'Used' Music Service Won't Shut Down Because of Lawsuit—Yet

Illustration for article titled Used Music Service Wont Shut Down Because of Lawsuit—Yet

Capitol Records failed to halt the operations of ReDigi, a service which sells "used" digital music, in advance of their looming legal battle. And even if you've never heard of ReDigi, this case holds important consequences for digital media of all kinds.

ReDigi bills itself as an "online marketplace for pre-owned digital music," which predictably makes record execs quake with fury. The service allows you to store your "verified" music in the cloud, sell the music you don't listen to for $0.32 a track, and buy used tracks for as little as $0.59 a track. They've been served with a cease and desist by the RIAA previously, but last month, EMI/Capitol filed a lawsuit against ReDigi. The label claimed that it is impossible to sell used digital music files without copying them and that there is no way to prove for sure that the originals have been deleted. EMI/Capitol also asked for an injunction against ReDigi's operations in advance of the court case. That request was denied.

ReDigi claims it uses patent-pending technologies powering a "highly-sophisticated Verification Engine," which ensures that all of the music uploaded to its cloud was purchased online using a legitimate service, that the person uploading it is the original purchaser, and that this person doesn't keep files after they've been uploaded. The Hollywood Reporter succinctly sums up what's at stake in this case:

Among the issues that could be touched upon in the forthcoming case is the meaning of a "copy" for copyright purposes, whether the first sale doctrine applies in the digital context, whether there's "public" performance in transmission of copies, and the ongoing liability for service providers who allow users to do things like move files around in digital clouds and re-sell them to others.

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Impressive as ReDigi's verification system sounds, we're rather skeptical. We haven't tried to break the system (yet), but It seems like a Quixotic quest. What if someone made a copy of the files to CD or to a hard drive that doesn't sync with the computer connecting to ReDigi? You can't delete a CD. Unless the files are all DRM-protected—most aren't these days—it would be impossible for ReDigi to be entirely sure that the files are totally gone or unusable. We're looking forward to seeing how and if ReDigi can prove us wrong. [Hollywood Reporter]

Image via Rafa Irusta/Shutterstock.com

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DISCUSSION

I think im going to do something that is rarely done here and that is to educate ppl on the workings of copyright law and how the company above will lose.

First off things like CD's, books, records, and such wich are considered physical hard copies of products that can be transfered ownership under the First Sale Doctrine are protected in copyright law, A person can make a copy of that hardcopy for backup purposes, and at any time that person sells or trades that hardcopy, the backup must be destroyed. As in you cant just buy a cd and copy it and resell the disc and continue to enjoy the music, that is piracy. Even buring a music disc for grandma is pirating music and passing onto another that does not own the hardcopy of the original is passing on pirated goods.

Now when most ppl where sleeping over the years and not paying attention, the companies and the government added more to the copyright laws and they regard downloads. From Copyright Law, a download is considered a basic copy with a license only the original buyer can use, as in that download is not, I REPEAT NOT, a hardcopy for you to sell or trade. See you the customer are only given a so called backup copy and not the original hardcopy. The companies have the hardcopies and they only gave you the customer a download that you cannot just trade or sell. This is why many downloads you get for example your ps3, the download is locked to your account and specificly any ps3 that is on your psn account. The download cant be traded or sold. You are stuck with that download till the day sony stops supporting it or you throw it way.

Now for the company above, unless it has some sort of software and permission from many sources to properly transfer ownership of copyrighted material that does not fall under the first sale doctrine rules, they are in a world of hurt. Downloads are not hardcopies, also customers dont own software at all, they only pay for a license to use the software.

So, just remember you the customer do not own anything unless its in a hardcopy form like a cd or a record, or a dvd, and even then you basicly only own the physical material as in the plastic or woodpulp, but as for the acctual music on a record or writing in a book the copyrighted material is still owned by someone else by the letter of the law. As for downloads, you pretty much dont own anything at all but a small license that says you can use the software with rules and conditions attached which mean you cant sell it or trade it.