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CAN YOU RE-SELL DIGITAL
MUSIC FILES?
How to Turn 99 Cents in Ones and Zeros Into $16,000 in Cash
Sure, you sell all your promos to the used store down the street for your drug money, but what will you do when all your albums are digital files? That’s what George Hotelling is finding out. Hotelling (yes, his real name) put up Devin Vasquez’s remake of “Double Dutch Bus,” which he bought for 99 cents from Apple’s iTunes store on eBay. The auction has since been pulled by eBay.

It was a classic merger of old-school Internet e-commerce meets new school e-commerce and digital rights management. Wait, where are you going?

The sale was a test of whether or not the “first sale” doctrine applies to online music services. In the physical world, the owner of a copy of work is allowed to sell it without the permission of the copyright owner. Hotelling said he was going to donate all of the profits above 99 cents to the Electronic Frontier Foundtaion, a non-profit legal group that has been very active in fighting for rights in the digital space.

Before it was pulled, the auction was at more than $16,000. And you thought there was no money in digital music.

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