stories filed under: "economics"
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Nov 4th 2008 9:31am
We've seen video game execs freaking out about the second-hand sales market, and apparently that may be expanding to other arenas. The Register has an unnamed source (so make of that what you will) claiming that Motorola is asking people to sign contracts on a new phone that ban the buyer from reselling the phone to anyone, other than back to the manufacturer. Of course, this is an economically dumb argument. The resale market helps add value to the primary market, and allows the company to charge more for its product initially. As Mathew Ingram points out, some are suggesting that this move would violate the first sale doctrine, though that could depend on a variety of factors. I would imagine that the terms could establish the situation as a "lease" of the phone rather than a purchase, but that might be difficult to get the courts to accept. Also, my understanding of first sale doctrine was that it only applied to intellectual property -- not physical goods, so I'm not sure it would really apply here. Either way, it would seem to be dumb, whether or not it's legal. If you want to decrease interest in your product, adding such a clause seems like a reasonable way to do so.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Mar 31st 2008 1:11pm
from the took-'em-this-long? dept
I have to admit that about the only surprising thing in the news last week from BMI that ringtone sales are likely to drop this year is the fact that it took this long. Since 2004 we've been wondering when people would get around to realizing that just because a ringtone is on a phone, it doesn't change the basic economics (which are even worse, as the industry kept trying to push the price of ringtones higher to "save" the industry). With users finally realizing that they can transfer songs they have elsewhere onto their phones as ringtones, the desire to pay huge fees just to prop up the recording industry just isn't going to work any more. No wonder the industry is now jumping on the music tax plan.