Start driving to your local used CD store now, with Insane Clown Posse albums in tow, because certain states are whispering back and forth about the pleasures of cracking down on resale shops in the future. Florida and Utah have already passed second-hand-goods legislation in a joint effort to lessen the sales of stolen goods and scare away all customers. In Florida, new laws now require little Timmy to submit thumb-prints and state-issued ID before exchanging his Marcy Playground CD-single for store credit -- no cash allowed. The stores themselves must apply for a permit and are required to keep traded CDs for 30 days before reselling them. Rhode Island is considering similar legislation, and as the National Association of Recording Merchandisers' outside council John Mitchell said, "There seems to be some sort of a new trend among states to support second-hand-goods legislation."
This is not the first time the music industry has pressured lawmakers to threaten the used CD market; major labels have often withheld cooperative advertising from stores that purchase from them directly while still dealing in resale. However, this has angered consumers and independent stores alike, leading to a Federal Trade Commission investigation of illegal practices within the industry in the mid-'90s. Since then, used CD sales have gone from 5% to nearly 10-20% of total CD revenue.
Beyond triggering a mass exodus from resale shops, these new laws may also be conflicting with slightly lesser-known documents, such as the U.S. Constitution. CD resale is protected by the First Amendment (those Fathers thought of everything, man), and the use of fingerprinting and collecting IDs could be seen as further violations. Existing copyright laws also allow individuals to legally resell CDs.
In honor of endangered used CD stores nationwide and the gems I've found in their clearance bins, I'd like to offer the discerning TMT reader a chance to hear "Nice and Slow," off a very special used CD I once purchased for $0.13. First person to e-mail me with the name of this groundbreaking group gets a copy of The Jingle Cats' Meowy Christmas in a broken jewel case. Good luck.
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