Amazon and Apple want to build the digital equivalent of a second hand record store

itunesRight now in the move towards friction-less consumption and the move away from physical media such as records, vinyl, CD’s and DVD’s, the question arises over ownership and often begs the question of how to sell those digital assets. Till now the consumer has had to simply put up with the terms and conditions of the music/entertainment/rights industry and do as they are told like a good citizen. But consider all those downloads from itunes at $0.99 a download, with thousands of songs, that is a big investment, and what happens if I want to sell? Well it now looks like Amazon and Apple might just have the answer.

Who owns the download?

The number #1 question is who owns the downloads that we all enjoy. This is the question that many are trying to address: i.e. how does the end consumer like you an me actually go about selling used digital content. Of course the word used is somewhat of a misnomer because unlike used products there should be no degradation with time…imagine a perfect vinyl record each and every time. But when you make a purchased download, do you own it or just a licence to use it on a particular platform. Amazon recently obtained a patent (filed in 2009) for a “Secondary market for digital objects.” which points at how it might proceed with iTunes which is faced with increased competition from streaming services which have no need for resales because you only pay to use the platform.

How second hand digital data may work

Amazon application works with all e-data that could comprise video, book, software or maybe even currency. These items would be stored in a personalized data store and deleted from this data store when being transferred and the number of transfers would be limited. This would mean that data must be stored in a secure way and only stored in one place, which would be having some access codes to unlock the data and again this would likely be very platform dependent, otherwise such a system would be open to abuse with data stored in multiple locations.