Amazon’s new MP3 stores has some onerous restrictions

High quality non-DRMed MP3s cheaper than iTunes! Amazon’s store has really been getting a lot of people excited (including me). While they aren’t DRMing, they have created some pretty crazy legal restrictions in their terms of use. Is this a problem? Not really. Unless they start trying to enforce them.

Amazon’s contract says you “may copy, store, transfer and burn the Digital Content” for personal use. But then it goes further and specifies restrictions, saying you “agree that you will not redistribute, transmit, assign, sell, broadcast, rent, share, lend, modify, adapt, edit, sub-license or otherwise transfer or use the Digital Content.”

Concerned that I was being paranoid, I floated this past Fred von Lohmann, senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, a public-interest advocacy group.

He was surprised by the language and said it appears to enable record companies to pursue a breach of contract if, for instance, you loaned your mother an iPod containing MP3s bought from Amazon.

“It’s sort of like they’re adding another layer of restrictions potentially above and beyond what copyright law would restrict,” von Lohmann said.

Here’s the article from Brier Dudley of the Seattle Times.

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