Feeds

eBay pulls iTunes song auction

Infringes auctioneer's Ts&Cs - what about the law?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

eBay yesterday yanked an attempt to auction an iTunes Music Service download off its site, describing the item as "invalid".

The auction page itself now simply says: "The item you requested... is invalid, still pending, or no longer in our database. Please check the number and try again. If this message persists, the item has either not started and is not yet available for viewing, or has expired and is no longer available."

The item was a file purchased from Apple's online music store by one George Hotelling and downloaded to his Mac. Hotelling posted the file specifically with the intention of testing the reaction of the Mac maker, eBay and the music industry to such a trade.

Is selling on a downloaded song the same as selling a CD, he asked?

eBay's move doesn't answer that question. eBay made its move because the auction violated its regulations on the sale of electronic media which can be distributed via the Internet. eBay already prohibits such sales. However, just because the auction runs contrary to eBay's Ts&Cs doesn't necessarily make it a copyright violation. eBay is - quite understandably - playing it safe.

The consensus among Reg readers is that the purchasing a physical medium is not the same as buying a download. In the first case you're buying the physical disc, in the second, you're actually buying the song, so the US' 'first sale' right doesn't apply.

We think the point's still moot, however. If 'first sale' rights are granted when you by a CD, because you're actually buying the disc not the song, you could argue that the same applies to a file. A file can be defined as a data carrier as much as a disc, particularly when it's essentially an authorised copy of a 'master' file.

We're no lawyer, but that's an argument that could be made, and the only time the question is going to be settled is when it is indeed argued out through a legal challenge. Again, that's something eBay itself will be keen to avoid. ®

Related Story

99c iTunes song auction bids top $100,000

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV
Pureed-carrot-in-ice cream C++ surprise
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Twitter: La la la, we have not heard of any NUDE JLaw, Upton SELFIES
If there are any on our site it is not our fault as we are not a PUBLISHER
Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus
Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.