Reselling Music breaches Copyright Laws

A company that allowed users to resell their digital music ‘second hand’ has breached copyright laws.

ReDigi are based in Boston and claimed to be the first company to legally resell music bought online. But the company soon caught the eye of record labels.

ReDigi was sued by Capitol Records in January 2012, and on Monday a New York judge said they were making unauthorised copies of music.

Unlike physical music CDs, Judge Richard Sullivan said that the ‘first sale doctrine’ did not apply. The ‘first sale doctrine’ is a long established rule which allows the reselling of goods to a new owner, for example, selling a CD once you no longer want it.

However, because the company are dealing in the digital world, where a tangible CD doesn’t exist, duplication is easier, so the doctrine is not appropriate.

“It is simply impossible that the same ‘material object’ can be transferred over the internet,” he wrote in his ruling.

“ReDigi facilitates and profits from the sale of copyrighted commercial recordings, transferred in their entirety, with a likely detrimental impact on the primary market for these goods.”

ReDigi argues that the original download is removed from the seller’s computer when they use their system.

ReDigi asks users to download their software, which deletes the original file, whilst checking that the file has been bought legally. If the song or file is legal, then it is erased from the user’s computer and uploaded to ReDigi’s servers.

But the judge said: “It is beside the point that the original phonorecord no longer exists. It matters only that a new phonorecord has been created.”

Capitol Records sought £99,000 ($150,000) for each infringement. A settlement figure has not been agreed upon yet, and the judge invited both parties to submit statements for the next step in the case.

The idea of selling unwanted music online has caught the eye of Apple and Amazon. Both companies are currently working on patents, whilst keeping an eye on the ReDigi case.

Pic source: Digital Trends

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