Is it Legal to Resell Used MP3s?

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Is it Legal to Resell Used MP3s?

Post by rogerwimmer » Tue May 01, 2012 6:54 am

Hi, Doctor: If I download a legal copy of a song, can I resell it? Best regards! - Anonymous

Anon: The short answer to your question is, “Yes,” but there are many interesting things you should read.

Resale of digital music is a very controversial issue that relates to something called the first sale doctrine. After a lot of arguing, a judge recently ruled that it is OK for a person to sell a “used” music file, but can’t make copies to sell. For more information about this, decision click here .

Here are two other interesting articles for you to read: Article One and Article Two.

The music industry is interesting in that it wants money for resales of digital music, something that isn’t done in any other field. For example, my co-author and I receive royalties only from the first sale of our textbook. If the text is resold, the profit goes to the reseller (college bookstore or other source), not the authors or the publisher.


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Roger Wimmer is owner of Wimmer Research and senior author of Mass Media Research: An Introduction, 10th Edition.

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