We live in a truly strange world. Amazon have just managed to patent the idea of selling second hand digital files when we no longer wish to keep them. Fair enough to be able to sell our unwanted digital files, sure, but to be able to patent that idea? Come on now, who are they kidding?
I always thought that the idea of patents was to protect new and original ways of doing things, which this assuredly is not. The only new thing in this patent as far as I can see (I have actually read the entire document) is to establish a system to ensure that the digital file in question is removed from the original owner’s computer and that such files may only be sold on a certain number of times (to protect copyright owners I assume). But it doesn’t actually specify how these two aims will be achieved, but merely discusses the concept.
Amazon is not even the first company to come up with this idea, but as ever, they are the first to formalise it with a patent…. ReDigi have been doing this for some time already with a fair degree of success. However, in order to ensure that you don’t keep a copy of the second hand file you have sold, with ReDigi you have to install a small bit of software on your computer, that removes any files you sell.. A dodgy idea it seems to me, and not one that I would allow within a million miles of any computer of mine. And anyhow, how can any of these systems ensure that you don’t simply burn your files to CD before selling them?
I like the idea of being able to sell old music, video or ebook files when I no longer want them, much as I might sell old DVDs or paper books, but I can see a lot of technical problems with any serious attempt to sell second hand digital files and I am pretty certain that the companies who produce the music, video or ebook files that this is all about will fight tooth and nail to stop Amazon and any other outfits from selling their precious digital files as if they were the same as paper books.
Share with us:
What is your take on the idea of selling unwanted digital files via outfits such as Amazon? I would be really interested to hear your thoughts on this one.