Harder To Sell Used CDs Than It Is To Get A Driver's License?

According to Ars Technica, in a few states its going to be harder to sell used CDs than it will be to get a Driver’s License. What?

…you’ll certainly feel like a criminal once the local record shop makes copies of all of your identifying information and even collects your fingerprints. Such is the state of affairs in Florida, which now has the dubious distinction of being so anal about the sale of used music CDs that record shops there are starting to get out of the business of dealing with used content because they don’t want to pay a $10,000 bond for the “right” to treat their customers like criminals. …

In Florida, Utah, and soon in Rhode Island and Wisconsin, selling your used CDs to the local record joint will be more scrutinized than then getting a driver’s license in those states.

Yeah, that makes sense. —MEGHANN MARCO

Record shops: Used CDs? Ihre papieren, bitte! [Ars Technica] (Thanks, Jason!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. gamble says:

    I’m confused as to how collecting information and fingerprints from people wanting to sell their old cds will determine whether the cds they’re selling are counterfeit or not. I guess its a way to hunt them down later if the cds aren’t genuine?

    Also, this sounds like a law that would be put in place to protect the record stores from false goods but it seems that the record stores want no part of it.

  2. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Doesn’t the RIAA have just as much issue with the used CD market as pirates? Perhaps this is just a way to annoy both the customers and retailers to stop dealing in used CDs.

    Problem with that is everyone can just hop on over to eBay. Pay with Paypal, and if the disc you get is bootleg, get your money back…and enjoy listening to your free bootleg cd.

  3. nuton2wheels says:

    When you buy a used CD, the RIAA doesn’t get their cut. Therefore, it’s just as evil as downloading mp3s. Corporate jerkoffs.

  4. TechnoDestructo says:


    This isn’t about counterfeit CDs, it’s about STOLEN CDs…not stealing how the RIAA uses the term, but how sane people use it. This is about drug addicts breaking into your car and stealing your CDs, so they can sell them for pennies on the dollar to a used CD shop so that they can buy their crack/meth/whatever.

    Unless this is actually USED by law enforcement, though, it’s just a pointless burden on the retailers.

  5. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    This might be slightly off topic….but, if some pirates a cd that is only realease in a country outside of North America, does the RIAA still have a problem with it?

  6. Canadian Impostor says:

    @AlteredBeast: Of course they do. The RIAA would make it illegal for you to not buy any CD you even considered purchasing if they could.

  7. bedofnails says:

    Wait, you copy a CD?

  8. bedofnails says:

    Wait you can copy a CD?

  9. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    This is about drug addicts breaking into your car and stealing your CDs, so they can sell them for pennies on the dollar to a used CD shop so that they can buy their crack/meth/whatever.

    That is sooooo 1998. Now, people just break in a steal people’s Ipods that they are stupid enough to leave in their car. I doubt thieves would even bother with CDs anymore.

  10. Skiffer says:

    @bedofnails: Yeah, since cds use an optical laser to read the disc, all you need to do is make a photocopy of the bottom of the CD, cut it out, and put it in your CD player.

  11. freakinalex says:

    I’d just like to comment on the nice picture choice for this article. They Might Be Giants rock.

  12. Skiffer says:

    @TechnoDestructo: Sadly, this provides such an obstacle to legitimate business, that any consumer-protection aspects are negated.

    All it’s going to do is kill the second-hand market, which makes it just pro-industry and anti-consumer legislation.

  13. magic8ball says:

    Dear RIAA and lawmakers: you aren’t fooling anyone. Why can’t you stop pretending that laws like this are for my “protection,” and just admit that they are intended to curtail behavior you don’t like? You haven’t been able to make it illegal to sell used CDs (yet), so you’re making it prohibitively difficult and/or unprofitable instead. These laws are the moral equivalent of a SLAPP.

  14. @freakinalex:

    Yeah they do, but that is clearly “They Might Be Gia” and that photo was taken from the counterfeit bin at the local swap meet.


  15. mattshu says:

    What’s a CD?

  16. mr.dandy says:

    Hmm, looks like one more reason to stop buying new CDs, since they will have lost much of their former resale value.

    Way to double-barrel blast yourself in the foot again, RIAA.

  17. Uh oh... Cleveland says:

    Who’s alientating their fan base more–the RIAA or Major League Baseball?

  18. Artnchicken says:

    I’m the photographer of those TMBG CDs; thanks for the comments. I bought most of those used, believe it or not. I don’t buy a lot of new CDs these days thanks to sites like eMusic and Lala.

  19. jurgis says:

    @AlteredBeast: Depends on where you live. Drummer in my band had this happen to him twice. He doesn’t keep all his music on his iPod.

    Actually, I can name a few people I know who lost a chunk of CDs from their cars (mostly college students who half live out of their cars). iPods too, but if the cops use this, it would be uber helpful. If…

    The weirdest thing is going into a used record store and watching a sweaty, twitchy, sun-burnt, homeless guy with a stack of CDs to sell. I mean, you know he’s not listening to those Gang of Four CDs whilst waiting to use the phone at the YMCA.

  20. Xkeeper says:

    This wouldn’t be so bad if it was applied to all valuable used goods (i.e. jewelry, computers, etc) and turned down some; taking down the name/address via identification when pawning something would be very useful and should be required, since a lot of stolen items tend to show up there.

    But fingerprints? And for used CDs? Like you said, double-barrel foot shooting here.

  21. tcabeen says:

    @jurgis: Now, if I believed that fingerprinting that sweaty, twitchy, sun-burnt fellow would actually help your drummer from getting his van broken into … I’d be a little more supportive of the idea.

    But I really think this is designed to target me. The type of person who refuses so wholeheartedly to support the RIAA that he only buys used CDs. And I do. Around Miami, they cost about what I think a new CD should ($8-10), and they don’t support anyone except that poor homeless fellow, and my favorite local record shops.

    I guess it’s lucky that I don’t actually try to sell my CDs, but the selection is already pretty limited (unless I wanted to listen to reggaeton, which I don’t) that I could hardly bear it getting any worse.

  22. jurgis says:

    @tcabeen: I was more hoping that the added difficulty would just get the homeless crackheads to decide it wasn’t worth it. Some places already require a driver’s license and an “account”. It’s more that insurance companies are jerks about giving you replacement cost and it’s a big paperwork headache.

    I think the RIAA angle is weak, if that’s whats going on.

  23. drotor says:

    Let me guess … also harder than buying a gun?

  24. bedofnails says:


    It didn’t work.

  25. Dieluck says:

    It’s not about the RIAA; it’s about theft and the ability to easily turn over a stack of CDs for a small amount of money that will get you to your next fix. It’s hard to turn over an iPod as fast as you can CDs.

    I worked in a used CD store in Seattle. Here in WA, sales of used CDs are covered by pawn shop laws. To sell a CD, you need to provide your address and driver’s license same as if you wanted to sell a guitar to a pawn shop. We then held the CDs for 30 days before we were allowed to sell them – again, all per the pawn shop laws.

    There were countless times that we received calls from distraught victims looking for their CDs. And you know what, a lot of the time we HAD bought their CDs and were able to return them to the proper owners (with a police report of course).

    Sure, this happened because the experienced thieves were smart and sent in young kids to sell their CDs for them. But there were lots of times when those kids found out they’d have to give their name & driver’s license and decided to spilt rather than risk it.

    Fingerprints are a bit of reach, but hell, it SHOULD be hard to sell stolen merchandise.

  26. roamer1 says:

    I’m not so sure the RIAA has anything to do with this, and that it’s simply well-intended legislation that’s overbroad and causing it to apply where it really shouldn’t.

    That said — what is it with the large amount of utter insanity spewing out of Tallahassee these days?

  27. SkippyKilimanjaro says:

    I used to know a guy who legally intercepted all the Columbia House/BMG returns at the post office. Those record club CDS that get sent back don’t go back to BMG, they dead letter at the post office.

    Anyway, he would buy these from the USPO for what amounted to about $.05 a pop. He then sold them overseas for $4 each. He made a fortune doing this for about a year until the post office figured out they should be profiting by selling them ‘wholesale’ also.

    Whereas my buddy sent them overseas largely undetected, the post office decided to open a store on ebay to sell the CDs to the general public. BMG lost their minds and demanded their contract with the post office be changed to close the loophole that allowed this.

  28. ngwoo says:

    @bedofnails: You have to put the CD into the feeder of the photocopier. The disk needs to slide and build up heat due to friction to bring the data to the surface.

  29. superlayne says:

    I have never bought a used CD. Honestly, I thought that was already illegal.

    Couldn’t you buy a CD, rip it, then sell it? Although I doubt this is reasonable, there is some sense in stopping this practice…

  30. arachnophilia says:

    of course, this will only make piracy go UP, not down.

  31. mjw says:

    In my state (Virginia), it’s harder to buy Sudafed then it is to buy alcohol. If you buy Sudafed, they ask you for your license and record your name, address, phone number, and what you’re buying including how many grams of sudafed you’re buying.

    If you want to buy beer, you go to the CVS or Safeway and pick up a six pack, while flashing your license.

  32. andyj76 says:

    It’s all about the terrorists!
    There must be some terror angle we can work into this… let’s see:

    Terrorists use stolen or counterfeit used CDs to finance their campaign…
    Used (stolen or counterfeit) CDs are sold by drug addicts to finance their habits. Drugs are sold by terrorists… therefore, used CDs fund terrorists.

    Using this reasoning, owning a CD gives the potential to sell the CD as used, therefore everyone who owns a CD is a potential terrorist. Let’s take their fingerprints and drivers license details so we can crack down on these scum.
    Think yourself lucky they haven’t started doing it for new CDs yet!

  33. lilyHaze says:

    In all seriousness, I’ve been thinking of converting my CD buying habits to used (even though I support the online music buying, it isn’t for me).

    Since the original owner bought the CD at some point, I know that RIAA is getting a chunk of the money. The only lost money would be the subsequent buyers of the CD [which would have otherwise gone to RIAA for a new one]. Yeah, I’m on board with used CDs. (I love buying used books!)

  34. Mr. Gunn says:

    Zeke129: Don’t forget to stick a screwdriver in the drum to short-circuit the anti-copy mechanism and allow the green scanning laser to arm.

  35. yellojkt says:

    In 1993 I had over 200 CD’s stolen from my house. A CD cabinet is like a pile of dollar bills to a tweaker. The left behind four discs. A George Michaels, a Jimmy Buffet, and a double disc disco-hits album.

  36. G-Dog says:

    If the seller has to leave a thumb print and copy of a drivers license, then maybe I can keep actual CD’s in my car without them getting stolen.

  37. tcabeen says:

    @mjw: Sudafed is an ingredient in, like, ecstasy or meth or something like that. Beer is just an ingredient in beer. And beer brats.

    I’m not expressing an opinion on the subject. Just providing a bit of info in case you wondered why.

    Claritin-D (and generic alternatives) contain sudafed (the -D), so I had to deal with this hassle as well. There is also a limit on how much you can purchase at any one time.