Who needs tickets?

In the ReDigi case, the court ruled that owners of MP3 files do not have the same property rights as the owners of physical CDs. In the Kirtsaeng case, the Supreme Court seemed to tip the balance or rights in favor of the buyer, rather than the rights owner. But as the legislative battle in California shows, the fundamental debate over virtual property rights is not likely to remain limited to recorded or published media.

Plot thickens in Apple “bait apps” case

Apple came under fire last year from parents whose children racked up credit card charges on apps that were supposed to be “free.” Apple tried to throw out a lawsuit over the apps but a judge found the parents suffered sufficient harm to pursue the case.

Facebook Credits: a shaky media platform

There is a lot riding on Facebook Credits. But for established media companies, the mandatory use of the in-app Payments system could be less than appealing. Will the company be able to become a major distributor of paid premium content? It depends if it wants to.

Virtual currencies: from coins to barter

How do virtual currencies work today and where, outside of gaming, might they be effective? Right now, practical alternative payments systems like Facebook’s and PayPal’s are still based on cash, though consumers might like bartering and loyalty programs rolled into the mix.

Today in Social

The giant of social gaming sold 100 million shares at $10 last night, and makes its bow as a publicly traded company today. Critics worry that its growth is slowing and that it’s too dependent on Facebook. As I wrote earlier, building out its own site and network, and letting third-party game studios in, could be an answer to both of those issues. Zynga is the poster child for virtual goods sales, and I’ll be looking at that combination of virtual goods and currencies in my forthcoming Weekly Update. While you’re teeing up CityVille, for more background, VentureBeat has a really long history of the company, and Colin Gibbs wrote about its mobile opportunity.

Two-thirds of in-app game buys have fleeting value

Most of the money people spend within mobile games is on “consumable” items that have no lasting value once used. The most popular form of that is “premium” currency, which allows users to buy their way into advancing faster in a game, according to Flurry.

Today in Social

Yesterday, Zynga filed for its IPO. I was looking at an abbreviated version of the S-1, so I’m posting an update that’s clearer. The social gaming giant had nearly $600 million in revenue in 2010, and made over $90 million in profits before paying out some special dividends. That brought profits for common stockholders down to about $30 million. First quarter 2011 revenues more than doubled to $235 million, with $12 million in profit. Virtual goods pay the bills. Ad revenues were a single digit percentage of total sales – $23 million in 2010, which was actually down from the prior year, but up in Q1 to $13 million. Zynga spent $83 million in advertising in 2010, much of that with Facebook. Early commentators zero in on Zynga’s Facebook dependency. Zynga doesn’t even get a discount for being Facebook’s largest Credits user. Derrick Harris takes a look at Zynga’s cloud and big data strategies. Earlier I wrote about what Zynga might do next, both to diminish its reliance on Facebook and build out new businesses. I’ve also looked at network effects in social gaming. Here’s Zynga’s S-1 if you want to poke around.