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Apple patent could see used digital content marketplace launch

Apple has lodged a patent in the US for a system that could enable iTunes consumers to loan or resell their digital content purchases like music, movies or even apps.

Originally lodged in July and published today, the US Patents and Trademarks office revealed that Apple made three applications relating to “Managing Access to Digital Content Items” between 2011 and 2012.

In the most recent application, Apple details a system that enables the transfer of owned iTunes digital content between users, allowing consumers to sell or loan their purchased content to other people. Useful if the consumer wants to electronically lend their copy of the latest must-read or top rated album to friends or family members.

Very similar to a system patented by Amazon in 2009, the Apple system would avoid the idea of an online used content store. Instead, the Apple filings detail that the digital rights or authorized access to that digital content would be passed to the other user after the loan or resale. This would mean that the content itself wouldn’t pass hands, but the original user would no longer have access to that content after the transferral of the digital rights.

“Alternatively, instead of a third party determining whether one or more criteria are satisfied, the first (or second) user’s device makes the determination and may be responsible for preventing the first user’s device from further consuming the digital content item,” it says in the patent filings. “In some embodiments, the online store and/or the publisher of the digital content item may receive a portion of the proceeds of the transfer.”

The store the content was purchased from would have to check the content met a number of criteria before the digital rights would be allowed to transfer, and, as mentioned above, the content creator, developer or store itself could receive a portion of the proceeds.

Apple’s patent is very extensive and provides specific details about the reselling and loaning of digital content. The sheer amount of information listed could mean that Apple will soon be ready to roll out this used content service to consumers in an iTunes update in the future.

Would being able to sell on your digital content be a useful service? What would you want to loan or sell on from your digital content selection? Give us your thoughts on the matter via the TrustedReviews Facebook and Twitter pages or the comment boxes below.

Via: Apple Insider

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