According to the recent ruling in the ReDiGi case, we do NOT legally own these downloads.
My understanding about legal ownership of CDs copied to a computer (stay with me, I will get to digital downloads next). It is perfectly legal to rip a CD and play that digital file from your computer, as long as you still own the physical CD. However, if you sell the CD it is no longer legal to retain the ripped CD file on your computer. The reason being; when you purchased the CD you were in effect being given a license to play the music, on the CD, in your home. Either from the CD itself or the digital copy. Sell the CD and you have effectually given up your license to play that music. However, enforcing this aspect of the law (IP ownership) is a different matter altogether. Now for my leap of faith with respect to digital downloads. It is my belief; it is legal (you legal beagles out there, jump in a correct me if I am wrong here) to sell that file(s) providing no copies are made or retained for that digital download(s). So, for example, if you have a NAS device with hundreds of digital downloads on it, it is OK to sell the NAS device with its content (by you family, preferably after you have bitten the dust), as long as no one makes any copies of the file(s) stored on the NAS device prior to sale of said NAS device.
OK, you legal beagles out there,correct me if I am wrong.
Bob_reynolds, I don't know the answer but if it is illegal
then you can copy files into music CD-Rs. Now, as strange as
it sounds, you can rip these CD-Rs (don't even have to do
this since you already have files) and your computer files
are legal as long as you own CD-R. The reason for that is,
according to RIAA, that you can copy ANYTHING (like friend's
CDs)on music CD-R assuming it is not for commercial purposes
(has to be "music CD-R"). The whole point is that
music CD-R pays royalties to RIAA (to be distributed to
For the same reason RIAA claims that copying music to tape is
legal (tape manufacturers pay royalties per foot of tape).
IMO, bits no; license yes. It seems to me that an argument could be made for the fact that you entered into a binding contract. In exchange for the money you tendered, you received the license to play the music. The bits is simply the tool by which the license is utilized. So unless the fine print specifically dictates that the license terminates upon the death of the license holder, I would think a lawyer could successfully argue that your estate possesses the licenses. And I agree with you, the difficult part would be the subsequent actions; what is the value of these licenses, and how do you sell a license that consists only of bits?
I think that the major music groups, Sony, Universal and Warner, would like to eliminate the ownership model of selling music and change to a model where music is leased and the person who leases the music has no rights to it other than to listen to it. I think they will come down on anyone who tries to copy or store or sell the music like a ton of bricks as they have in the ReDiGi case.
So what's the problem when we have streaming services like Spotify and Pandora? Nothing at the moment, but I wouldn't expect these services to remain cheap once they're the only game in town.
I'm not a lawyer and I don't have any inside info. That's just my suspicion from having bought records from the majors and from watching how they deal with their artists and others for a very long time.