Lala and the Transitioning Music Market

June 11, 2006

There has been intense discussion about the changing aspects of the music industry in recent years, particularly the transition from CD’s to digital singles, ringtones, video games and emerging musical markets. Yet another agent of transition has emerged, called lala. Lala facilitates CD trades, taking a small transaction fee in the process. The copyright law aspects appear to be relatively straight forward on their face. CD owners are allowed to sell their physical CD’s under the “first sale” doctrine. You bought it, you can sell it. But, what happens when someone buys a CD, sticks it on their iPod, then sells the CD? What happens when a person puts their entire collection of CD’s on their iPod, then trades for an entirely new collection? You can see the problem. The ease at which recordings can be pirated and reproduced beyond the scope of the copyright owner’s rights continue to expand.

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