The problem with digital files is that they can’t be shared or sold. Yet. Amazon has been working on this dilemma for some time. So far, Amazon has come up with a marketplace that lets people buy and sell digital files in some manners.
But, Apple might have devised something even better. The company has just filed a patent that deals directly with the sale and resale of digital goods.
Instead of using a marketplace format, though, Apple’s patent will make consumer-to-consumer resale and sharing a reality. The patent in question has just been filed, so it’s tough to know exactly what Apple is thinking. However, there have been some secret leaks, so finding out what Apple has been up to isn’t quite as hard as it sounds.
The Provider Has the Details
In Apple’s consumer-to-consumer world, original content providers would determine how a file can or can’t be shared. If you purchased a movie that Miramax owned the rights to, for example, Miramax would determine how that movie could be sold or shared.
Some content providers might put a certain timeline on a file (can’t be shared before 60-days for example), and some may not allow sharing at all. Since consumers will enjoy being able to share files, it will be within a provider’s best interests to make some sharing a possibility.
Apple also seems to be looking into a sharing marketplace through a provider’s store. So, if you bought a book on the iBookstore, you might be able to visit a used section of the virtual store to purchase used books or to sell a book that you’ve already read. The ability to share and sell digital files has been a long time coming. Now that Apple has joined the resale game, things might move at a much faster pace. Apple does, after all, have a way of getting things done.
Apple certainly has the money for patents and the klout to go along with it, but the company still has to convince publishers that file shares and sells is a good idea. Publishers lose out monetarily when digital files are shared or sold.
That’s why it is impossible to share or sell a digital file right now. Making each person buy a new copy of a file will generate more income; it’s really that simple. So, we will see if Apple can pull this one off.
In the meantime, it’s interesting to think about used digital files. It’s not as though the pages of a used book have been dog-eared, market with notes, or ruffled. Yet, these files are considered used and will be sold as such.
Soon, very soon, you might just be able to sell your used digital book to other people seeking digital books of the used sort, though they aren’t really used at all, are they? Regardless, it’s about time that digital files are deemed legal to sell and share. Otherwise, some of us might just be tempted to purchase a good old-fashioned book.