iTunes raises legal questions

Logic would dictate that if I buy a CD, then I can resell it. Does this logic hold up if it is a digital song purchased from iTunes? George Hotelling wants to know. He purchased “Double Dutch Bus” by Frankie Smith from Apple’s online music store, and has placed it for sale on eBay.

This brings up the important question about the rights of a song purchaser. The purchaser is bound by an 8-page terms-of-service contract, but this says very little about resale or loaning of the digital song.

“In addition, there seem to be no rules that govern the rights of an owner of a second-hand digital song, he said. ‘If you were to win that auction and get that song, you have no relationship with Apple,’ von Lohmann said. ‘You didn’t agree to the terms of service. What governs the song after you’ve repurchased it?'”

Interesting questions. Answers are probably a ways off.

– Thanks to George Hotelling for pointing out that the song is a “cover” of a Frankie Smith song, not the original. Thanks George, and good luck with the auction.
– Looks like eBay has taken down the auction. No matter. Point made.


  1. I stand corrected 🙂

    Very cool idea. Asking the questions that no-one has asked before is how technology, law and society moves forward.

    Even though eBay pulled down the auction, the question was asked, and that is the important thing.


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