iTunes Legal Questions

So here’s an iTunes question: Say I buy a song on iTunes and then later buy the actual CD. When I rip that CD into iTunes, I now have two versions of said song, both legally acquired.

What can I do with the extra song? If I had an extra copy of a CD, I could simply sell it. But it’s not so simple with an extra digital file. It seems like I read a news story of someone trying to auction an iTunes song on eBay, but I never heard the fallout. I would guess something in the iTunes user agreement (who reads those things anyway?) would prohibit me from selling the song, but does it prohibit me from giving it away? (gee, maybe I should read those things)

It seems perfectly legit to me to resell the digital file just like I’d resell anything tangible in my home. As long as I don’t keep a copy of that digital file I’m selling (the copy from the CD would be a “different” file and I could certainly keep that one — afterall, I purchased it).

7 thoughts on “iTunes Legal Questions”

  1. The fallout was, as I recall it, that you have the right to sell that song, but it is totally impractical and too much of a pain to be worth it for what would have to amount to less than 99 cents. I mean, what percent of eBay auctions sell stuff for less than 99 cents? It’s just not practical for the effort, especially in small volumes.

  2. But is it legal? That’s the real question. Cuz then I can pass it on to someone who might like the song (like you) for free or even for the 99 cents.

    I’m not trying to make fast cash, I’m just trying to see what the value of these things is. Having two of the same song sitting on my computer is useless to me. But if I can give you the song, or sell it to you for 50 or 99 cents or whatever, then that’s cool.

  3. As I recall, The Digital Rights Management (DRM) allows you play that downloaded song on up to 3 computers that are authorized with Apple. If you can authorize that song to play on someone else’s computer and then exchange it then you’re golden but as Josh says its too much of a pain to be worth it.

  4. Yes, I believe it’s legal. The easiest way would probably be to burn that one track onto a CD and selling that single track to someone else.

    But again, why bother? If it was ten tracks or more, it’s probably worth it, but if it’s less than that, then maybe not.

  5. Perhaps the better way to phrase my question:

    I bought a copy of Switchfoot’s “Meant to Live” on iTunes. On Saturday I got a press copy of the entire album. I now have two copies of “Meant to Live” in my iTunes. Anybody want the extra copy?

  6. I think it’s a valid question and one that the record industry is going to have to deal with — and I hope they lighten up a little bit. If somebody actually wanted to buy your “extra” MP3 of “Meant to Live” (on eBay, on a burned CD, or whatever) the RIAA should allow that because it’s getting the music out there and getting it spread farther and wider! The more they try to clamp down, the more the people are going to rebel. I’ve got a bad taste in my mouth about the whole thing and I’ve never swapped files in my life! I think the record industry needs to adapt and change to the *real* world. People want the freedom to swap and exchange (and yes, SELL) music freely and openly, and trying to stop it is kind of like catching a housefly with chopsticks. (Oh wait, I’ve seen somebody do that in a movie once …) Anyway, you get my point. ‘Nuff said.

  7. So… you can burn an itunes track to a CD and sell it? So could you burn a compilation of itunes songs and sell that?

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