back to article ReDigi fights for right to sell used digital music

A New York court is hearing legal arguments that will decide if there can be a legal market in second-hand digital music, an idea strongly opposed by record companies. ReDigi, a Boston,MA startup, opened its virtual doors last year with a scheme to allow the resale of people's digital music collection if it has been bought on …

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Wow, this is getting complicated.

I doubt the software is anything near fool-proof, but the idea of it does seem "fair" in terms of treating digital media as physical media -- if that's what people are expecting.

However, it's also a very good opportunity to point out that the Ts & Cs that everyone ignores on iTunes etc are different from the rights received when purchasing physical media.

Whatever the outcome, if there's enough publicity to help the consumer make a more informed choice (such as whether it's worth waiting a big longer and/or paying a bit more for a CD?) then actually we could all be winners whatever the outcome.

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Meh

No different

To ripping a CD and then selling the disc on is it.

They should not be able to assume everyone will sell on the digital music and also keep a copy.

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Anonymous Coward

Spend thousands on digital music

They day you die it cannot be transferred or passed on to your family or friends legally, so if for instance you children listen to it on you mp3 they are guilty of copyright infringement. If they access your cloud account and try to use it they could go to prison.

If you bought the CDs they could share them out.

I own my CDs but apparently, having paid the same for digital music on the web, I am only actually hiring it. That is one of the most not talked about rip,offs in the world.

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Anonymous Coward

Buy the same music legally three times but.....

If I bought the music in 1979 say Parallel Lines by Blonde, on either tape cassette (remember that?) or vinyl (yes), I have already purchased the rights to the music have I not?

So then I buy it on CD for a third time, therefore I have paid the artist 3 times for the same music yet if I download a copy onto my mp3 player from Piratebay or other download source I have committed a copyright infringement!

As far as I am concerned I own the rights to play the music.

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we could all be winners whatever the outcome.

Actually, no. I would much prefer that the first sale doctrine applies, because the alternative is handing even more control to the music industry. Microsoft already demonstrated what happens with "your" music when one of these outfits decides to pack up and take their toys home: you are left with nothing at all.

With a First sale doctrine applied, at least you are given back some control over your own purchases.

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Re: No different

If you are talking about iTunes, if you bought it from them, you can redownload it or stream it from iCloud or whatever it is called these days. So unless Apple agree to transfer ownership, you do still have it whatever the software does.

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Pirate

The music industry wants it's cake and eat it too.

How can piracy be theft but virtual goods can't be resold because there is no physical object?

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HMB

Best Experience

The best experience I had was buying Jonathan Coulton's "Re: Your Brains. After hearing it on Youtube (a few times) I went to the artist's website and found I was able to buy a FLAC copy direct for a reasonable price via Google or Paypal.

Awesome.

That's also why the RIAA hates youtube. I totally bypassed them and the artist got all my money. Awwwwww..... poor old RIAA :P

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The Supreme Court deciding something much worse

They are deciding whether "first sale doctrine" is only valid for things made in the US. Yes, that's right, you'd immediately lose the right to resell your smartphone, TV, computer, clothing, perhaps your car. At least your house is safe, so long as it isn't a mobile home imported into the US :)

The scary thing is that it has already been decided in lower courts the wrong way around!

Can't remember the name of the case, but it is a Korean (I think?) student in the US who found his textbooks were sold back home for less, so he had friends/family back home buy him books and resold them in the US, netting him over a million dollars before the textbook publisher sued.

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I feel rather superior now :P

I don't, and will never, buy non-physical digital media. If I pay my hard-earned out on it then I want to be able to hold it in my hand.

In any case, as far as I am concerned the music "business" is out to screw everyone, including the artists that feed them, and as such any time they can be screwed over by a wily business venture is all fine in my book.

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Meh

Re: I feel rather superior now :P

Even if you purchase physical media (CD's or tapes) they degrade and you will lose your purchase in a decade or so anyway. If you want a forever purchase either buy it digital or buy it vinyl. Everything else is destined to fail.

I do agree with your premise however.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I feel rather superior now :P

Pressed CDs are very resilient as long as you keep them out of sunlight and don't play them.

So a sane person will back up all their physical media onto digital to protect their investment.

In some jurisdictions this might technically be copyright infringement, which is yet another example of how the law is simply wrong and must be changed.

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Facepalm

Re: I feel rather superior now :P

"Even if you purchase physical media (CD's or tapes) they degrade and you will lose your purchase in a decade or so anyway. "

What a load of rubbish. I have many CDs from the early 80s (when the music biz really started to amp up the screwing of the public) and they are perfectly playable. In fact I play a lot of them regularly.

But yes, I do also back them up to FLAC so that I can play them from my media server too. I have no objection to music ending up in the digital realm, I just won't buy music in that form. If that's the only way to get the music then I simply ignore it and buy a different artist's work on CD instead.

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Meh

Re: I feel rather superior now :P @ Dire

When I was studying digital forensics for law enforcement in 2004 media life expectancy was a BIG deal as many high profile or complex cases can take years to judgement and the media may fail or degrade but you can't copy them because it messes up the chain of evidence. BEST case in CD's kept in climate controlled environments and not used is at best 30 years and rewritable discs much less, as little as 5 years.

Also I call bullshit you have many CD's from the 80's. I'm sure they may have 80's music on them, but they weren't manufactured then. Do you have a mullet or maybe a rat tail too? Rock on!

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Not mentioned in the article and key to ReDigi's case is the fact that "first sale doctrine" is an exhaustion doctrine, meaning that copyright holders can't dictate terms once the copy changes hands, meaning any T&Cs that say otherwise have no legal basis. As I understand it, to improve their legal standing, they only allow resale of music directly purchased through iTunes, which provides a legal "paper trail" that lets them say, "OK, they bought it here, then sold it here." Beyond that, Apple and the music publishers should have no say (otherwise, one could apply their angle with physical media, too--copy the CD, sell the original, eh?). I would imagine companies like Valve will be paying close attention to this case since it would set a precedent for them, too.

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Boffin

Bruce Willis

...didn't sue to be able to sell his collection. He sued to be allowed to leave it in his will.

I hereby cancel my subscription etc.

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Coat

Happy days

I can still sell my used car and my collection of old LPs. This digital makes things complicated and still I can copy the music from a LP.

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Anonymous Coward

Great Scheme!

There's already software around that lets you farm ReDigi - you can sell multiple copies of a track you purchased once if you know how to get around their protection/verification mechanism (the software is straightforward to find if you know where to look). In theory - of ReDigi could come up with something foolproof - it's a nice idea. As it stands there are security holes all over their software.

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Re: Great Scheme!

I didn't know of the software you mention (although I should've guessed it would exist) but if allowed to continue, I guess this will be the same as anything else - the majority of people will use ReDigi legitimately and some will take the time and risk to use it illegally. ReDigi will upgrade their systems, the hackers / pirates will get cleverer and the whole thing goes around. No different from anything else in that respect and not a reason to stop ReDigi trading.

In my own case, it would make me buy more ebooks because at the moment I torrent ebooks when they're a similar price to the paperback because its just not "worth" as much. If I could resell it (or give it to charity) then its "worth" to me would increase dramatically and I wouldn't mind paying about the same as a paperback. Same would go for music if I listened to anything new!

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Anonymous Coward

So what's the difference between this and the

So what's the difference between this and the (apparently not all that well known) cases of reselling software? I thought someone who had built a business out of selling used but seemingly-legitimate Autocad licences got taken to the courts. I can't remember the final result, other than as usual the lawyers would be the biggest winners. Suggestions welcome.

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Re: So what's the difference between this and the

You're talking about the 2008 Vernor v. Autodesk case. The lower court found in favor of Vernor, but the Court of Appeals overturned the ruling because the lower court forgot to see if Vernor got the original copies legitimately (he didn't--they were slated for destruction or return to Autodesk as part of an upgrade contract). Since the copies that were the linchpin of the case were physically stolen, that was in and of itself theft, making any other issues in the case moot, so as far as US law goes, there is still no precedent on the issue.

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Re: Re: So what's the difference between this and the

Thanks for the update, Charles 9. Do you have a link to the Appeals court judgement / press report?

Here is our 2007 account of the case:

Lawyerless eBayer sues Autodesk over garage-sale miracle.

And here is Out-Law's coverage of the lower court ruling.

US court says software is owned, not licensed, in 2009.

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Re: So what's the difference between this and the

I couldn't find the article at OUT-LAW, but here's an arsTechnica article on the appeal:

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2010/09/the-end-of-used-major-ruling-upholds-tough-software-licenses/

Though they make a big whoop about it, the core of the overturn was as I said, the simple fact the copies were destined for destruction due to an upgrade agreement (which CAN be considered a contract--destroy your old copy, and we give you a discount on the new version). Thus the copies were technically stolen (not pirated but physically stolen).

Also of note, the EFF filed to appeal the above ruling to the SCOTUS. I do not know at this time whether or not they agreed to hear it or not. Source:

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/06/eff-asks-supreme-court-protect-first-sale-rights

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Re: So what's the difference between this and the

An update to that. The SCOTUS refused to hear the case, meaning the decision stands for the 9th Circuit. The law can still be challenged on grounds of "copyright misuse" (which was left unresulved) or by an alternate interpretation in another circuit (which could then force the SCOTUS to decide due to the conflicting rulings).

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It is perfectly legal to resell software you have purchased in the EU.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/04/12/secondhand_ms_licences/

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Pirate

"All artists who sign up for the Artist Syndication program...

"...are paid every time one of their secondhand tracks sell in the marketplace,"

And *THAT* is really why the RIAA et al don't like it, because *they* don't get a cut!!

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Mushroom

ReDigi should move to Europe - Oracle case law allows digital resale

Oracle recently lost a case in Europe where they argued to prevent the resale of "second hand" oracle licenses. The same principle would apply to music sales.

Further - many european countries have "Fair contract" laws - and if they would like those examined in the court also they may find several of their one-sided agreement clauses thrown out as unfair.

I summarised the key findings of the ruling on my blog. Although I'm talking about software (and game) resale - It is just digital content resale (and so everyone is using the same arguments as the music labels "you can't make a copy") - the same principle applies to digital Music.

http://pgregg.com/blog/2012/08/on-software-and-game-copyright-and-second-hand-sales/

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*snort*

"You can't sell that book once you've read it! You can't even give it to a charity shop! You thought you owned it? You don't own anything pal, read the small print, you just bought a restricted right to read it where we say you can read it"

How on earth do they expect to get away with this kind of attitude just because a computer is now involved? I've seldom heard a better argument in favour of piracy.

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The music industry would have a stronger case if they didn't pay the artists the rate for a "sale" there are parallel cases going on round the world where artists are demanding to be paid the rates for licensing their music for digital downloads, surprisingly the music publishers see things differently in those cases!

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The Music and Publishing Industries

Have tried several times to eliminate the secondhand music market. Court cases relating to this are one of the reasons the first sale doctrines exists in the first place. Hollywood came very late to that party because there was effectively no such thing as privately owned movies until 50-60 years later.

Books and magazines have restrictions on being sold or distributed "in other than the cover they were sold in" (or similar wording) because the standard way of getting credited for unsold items is to send the covers back to the publisher (saves transport costs) and trash the rest locally. That's not a restriction on secondhand sales of legitimately purchased ones.

As has been seen, there is still a furious effort to make the grey market illegal - classic cartel behaviour and should be seen as such by the USA FTC.

FWIW a similar case to the Thai student's one was flied in New Zealand in the early 1990s and a bookshop selling US import books was criminally prosceuted in the 1980s. The backlash against those cases (and Chrysler trying to prevent grey import s/h Jeeps from being sold by asserting copyright) resulted in the govt blowing the restrictions wide open in the late 1990s. Australia followed suit but has been steadily locking things down again ever since (iAn Australian court once declared DVD region coding an illegal restraint of trade)

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WTF?

If reDig win this, and I can't see it happening, they would be the global power in music purchases.

Why bother buying from iTunes, when you can buy "secondhand" from reDig?

Essentially an online CEX. And if the tunes aren't cheaper, then why bother buying from reDig?

Essentially this is the same as buying games second hand from CEX or similar. Games industry don't like it so they are modifying their platforms to prevent it.

If they win their case, iTunes will introduce the same functionality, and end up killing off reDig.

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