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

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
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.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.