A Digital Resale Market?

by Reihan Salam

Want to eliminate “piracy” of copyrighted materials? I’d suggest that the first step would be to establish sane copyright terms, but let’s leave that aside for the moment. (Briefly, I favor the 14-year term established in Britain and America in the 18th century.)

But a good second step might be the creation of a well-ordered digital resale market, as Elliot Sedegah recommends:


Mary Moneybags is able to purchase a movie at the original price of $$$ from the retailer, and later has the right to sell the movie to Charlie Cheapo after a specified blackout period for a price of $$. To allow this capability, a small amount of money ($) is paid to the retailer as a fee to provide the clearinghouse, and, importantly, to the original content producer as well.

Under this framework, retailers benefit from charging a fee to provide an internet clearinghouse for resale content, and content producers benefit through the introduction of “droit de suite” for digital content, a rights law currently used in the European marketplace for fine art. We also anticipate that this system will reduce piracy, which costs an estimated $6 Billion a year in lost movie sales, and may introduce a type of social networking component to the marketplace so popular in physical used music stores.

Who will be the first mover?

The Agenda

NRO’s domestic-policy blog, by Reihan Salam.