Maybe not quite yet, but in some states, including Florida and Utah, selling your used CDs may become more difficult than getting a driver’s license in those states. Rhode Island and Wisconsin are slated to follow in these footsteps with similar legislation shortly. An article published yesterday on ARS Technica discusses the emergence on new “pawn shop” rules governing the sale of used music that will mandate collecting quite a bit of information about the would-be seller of a CD.

From an article recently published in Billboard, we learn:

“In Florida, the new legislation requires all stores buying second-hand merchandise for resale to apply for a permit, would be required to thumb-print CD sellers and get a copy of their state-issued identity documents, such as a driver’s license. Furthermore, stores could only issue store credit — not pay cash — in exchange for traded CDs, and then would be required to hold them for a 30-day period, before re-selling them.”

Supposedly, this type of legislation is an effort to prevent the sale of counterfeit  or stolen CDs, but I suspect that the real issue is that the recording industry dislikes the sale of used CDs because they don’t any cut of the proceeds the way they do on the sale of new recordings. The major recording labels have never made a secret of their issues with the used market and at one point were creating policies that restricted advertising for retail outlets that purchased from them but also sold used recording, a tactic backed by some recording artists. Garth Brooks was one of those artists and it was his CDs that were burned in retaliatory protests by independent dealers and consumers, dubbing such burnings “garth-ecues”.

If the draconian tactics of the recording industry actually were of real benefit to the actual artists, perhaps I would not have a problem with their protective measures, but it is not the artists who receive the lion’s share of the profits from CD sales – it is, and always has been, the recording label that reaps the largest benefit. These new pieces of legislation are merely another way for them to attempt to throttle their competition and protect their lucrative turf.

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