Since the advent of digital media, consumers have cried foul at the inability to do what ever they want with their music, movies, and e-books. The resistance against digital rights management (DMR) coding was so great that many music distributors have stopped using it in digital downloads. It is still nearly impossible to buy an ebook or movie and make a copy of it for a friend without doing something illegal. However, as files replace discs more and more, it is becoming necessary to find ways for consumers to be able to share purchased content with others without having to break the law. AppleInsider recently discovered a patent that Apple applied for in June of 2012 that would essentially allow users to resell or loan out digital content to others.
The patent, titled “Managing Access to Digital Content Items” allows digital content, such as ebooks, music, movies, and software applications, to be transferred from one user to another. The coding would make it so that the person transferring the file would no longer have access to it once it is sent to the receiver.
Apple’s patent would allow transfer of ownership of digital files through a system by which the seller would notify the “store” that they wish to sell their item (let’s say it’s an album). After certain criteria are met, the seller can then transfer ownership of the album to the buyer and then the seller would no longer have access to the file.
The digital content does not need to be transferred from one device to another. It could reside in a cloud based storage system. A database would be established that would track proper ownership of the media so that the new owner of the used media could then sell it to someone else.
There is also a section of this patent dedicated to temporary transfer of digital content, which essentially means loaning out your ebook to a friend. In one example, the content can be made accessible to one person for a limited amount of time while the original owner, during that time, does not have access to the content.
The patent is very detailed and full of specific information regarding reselling and loaning digital content, which might mean that Apple is nearly ready to make this service available to consumers in a future iTunes update.