Friday, October 17, 2008

Selling Used CDs

Last spring, the record industry lost a battle of legality over the issue of reselling used CDs.  The result was groundbreaking.  To be fair however, if we look back on the industry's history, fairness wasn't always portrayed as their best quality either.  In July of 2000, 28 states filed suit against the five largest record companies and two music retailers for the conspiracy of fixed CD prices.  Capitol Records, Sony Music, BMG Music, Universal Music, and Warner Music were all charged with these allegations.  Not only did the record industries once try to manipulate the consumer's right to fair and free competition, remember when Sony went so far as to invade privacy by embedding software in CDs?  The point is, music hasn't always been fair in the past.  

Going back to the case of the record industry protesting the reselling of used/promotional CDs, the case was ultimately lost, and the court deemed the reselling of CDs to be legal.  More specifically, the final decision stated that those who receive used/promotional CDs are free to dispose of them how they want.  It was ruled that, "that the purported EULA included by UMG did not create a “license,” nor does it allow UMG to retain any control over the promotional CD. UMG gave away these CDs, and those who receive them are free to dispose of them as they see fit."  CDs are CDs, no matter if their promotional ones or not.  If distributors were that upset at people reselling them, they should figure out a way around those issues.  Simply circulating free CDs and banning people from selling them isn't going to work so well.  

As I see it, music isn't any different than items being sold in a pawn shop.  You know that many items ending up in pawn shops are sometimes stolen or at least don't have the most clear history.  It's the same with resold CDs.  And how about CDs that aren't being sold any longer?  Consumers are forced to buy off of somebody else in order to discover music.  And it all too often happens to be the best kind of music, the rediscovered by newer generations.  If these rules apply to resold CDs, then why shouldn't the reselling of records be challenged as well?  The fact is, music is meant to be shared and big record companies looking for money shouldn't be able to tell consumers what they can and cannot sell for their own good.  It's understandable that there are still kinks which need to be straightened out as far as money made by the orignal artist goes, but not being able to resell old CDs is just crazy.  

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