Amazon patents digital resale market
Too cheap? Too often? No sale
If Apple ever wants loan-or-onsell capabilities in iTunes, it will probably find itself discussing patents with Jeff Bezos.
That chat is one possible outcome that may flow from this newly-minted Amazon patent:
“A secondary market which allows users to effectively and permissibly transfer “used” digital objects to others while maintaining scarcity is therefore desired.” [Emphasis added]
That "maintaining scarcity" is a delicious phrase: Amazon wants to defeat the infinite copyability of bits and bytes in the face of all experience.
What Amazon seems to have in mind is this: that as people move to the cloud (which is part of its business model after all), they’ll quit storing stuff on local devices. Unlike the world of CDs or books, a digital secondary market involves passing around bits and ensuring the deletion of the originals – and if both reside on the same servers, the process would be greatly simplified ... and vastly more manageable – which is actually the real point of the patent. If your ancient copy of Dickens' Oliver Twist has, like this author’s, nine names on the title page, that’s lost income for Amazon and/or the publisher.
And if Amazon has written the software to “grandfather” your digital content’s license (as it has in the Kindle world), then what’s more natural than to patent the business process?
While a legal secondary market probably is desirable, The Register wonders if this patent is desirable. Geekwire wonders if the patent might impact ReDigi. To Vulture South, the move also looks like it has Apple in its sights, since iTunes doesn’t yet support loan or resale. ®
Just more proof that the copyright/patent/trademark system is broke and corrupt.
Apple patented the layout of their stores the other week...
Then again, Apple are greedy fucks.
I am so pleased that the human race invented printing before it invented intellectual property rights...
While I have every hope that writers (and other IP producers, of course) will continue to be paid for their work, their income from me will continue to be in the form of payments for physical media: books, CDs, and so on; such will be scanned or ripped if I need/want them in digital form.
I am certainly shooting myself in the foot in terms of ease of use - while the supplier exists to authorise my use - but I believe that having bought something, it is mine to do with as I will. If I wish to transfer it to someone else, either as a loan, a gift, or a sale, I simply pick it up and give it to them; there is no need for a third party to become involved.
Shows you everything wrong with the world, really.
Got the ability to make an infinite amount of something for next to nothing? Not good enough. Scarcity must be preserved!