When you hear RIAA defenders insist that an unauthorized download is "just like stealing a CD" or something along those lines, it's worth noting even they don't really mean it. After all, if a digital file really was no different than a physical goods purchase, then you'd be able to do other things with it -- such as resell it. And yet, as you read through Eliot Van Buskirk's article about new online services trying to create marketplaces for people to sell their "used" MP3s
, you'll see the scenario is quite different. After all, it's perfectly legal to sell your used CDs, but now when it comes to selling used MP3s you need a record label's permission? Why? Well, because even the record labels seem to inherently know that a CD is quite different from a download. So when the RIAA claims they're the same, what they really mean is "only the stuff we like is the same."