At least if Apple has its way, The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published details today of a new Apple invention covering the resale and loan of owned digital content like e-books, music and movies. The three patent applications, each titled “Managing access to digital content items,” with two filed in September of 2011, and one in June of 2012 describe a system that manages the transfer of digital content between end-users, basically a system that allows you to sell or loan “used” content to other people. Amazon was recently granted a patent for a nearly identical system.
With a lot of traditional console based companies in the gaming market going the other way actively preventing the secondary market in used games, this will represent an opportunity for all the indie developers creating for the app store. Hopefully their success will show the stalwarts the light and we’ll all be living in a utopia of cheaper digital games which we will be able to trade or resell the way we’ve all become accustomed to with the hard copy and cartridge systems.
An interesting snippet from the filing:
Alternatively, instead of a third party determining whether one or more criteria are satisfied, the first (or second) user’s device makes the determination and may be responsible for preventing the first user’s device from further consuming the digital content item. In some embodiments, the online store and/or the publisher of the digital content item may receive a portion of the proceeds of the transfer.