MP3s, apps and eBooks could all be bought second hand

Amazon patents way to resell digital content

Amazon has patented a way to create a marketplace for the resale of digital content including MP3s, eBooks, apps and videos.

According to Geek Wire, the patent, called ‘secondary market for digital objects’, was filed in 2009 and granted in the last week. It would essentially allow Amazon users to sell unwanted content to other users for a fee.

The idea appears to centre on Amazon’s cloud services. It essentially allows one user to transfer digital content – and the licence to use it – along to another user’s personal cloud. The patent describes a method of limiting transfers by only allowing a file to be transferred a certain number of times, which indicates that the company is also able to track if a file has been downloaded to a computer.

“An electronic marketplace for used digital objects is disclosed,” reads the patent. “Digital objects including eBooks, audio, video, computer applications, etc, purchased from an original vendor by a user are stored in a user’s personalised data store. Content in a personalised data store may be accessible to the user via transfer such as moving, streaming, or download.”

Unfortunately for copyright holders, the patent makes no mention of whether or not they’d be party to any profits made. Perhaps that’s a battle for another day…

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