Court Rules Users Can’t Resell Digital Music Files

| News

U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan issued a judgement on Monday that effectively says that customers can not re-sell digital music files. In other words, unlike a CD, which customers do have a legal right to re-sell, once you've bought a song via download services like iTunes, it's yours.

The case involved Universal Music Group’s Capitol Records, which sued ReDigi, a company offering to sell your digital music when you no longer wanted it. AllThingsD reported that Judge Sullivan granted a partial summary judgement in Capitol Records's favor, though both parties will find out the next step in the process on April 12th.


A brief look at the ruling shows that one of the most important factors the judge based his opinion on is the right to control reproductions granted under copyright. Though ReDigi claimed that it wasn't copying the music file to its servers when it...err...copied the music filed to it servers, the judge found that this simply isn't the case.

By copying that file, and then later allowing it to be downloaded by another customer, copying takes place in violation of copyright protections.

The full ruling is posted below, courtesy of MacRumors and ScribD [Via Loop Insight].


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It would seem that we are still in the process of figuring out digital rights in an era when laws lag behind to the days of analog recordings (among other things).

Online music stores—iTunes in particular—are roughly ten years old. What happens to our collections when we die, or if we want to give our collections away, or if we want to sell them, are all issues we have only begun to wrestle with.

Those are issues that are made ever so much more complicated by the power of legacy industry players like Capitol Records, copyright laws that are currently tilted in favor of copyright owners, and all manner of other issues.


John Dingler, artist

Hi Bryan,
The Nazi ruling means that I will have to break the law should I give away my collection, becoming an outlaw, just like in the Wild West and the law will not have the manpower to prosecute this petty crime unless, of course, the fascist MPAA and DMCA send out their Brown Shirts to smash through my house’s windows and confiscate my music collection which they wrongly think is theirs because I don’t have the right papers. I will be ready with my 2nd Amendment guns to protect myself. How romantic.

Wes Matthews

I totally agree. Copyright laws should instead be tilted towards me, the consumer.  Who are these people, who think they have a right to tell me what I can and can’t copy and sell, regardless of whether or not I made it? 

We should get rid of plagiarism-related copyright laws too. Because your nice article is here on my tablet, Bryan, I own it, so I should be able to use it however I want, even as my own work.  I’m sure we’re all in agreement on this?

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