Right to resell downloaded music challenged in US court


— 2:46 PM on August 20, 2012

An EU court has already ruled that downloaded games and software can be resold. Now, the US courts will have the opportunity to weigh in on a similar matter. ReDigi, a site that allows iTunes users to resell tracks they've acquired using Apple's service, is being sued by Capitol Records. According to a copyright expert quoted by Technology Review, ReDigi has a decent chance of winning the case.

The fact that ReDigi seems to be conducting its business in good faith should add some legitimacy to what the recording industry seems to view as unauthorized copying. ReDigi will only allow users to sell songs that it can verify they've purchased from iTunes. If the song is legit, it's uploaded to ReDigi's servers and deleted from not only the original owner's computer, but also any devices synced with their iTunes account. There's no way to determine if the owner has made copies elsewhere, but a digital signature is supposed to prevent the file from returning to a user's devices. The song is presumably barred from the iTunes library the user has on their computer, as well.

ReDigi gets a cut of every resale, and it's starting to share some of the proceeds with artists. The company is even willing to give record companies a slice of the action, and there are plans to expand the resale business to games and ebooks.

Last month, GameStop CEO Paul Raines revealed that the retailer is looking at expanding its used game sales to include downloaded titles. It seems unlikely GameStop would give developers a cut, since that hasn't happened with its sale of used, retail-boxed games. ReDigi's apparent openness to revenue sharing might be more palatable to developers and publishers alike.

   
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