Sites like eBay are often used for unloading volumes of material wealth, but according to a report from The Consumerist, attempting to sell digital copy codes bundled with Blu-ray discs could be considered illegal. A user alleges that the online auction service recently removed his listing for an UltraViolet code for Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol on the grounds of copyright infringement. The owner claims that despite the existence of similar listings and explaining that the code was legally obtained, eBay maintained its stance.
Although based on a single unverified source, the report raises interesting questions about digital ownership, specifically content bundled with hard copy discs. The resale of physical media, such as DVDs, Blu-rays, and games has long been sanctioned under the first-sale doctrine, while the rights for owners of digital content have been hotly contested. In 2005, Autodesk attempted to block the resale of its software by an eBay user, Timothy Vernor, who in turn sued the company citing the provisions issued by the first-sale doctrine. The courts initially ruled in Vernor's favor but the judgement was successfully appealed in 2008 on the basis that the software's license agreement prohibited resale and distribution. In the case of digital copy films, however, only those who redeem the one time use code are bound by terms of service.
Ultimately, the rules for digital copy versions of films require further definition, though it seems unlikely that this particular instance will spark the debate. We've reached out to eBay representatives for comment on the user's claims and additional details about the company's stance on products like UltraViolet codes.