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The End of OwnershipPersonal Property in the Digital Economy$
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Aaron Perzanowski and Jason Schultz

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035019

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035019.001.0001

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The “Buy Now” Lie

The “Buy Now” Lie

(p.83) 5 The “Buy Now” Lie
The End of Ownership

Aaron Perzanowski

Jason Schultz

The MIT Press

This chapter probes the reasons for consumers’ eagerness to embrace the digital marketplace despite the sacrifice of their ownership rights. It argues that the preference for digital goods is at least partially caused by consumers’ lack of information about what rights they are acquiring in digital goods. Digital retailers frequently employ misleading languages such as “buy,” “own,” “purchase” or “sell.” The chapter reports the results of a study that reveals consumers consistently overestimate their rights in digital goods, and that they prefer to purchase goods that allow them to exercise rights commonly associated with ownership. Many consumers have misconceptions about whether they can resell, lend or gift their digital goods purchased through the “Buy Now” button. A better approach should be to use short notices that unequivocally inform consumers what they are getting.

Keywords:   Deception, False advertising, “Buy Now”, Lending, Gifts, Resale, Short notice, FTC, Amazon, Apple

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