I gave up buying books 4 years ago, when I discovered that the local library carried a whole lot of books, they cost me nothing, and the library even stored them for me.

On the other hand, will reusing digital rights screw authors and prevent them from being creative? Dunno.

Ken said...

My current way of disposing of books is to take them to a charity which is quite local and donate them. It is just too much effort to go further to a used book shop, stand there while the guy goes through them and gives me less than 25% of what I paid for them.

Obviously with digital things are different, and if the book is not resellable the price should be much lower. So Amazon are looking at an alternative of effectively buying back your book, but allowing them to justify not buying it back when demand is not high. I expect we will see all sorts of options like read once books, unlimited read books and transferrable books.