AmazonMP3LogoAmazon today announced the launch of Amazon AutoRip, a new service that gives customers free MP3 versions of CDs they purchase from Amazon.

Once again Amazon is trying to take market share from the dominant Apple iTunes, and again with an innovative approach.  If a user purchases a physical CD from Amazon, and the CD is available as an MP3 version, the digital copy of the CD will appear in the users Amazon Music Cloud immediately.

Perhaps more interesting is that any CD purchased since 1998, when Amazon started selling CDs, will automatically appear in the Amazon Cloud too.

While this is an excellent move for the consumer, it does add further fuel to the digital licensing debate.  In theory, if you purchased a CD from Amazon years ago but then sold it on, the CD will still appear in your Cloud player.

In a European Court of Justice ruling last year, the court concluded that to legally resell a licence the original had to be deleted from any computers the licensee owned.  So technically if a CD has been sold, the original owner has no right to listen to it, however AutoRip seems to circumvent this.

No doubt Amazon negotiated hard with the record labels to allow AutoRip, and it would therefore seem the music industry is not too concerned as to the rights issue in this case.  However, I suspect it will open up some old debates again.

AutoRip is currently only available in the USA, however Amazon plan to roll it out to further countries in 2013.

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