One of the biggest gripes about iTunes is how the content ownership system works. First off, you never own anything, you just buy a license, and secondly if you want to resell a song or movie, you can’t.
However that might be about to change. AppleInsider has uncovered a patent filed by Apple titled ‘Managing access to digital content items’. In simple terms, it lays out a system with which end users could transfer or sell on licenses to content, all managed via the cloud.
As an example, a first user may purchase an e-book from the iBookstore and later decide to sell that content to a second user. The original owner notifies the store that they want to sell the item, and if certain criteria are met, the user is allowed to transfer rights to the second buyer. Content itself may or may not change hands, but more importantly the rights attached to said content is managed so that the first user can no longer access the content once it is sold.
Of course, such a system would also benefit content creators, who could regulate when things could be resold or passed on.
Interestingly, Amazon patented a similar system back in 2009, however it was more of a centralized marketplace, unlike Apple.
I think Apple would please many if such a system was pushed through, however it’s important that the level of control given to content creators isn’t too great.