Right to resell downloaded music challenged in US court

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.

Comments closed
    • corwin155
    • 7 years ago

    1. my itunes music is burned to cd
    2. re-encode to flack or high bit Mp3
    3. store on pc also two back up drives
    4 equals 3x music same music but its safe and its MINE
    5. besides get my music from [url<]http://www.mp3million.com/[/url<] screw apple 6. oh i buy from the person / band directly now if they sell their stuff online the money goes right to them and not 1/16th of a penny per song and greedy corporations stealing the rest

      • Meadows
      • 7 years ago

      Flack?

    • LSDX
    • 7 years ago

    I’m still buying all my music/movies on physical media, even if I pay a bit more. At least, if I die in a car crash, my family can inherit my stuff and continue to use it. If I’m not wrong they don’t let you to pass your account to the next generation. Even if you share your username/password with your family, the companies will probably shut down the account as soon as they learn you don’t need it anymore, using their DRM mechanisms to restrict any further playback/download.

    I know mp3 files from iTunes are DRM free, but l still wonder if their ownership is legally passed from one generation to the next. With or without DRM, there should at least be a right-to-use that is passed from parents to children (until the given song falls under public domain), even if reselling is not allowed.

    Anyway, seeing how Apple is allowed to “legalize” “unauthorized” copies with its iTunes match, shows RIAA has become completely dependent on them. With one CD you could potentially create unlimited copies that get legalized by iTunes. That really got to hurt RIAA, I’m sure Apple is paying less per track for those than they do for directly sold iTunes tracks.

    Instead of fighting this kind of service, they should make a deal with ReDigi to free themselves from Apple’s clutches, but RIAA&Co have never been very far-sighted.

    • albundy
    • 7 years ago

    i want, no, i NEED to sell my HAWX2 that ubi sold me for $1 last week. I thought it was a continuation of HAWX1…but i was mistaken. it was bad, really bad, franchise destroying bad. i hope that digital games can be resold.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 7 years ago

    See, this wouldn’t be too hard to regulate if companies like Apple who managed the downloads were allowed to track and facilitate these transfers because they could transfer the license for a small cut of their own. I hope this succeeds because it’ll open the doors to movies and games and everything being transferable as well.

    And publishers of all forms of mass media will weep as their once promising last bastion of protection against the evil, horrible second hand market–online–goes up in smoke.

    Really, there’s no reason downloads should be treated differently. If I own the license to use something, I should have the right to transfer said license.

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      Regulate? [i<]You're a [b<]Communist[/b<]!![/i<] Seriously, Apple has no incentive to do any tracking unless it's Apple making the money off these second-hand sales

    • xeridea
    • 7 years ago

    I like the idea of this. They are allowing you to resell something that is yours, and even giving back to artists (something filthy rich record labels never do), and the filthy rich record labels. They are doing this in good faith, in what should be a perfectly legal way, and the record labels still get mad at them, even though they may be giving them a cut for something they didn’t do.

    The record labels are some of the most low life scum in existence. They care nothing for anyone, and will fight to the death to screw everyone over so they can attempt to make more cash for doing practically nothing, and refusing to adapt. They are just worried their free ride on mountains of cash is in jeopardy due to innovation, and they can’t have that. They get mad at every other method of getting music (radio, Spotify, digital music, sharing music, reselling, refusing to put up with their crap, etc), because it cuts into their mountain, and they will hopefully die soon because they refuse to adapt.

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    Once, we bought something and it was ours until the physical media degraded.
    Now we “rent” something for about the same inflation-adjusted price yet we have no ownership rights and the product slyly became a service.

    [b<][i<]At what point did this switchover happen? Were we informed about it, or were we misled by the "benefits of digital media" without being ever given information on the drawbacks?[/i<][/b<] Distributing electronically is a massive cost-saving for the publisher but rather than passing the savings on to us they are using the digital distribution as another way to extort their customers. I'm pretty sure that if music was half the price, I would buy twice as much of it, and be happier. Instead I buy only what I really want and make do with radio, spotify and other free services for everything else, begrudging the horrific state of the industry in doing so. One man has summed it up quite nicely: [url<]http://theoatmeal.com/comics/music_industry[/url<]

      • riviera74
      • 7 years ago

      +1 just for the oatmeal.com link.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 7 years ago

      I can’t speak about music, but digital distribution has meant I buy roughly 3-5 times as many video games in a year as I used to.

        • Chrispy_
        • 7 years ago

        Because of the sales? Yes. I think I probably spend at least double what I used to because of impulse buys on offers. I’m a happier customer too and more likely to come back because I didn’t feel ripped-off.

        The Record labels are a dying breed, I’m actually surprised they have lasted this long given how obviously superfluous they are to the music industry, but I guess when you’re filthy-OMFG-mega-rich from decades of literally milking musicians and their customers in a stranglehold, they aren’t going out without a fight.

        • Madman
        • 7 years ago

        You don’t FRIGGIN BUY THEM!!! You lease them, you don’t own a friggin thing!

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 7 years ago

          Even the DRM free titles I buy?

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            if it’s licensed to you.

          • NeelyCam
          • 7 years ago

          You probably don’t own even your MP3 player.. I mean, did you register yout product so you could read the EULA?

      • Madman
      • 7 years ago

      This is what I’ve been so pissed about all the time. We as end users have given away our rights.

      Well, ok, maybe not all of us. I support services like GOG.com, and I refuse to play always online content only.

      But for the most people, giving away their rights is considered acceptable. Oh, look Steam has a sale, niceeeey, lets pay em and get nothing in return.

      And then, one day their servers crash, or they go bankrupt and all those 500$+ accounts with games are worth shit.

      Not to mention you can no longer play games while traveling.

      DRM sucks, and laziness and ignorance is the main reason why we are where we are.

      It’s stupid, stupid, stupid!

        • Chrispy_
        • 7 years ago

        Well, I am hoping that if Steam ever goes bust, the digital media ownership issue will have been cleaned up;

        Something along the lines of “Valve will be mandated by law to issue a final patch that enables permanent offline mode for the purchased games.”

        Emphasis on the word “purchased” not “rented”.

          • Madman
          • 7 years ago

          Given how Orgins, Uplays, Diabloplays and other stuff gets created, I don’t see any chance that things will change.

          No one cares… That’s the problem.

        • stupido
        • 7 years ago

        true, true, true…
        that’s why my nick is as is… 🙁

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      At one time however you were buying a cd/tape/record for a couple of songs and the rest were “filler content”. I would be interested to see the number of complete albums that are sold now.

        • NeelyCam
        • 7 years ago

        I buy a full album every other week on average. And as is the standard practice here, I project my own experience on everyone, and make a solid conclusion that album sales are going great

          • Deanjo
          • 7 years ago

          Buying Greatful Dead bootlegs don’t count.

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 7 years ago

    I do believe we have the right to resell digital goods and should have that option available, however I don’t really care to do so. I feel that nonstop phone home DRM, activation limits, and distributors claiming to be a service so you don’t own your games are far more important issues. Would be nice if there was a gamer rights organization we could join that would specifically target these issues in court. I do donate to EFF, but perhaps I should join the ECA too.

    • superjawes
    • 7 years ago

    Well, here we go. I imagine that this could easily go to the SCOTUS, and I will be very interested to see rulings since they could easily affect how games and software are treated.

    • dpaus
    • 7 years ago

    And why should musicians and/or game developers get paid twice for the same work? Also, why is the suit from Capitol Records and not the RIAA?

      • superjawes
      • 7 years ago

      By the “paid twice” logic, why should musicians and developers get paid for more than one copy of the material sold?

      EDIT: granted, I understand that the number of available copies is not increasing (as would if you buy a song off iTunes), but it’s still spreading the material, and I think it would be much nicer to send some appreciation to the developers and musicians (especially when you can skip the publishing middle-man).

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        if you bought a book in a yardsale, would you expect them to pay the publisher?

          • superjawes
          • 7 years ago

          I was specifically trying to comment on the “getting paid twice for the same work” comment.

          And on top of that, it’s not the publisher I want to give money to; it’s the creator. When we’re talking about books (the real things), publishers carry the burden of paying for the printing machines, the distribution, the advertisement, and they pay the authors. Since the publishers have the means of production, I am comfortable giving them a share on the first sale because they have contributed in bringing something to my home.

          However, now that we have digital goods, the need for a publisher is diminished. If I am buying a digital copy of something regardless, I would like something to go to the original creator to support them. Partly because it is possible to support them directly, partly because I (often) want more content out of them later.

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 7 years ago

            If their business model doesn’t float, they need a new business model. They earn their paycheck on the first sale. End of sympathy.

          • NeelyCam
          • 7 years ago

          No, because it would be impractical. But if there was an easy, practical way of doing it, then yes.

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 7 years ago

            That’s ridiculous. Just because the effort has been written in words rather than formed in plastic and metal, you think they should be paid over and over and over again. That’s totally unjustified.

        • mtizzle
        • 7 years ago

        You are not spreading the material, you are redistributing it. Spreading implies that it exists in both the old and new place. It has simply moved. Do we need to give Walmart or Vizio a cut of a yard sale if I sell an old TV?

          • superjawes
          • 7 years ago

          A TV is manufactured (not copied), and since the manufacturer makes all the profit on the original sale, used does not make a difference.

          Copyrighted material, on the other hand, has a less tangible value. Sure, there is sometimes a cost associated with printing or creating the physical component, but that is just the medium. The real value isn’t in the CD or the paper, but the arrangment of words and music.

          I used the term “sreading” because the content gets experienced by more people. You don’t “experience” a television. Again, I was pointing back to the phrase “paid twice for the same work” because selling two copies is essentially “getting paid twice” even though the copies are essentially the “same work.”

            • NeelyCam
            • 7 years ago

            Careful.. you’re in the “we want everything for free” pirate land

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            I don’t think it’s about wanting everything for free. it’s about the fact that they’ve already been paid for that product. i don’t have a problem selling a cd and not paying the label/creator. they’ve already been paid.

            • superjawes
            • 7 years ago

            It certainly seems that way. This is the one issue where I’m on the side of most people here, but can’t seem to say anything without getting downvoted.

            Whatever, I guess. the real meat of this article is that a challenge is happening, which means we will start seeing judicial opinions showing up one way or another. We’ll have to see where the chips fall and whether we need corrective legislation.

          • sonofsanta
          • 7 years ago

          The “old TV” analogy breaks down because the offering is different; in buying an old TV, you are essentially gambling that it is in good, working order, and you are paying less because the quality of the goods you receive is less (unless you’re very lucky). For a digital copy of media, though, you are getting a perfect, pristine, as-new copy every time, as if you had bought new, except this time the creator gets nothing.

          The ideal solution would be that people who bought second hand digital media would tip the creator directly if, after consumption, they enjoyed the creation; but I fear that would never work in a reliable, large scale way.

        • gigafinger
        • 7 years ago

        Music and other art forms have a way of growing on you as you listen/watch/look. The only reason I would want to resell an album is if it were extremely terrible. In my world of music appreciation and this logic, only the worst musicians would benefit from resellers. Plus, I like having a vast collection of music.

        I understand and agree with your sentiment to support the original artists.

        • Thrashdog
        • 7 years ago

        As an architect, I request — nay, DEMAND — to be compensated every time a building I designed changes hands! A 5% fee is all I ask.

          • Peldor
          • 7 years ago

          The real money would be in usage fees. Every time somebody walks in, cha ching!

          • NeelyCam
          • 7 years ago

          Sorry, but some other architects decided that they don’t want such extra fees, and thus your value proposal is no longer competitive in the marketplace

      • xeridea
      • 7 years ago

      They get practically nothing from the sale of their CD’s, its nice to get a small cut again from this resale, and ReDigi is doing this voluntarily, probably as a smack in the face to record labels, who treat artists like scum.

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