Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
promotional cds

Companies:
ebay, eff, universal music



Who Really Owns Promotional CDs?

from the and-who-can-sell-them? dept

In my collection of CDs (and, yes, I still buy CDs), there's a relatively large number of "promotional" CDs -- many of which were purchased at independent record shops or online. It's not uncommon at all to find such CDs for sale, despite warning labels that say that cannot be sold. I've often wondered how enforceable that claim is, and we may soon find out. Universal Music claimed copyright infringement against a guy who was selling promotional CDs on eBay and eBay took down the auctions. The EFF is now suing Universal Music, claiming that it's a misuse of copyright law under the first sale doctrine (which says, like with any traditional good, you have the right to resell a digital good). Universal Music's response is that the CDs are actually still the property of the record label, and merely licensed to whoever received it. Of course, that could open up a ton of legal questions about ownership of certain goods -- especially if the receiving party never agreed to the deal. In the meantime, though, it's yet another case that highlights the blurring lines of ownership over tangible goods as makers of such goods try to make them more like digital goods.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2007 @ 5:43am

    Re: The rightholders are never payed for the promo

    Ok, you state something that can be true and then use that as some argument that something is wrong. Just because the original people don't get paid doesn't mean someone else can't make money off selling it.

    People seem to have an odd sense that when it comes to music, that the creators (or really the labels... creators don't get money for a lot of crap) have to get a cut of every single transaction that occurs. This is simply not the case.

    Give us a good reason why the creator not getting paid means the people can't sell the CD. You can't use it to justify itself.

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