On January 29, Amazon Technologies Inc. received a patent pertaining to the “secondary market for digital objects.” According to the patent abstract, the technology will enable Amazon customers to transfer — and presumably sell — e-books, MP3s, and other digital files to other customers. And, Apple too has filed for patents on the transfer of owned digital items.
The whole issue of used digital goods is a big one, with far-reaching implications for media in general, but music and publishing in particular.
While several companies have entered the fray, ReDigi is already reselling digital music and recently announced it would also sell e-books. In fact, ReDigi is in court right now with Capitol Records, which is seeking to shut the digital marketplace down, claiming copyright infringement.
As the music and publishing industries wait for a decision in that case, the news that Amazon had applied for a patent sent another ripple. While ReDigi and others could certainly change the game themselves, if a player as big as Amazon gets into the used digital content business, the changes could come at lightning speed.
It’s still unclear however, if Amazon will actually use the patent. And if it does, how it might structure such a business. An Amazon representative declined to comment to MediaShift on the issue.