The Digital Media Project


Philip Merrill


TRU #39 of respect for sale royalties terms and conditions





Philip Merrill

Affiliation/additional information:

Active Contributor, Pasadena, California

Date submitted:







Name of TRU

Right of respect for sale royalties terms and conditions


Summary description of TRU

Part of the trio covering what users and consumers are bound by - in terms, conditions and legal liability - when transactions are made by sale, performance or resale. In this case of sale, for example, first sale doctrine in the U.S. exhausts the distribution right, but this does not necessarily carry over to digital (and it certainly does not apply in many other countries). Even when rights exist, contractual agreements often cut across those rights. Electronic sales should be able to come with a variety of very interesting terms and conditions indeed, some of them allowing free use, and/or use conditioned by the context of a marketing promotion.


Use records of TRU

This TRU has a somewhat sorry history, and the Use Case histories of the rest of the "trio" (see above) are also pathetic. Basically, because of the structure of law and society, use of a videocassette or audiocassette has been strictly regulated. Although this regulation has many benefits, it creates a very one-sided set of terms and conditions - so much so as to be somewhat deceptive except the traditional legal practice regarding specifics has mostly avoided troublesome lawsuits. The issues presented by terms and conditions used to be harmless to ignore because of the playback nature of analogue media but it is no longer harmless in the digital domain. For DMP, sale terms and conditions should be part of a conscious, up-front sharing of information with the user. It should, at least under some circumstances, seize their time and attention the way an airline attendant does before take-off.

Note that end-user license agreements are often unread.

Note that many Internet users have an objection to this TRU because their idea of the terms and conditions is that if they buy a CD they can do anything they want with it. In the old analogue playback context, this too was (relatively) harmless.


Nature of TRU

Currently the basis of a number of RIAA lawsuits and settlements.


Benefits of TRU

Record labels, movie companies, music publishers, writers, directors, producers, etc.


Possible digital support

The sky is the limit as far as tying up a user's time and attention to get them to agree to extensive sales terms and conditions. Anything from boot camp to just not bothering is possible. DMP can strike many happy mediums. However, certain user interface issues are still under discussion as far as how to convey terms and conditions or alternative permissions (for sale) as clearly as a nutrition label in the U.S. does its job. For example, on the web this could be handled effectively with drop-down menus (a DMP-er demonstrated this) and/or dynamic form (text) fields.



DMP DRM shall support the straightforward communication of terms and conditions (a knowing, consensual agreement) pertaining to the user's use of digital media content.