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Can I Sell My Audible.com Books on eBay?
March 24, 2006 8:31 AM   Subscribe

I'm starting to buy a lot of books on Audible. Problem is: they're pretty expensive. Legally, can I sell the books I've listened to and no longer want to read on eBay?

From Wikipedia regarding Audible and DRM: ".aa format files encapsulate sound encoded in either MP3 or the ACELP speech codec, but include copy protection by means of an Audible user name and password."

Thus, if I strip the DRM, and only sell each book once (which could be tracked via my eBay history), would I be breaking the law by selling these books?
posted by JPowers to Law & Government (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
isn't striping the DRM a violation of the DMCA?
posted by reverendX at 8:36 AM on March 24, 2006


Don't know if you are buying Audible "books" via iTunes but I remember reading that iTunes DRM information can be read from files after they are converted into mp3 files because the info is also included in an inaudible (to humans) snippet played throughout the song. All apple has to do is play the converted mp3 via special player/decoder software and they find your account info and sick lawyers on you. I don't know if Audible also does this but I would assume they did.

One thing I don't like about the Audible stuff I have purchased is that the audio files look like they are intentionally just too big to fit onto an audio cd which means you are tethered to listening to the files on your computer or pod player.

Oh, and yes it is illegal to resell Audible books.
posted by linklog at 9:16 AM on March 24, 2006


I agree. I dont think its legal and your personal info will remain associated with the file even after DRM scrubbing. You're better off sharing with (or selling to) a friend who shares a similar taste.
posted by special-k at 9:17 AM on March 24, 2006


IANAL, so this is just to the best of my understanding:

Would you be breaking the law by reselling the books, assuming you didn't have to strip the DRM? No.

Would you be breaking the law by circumventing the DRM? Yes.

So the net result is that you can't legally resell the books, even though you might have otherwise been able to, just as you can't legally rip an encrypted DVD to your hard drive, not because you don't have the legal right to format-shift, but because thanks to the DMCA you don't have the legal right to break or circumvent the encryption.
posted by musicinmybrain at 9:18 AM on March 24, 2006


Couldn't he legally sell it and leave it up to the buyer to illegally strip the DRM? Of course, you'd have to include a big fat disclaimer with it, so you'd reduce the pool of potential buyers...
posted by jewzilla at 9:32 AM on March 24, 2006


No, it would not be legal in the states thanks to the DMCA. That's why I refuse to purchase data with DRM. DVDs? Sure. CDs? Sure. But just a file I get to download? No fucking way.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:35 AM on March 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


Couldn't he legally sell it and leave it up to the buyer to illegally strip the DRM? Of course, you'd have to include a big fat disclaimer with it, so you'd reduce the pool of potential buyers...

Maybe. I'm not sure. There might also be a EULA to contend with, or some other factor that a lawyer could dig up.
posted by musicinmybrain at 9:37 AM on March 24, 2006


Illegal or not, I say with 99% certainty that eBay would cancel your auctions. They won't even let you sell derivative art despite the right of resale.
posted by phearlez at 9:49 AM on March 24, 2006


Isn't DRM* wonderful?

Dollars to donuts says that what you're purchasing isn't a book but rather a set of encrypted bits that can only legally be used in certain situations.

Because, you know, that's kind of what you're buying.

It's a screw job.

* Be sure to refer to DRM as "Digital RESTRICTIONS Management" rather than the marketroid "Rights". Put a more appropriate spin on it.
posted by unixrat at 9:55 AM on March 24, 2006


If you try to strip the DRM, when the person downloads the book and tries to play it on their system, it's going to ask for the user name and password of the original buyer, then query Audible for a new license. If you don't have the right user name and password, you can't listen to the media.

So even if you could legally sell the audible book, they wouldn't be able to listen to it without your logon and password info.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:02 AM on March 24, 2006


You might try getting around the expense problem by checking with your local (public or academic, since your profile says you're a student) library to see if they have a downloadable audiobooks collection.
See this thread for info and examples.
posted by willpie at 10:20 AM on March 24, 2006


You might get around it by opening sockpuppet Audible accounts to buy your books, then turning over those accounts to the secondary buyer.

The buyer could then change the username and password, and re-download the files (that's one nice thing about Audible).

I'm not sure eBay would buy it, or whether it's against Audible's terms (i'm betting it is), but it at least feels like a good-faith effort.
posted by o2b at 10:32 AM on March 24, 2006


Why don't you just get a monthly subscription? It's only about $15 and you get one credit a month (and get to keep what you buy) That's usually a substantial discount off the retail price. But then, yes, you are stuck with the "books". No way to resell them legally.
posted by mhm at 10:41 AM on March 24, 2006


Doesn't your agreement with Audible say rather specifically that you cannot sell them or transfer your license? I did when I signed up years ago.
posted by dobbs at 10:51 AM on March 24, 2006


One thing I don't like about the Audible stuff I have purchased is that the audio files look like they are intentionally just too big to fit onto an audio cd which means you are tethered to listening to the files on your computer or pod player.

If you try to burn one of those 2 1/2 hour tracks in iTunes, you'll find that it actually breaks neatly into a whole bunch of smaller tracks that fit nicely on (multiple) CDs.

If you're listening to one of those long tracks in iTunes, you'll notice a little select box appears between the title/time display, and the search box, that has drop downs for each chapter. If you put it into a playlist and burn it, it works great.

I just verified this with "The Partly Cloudy Patriot", using a 2 hour, 8 minute track.

I believe Audible has software to do this as well, for titles downloaded directly from their site.
posted by I Love Tacos at 11:05 AM on March 24, 2006


Why don't you buy the AudibleListener subscription rather than buying individual books?

For $23.95 (or maybe $24.95?) a month, I get 2 free audiobooks, and a subscription to either the New York Times or Wall Street Journal.

That makes books $12 or $12.50 each and includes a free newspaper subscription ... that's cheaper than hardcover copies, and not much more than paperbacks...

/happy audible customer.
posted by twiggy at 11:24 AM on March 24, 2006


Also, with regards to CD burning - Audible's software allows CD burning.
posted by twiggy at 11:25 AM on March 24, 2006


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