Electronic Frontier Foundation Defends Promo CD Sales

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Universal Music Group are at loggerheads once again, this time in a case related to promotional CD sales.

Over the past few months, the legal organization and label group have tangled over video-related issues, specifically those involving YouTube and artists Prince and Akon.   The latest tussle involves the resale of promotional CDs, a longtime taboo among music retailers and record label executives.  Just recently, Universal Music Group filed suit against eBay seller Troy Augusto to stop selling promotional CDs, and forced the termination of his store.

But the EFF questioned the legitimacy of those claims, and jumped into the suit to protect the interests of Augusto.  “Universal is trying to unilaterally rewrite copyright law to the detriment of Augusto’s legitimate business and the public,” said EFF senior intellectual property attorney Fred von Lohmann.

Labels affix a warning sticker on every promotional disc, one that specifically prohibits market resale.  But those warnings carry little weight according to the digital rights group, and represent an overreach by the label.  “Unless this effort is blocked, it could jeopardize not only sales of used CDs, but also libraries, used bookstores, and businesses that rent movies and video games,” Lohmann said.