Label sues man for selling promo CDs on eBay

pile of CDs

by Amy Scott

A record label is suing a man for selling promotional cds labled "not for sale" eBay. The two sides will argue in a federal appeals court in Seattle today.

Troy Augusto does a healthy business selling rare and collectible cds on Ebay. But he when he tried to sell a promo copy of this Lionel Richie song, the record label sued. Universal Music Group lost the case in 2008, but appealed.

The nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation took up Augusto's case. The group's Fred Von Lohmann says the Copyright Act is very clear: "If you own a copy of a book or CD or any other copyrighted work that was lawfully made, you have the right to dispose of that as you see fit."

Universal and its lawyers didn't return calls for comment, but the company argues that promotional cds are the property of the record label...and can't be sold. If the label wins, Von Lohmann says the outcome could affect book and record stores, video rental shops, libraries -- anyone who sells or distributes used media.

About the author

Amy Scott is Marketplace’s education correspondent covering the K-12 and higher education beats, as well as general business and economic stories.

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