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Page last updated at 12:18 GMT, Thursday, 11 December 2008
Used MP3 site prepares to launch

By Iain Mackenzie
Newsbeat US reporter

MP3

A new music download site is preparing to launch the world's first second-hand store for MP3s.

Like an online jumble sale, Bopaboo.com will allow users to flick through piles of old singles and albums.

Prices promise to be substantially lower than on the high street and other download services, with no scratches to worry about.

However, some experts are warning the legal position of selling pre-owned digital music is precarious.

Bopaboo CEO, Alex Meshkin, told Newsbeat he's confident the service is above board: "We believe that consumers have the right to transfer ownership of something that they have previously purchased.

"We're working alongside the industry… we said we want to come up with a solution where you guys can monetise the solution".

Under Bopaboo's terms of business, users receive 80% of the sale price, Bopaboo.com takes 20%, with a portion of that going to the record companies.

None of the major labels would comment on negotiations with Bopaboo, but Alex Meshkin admits agreements have yet to be reached.

"We're confident that we are going to be able to finalise our partnerships," he said.

Copyright concerns

New York-based music industry lawyer Steve Gordon doesn't think it will happen.

"There are certain ways that the record companies want to encourage digital distribution. I think in this case there would be a lot of resistance," he said.

Bopaboo is currently available to invite-only beta testers.

If deals with the music's publishers are not in place by the time the site launches to the general public, the legality of Bopaboo's sales is likely to be called into question, according to Steve Gordon.

"You have to make a copy of your MP3 file in order to sell it to someone else.

"Once you make a copy and sell it to a third party, you're violating the US copyright act."

Similar laws in the UK would also restrict the selling of copied files.

But supporters of Bopaboo say it could work to the record labels' advantage, allowing them to recoup cash for files that may have been exchanged illegally over file-sharing networks.

Critics claim there is nothing to prevent users keeping-hold of their original MP3s after selling a copy.

However, explains Alex Meshkin, there are systems to stop multiple sales of the same track.

"We have a multi-tiered algorithm built-in to our upload process. It is almost bullet proof. That prevents consumers becoming mass distributors.

"That's the largest concern we've seen with content owners."

Bopaboo.com also plans to sell new tracks free of digital rights management (DRM).

Other music retailers, including Apple, have come under fire in the past for 'locking down' their tracks to only work with certain computers or portable devices.



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