Music Business

AML Reader Ebikiri “Ebixx” Aboro Follows Up with Story on “First Sale Doctrine”


AML readerI discussed the US Supreme Court’s ruling on the “First Sale Doctrine” some weeks back with you all. Shortly after that, AML reader Ebikiri “Ebixx” Aboro sent me this follow up article that is indeed and interesting read and continues to further paint the picture of the complexities of legal issues that lie ahead.

Check on it:

“Digital content reselling may seem like an oxymoron, but technology and legal developments may soon make the reselling of digital content of all types, audio, video and apps, easier than putting something on eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY)., Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) have both filed patents for the digital swap meets of the future.

Creative license
Most of the digital content we download to our electronic devices cannot be legally sold or transferred to anyone else. Unlike a good old fashioned book or CD, users are pretty much stuck with the digital content they “own”, forever. Since digital content never degrades, digital content providers such as music, video and software producers insisted on this provision as a condition of digital distribution.
It may seem unfair not to be able to sell something you own, but in fact, most digital content downloaded from iTunes or Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play or, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is only licensed to you. The license is a form of contract that you entered into when you clicked that Download button, whether you read the fine print of the end user license agreement (EULA) or not.
Even for content that is not protected by some form of digital rights management (DRM), the typical EULA specifies that the purchaser of the license is entitled to use the content only for personal, non-commercial purposes. In most cases, the user is not authorized to sell or transfer the content, even if it’s feasible to do so, and in many cases it’s not feasible.

Although Apple instituted a DRM-free system for digital music in the U.S., Apple continues to use its Fairplay DRM system to prevent copying of TV and film content. Like apps, these can only be installed on a limited number of devices belonging to the licensed user. Amazon imposes similar restrictions on Kindle books. Even Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) enforces license verification for apps through Google Play, which prevents transfer of apps to unauthorized devices and may even prevent an authorized user from using an app on a device if it isn’t connected to the Internet. has the full story.


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AFRICA MUSIC LAW™ (AML) is a pioneering music business and entertainment law website and podcast show empowering the African artist and Africa's rapidly evolving entertainment industry through brilliant music business and entertainment law commentary and analysis, industry news, and exclusive interviews.

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Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at

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