Selling out

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Should you be allowed to sell your music collection?

I have a friend who wants to sell me his music collection for a good price. It includes both physical media as well as downloadable.

On the physical media, mostly CDs I don't think there's much debate. A physical CD was purchased from the label, the artist received what little money artists get and it's no longer their property. It's his to sell and mine to purchase.

The downloads are perhaps more difficult. Copies or an original? And what is an 'original' download? A 'new' copy legitimately sold by a download vendor is still a copy, different from a physical media such as a CD or LP.

Legally there is what's known as the First Sale Doctrine that worked just fine for physical media, but falls apart in the digital world of transferring bits over wires. Some companies, such as Amazon, sell you a license for each bit of music you download. This means you paid for it but own only the right to play it not to sell it, despite the fact it is your property. Sort of.

The whole notion boils down to this: copyright protection has always been to protect the content creator, as it should. But sometimes I think all the lawyers in the world forget the actual consumer of music, as they shouldn't.

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Paul McGowan

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