After having obtained a patent on a system to control the sales of “used” digital goods, according to ZDNet.com Apple
has been awarded a patent that would allow users to share music, video, and pictures directly with each other – without having to worry about piracy.
This patent is based on the idea that a user should be allowed to download an encrypted song from a legitimate owner and purchase a less costly license by Apple thus “squaring the circle” of the file-sharing legalization.
This patent, nevertheless, could hardly be enforceable within the EU.
The royalties of copying a digital copyrighted work are covered by the levy imposed on the blank media and storage (including those that aren’t destined to contain copyrighted stuff.) This means that once the user has purchased a USB dongle, a DVD or whatever the support, he has already paid for the right to use the digital content.
By imposing a further, though less costly, license, Apple is saving bandwidth and IT infrastructure costs turning these costs on the ISP’s shoulders and getting paid two times for the very same thing.
True, one can say that as soon as the user agrees with the license there wouldn’t be a problem. Nevertheless it is a fact that this patent clashes with the “first sale” doctrine that leaves to the user the right of re-sell, (legally) copy and (legally) lend a copyrighted work.