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EMI sues ReDigi for trying to resell digital music

updated 08:20 pm EST, Sat January 7, 2012

EMI accuses ReDigi of music piracy

Music label EMI is now known to have sued fledgling service ReDigi for its strategy of reselling downloadable songs. New details obtained by CNET showed that EMI unusually didn't object to the doctrine of first sale, which only lets a seller collect income with the initial purchase, but rather the origins of the MP3s and other music. ReDigi isn't selling the music from paid sources like iTunes, EMI said, and by extension isn't selling legal copies.

Niether side has commented so far.

Although not fully tested in court, reselling digital music brings up numerous clear problems. Even if a one-for-one copy, there's no guarantee that the original buyer has deleted the track, letting them profit from the resale without the handover that would be needed for a CD. Likewise, the new owner isn't under any obligation to resell to friends and could pirate as much as they like.

Music sharing has a number of legal, if considerably more restricted, workarounds. Apple's iTunes Match and Home Sharing let users grant a handful of people access to a shared account provided that person is comfortable with handing over login details. Google Music has a feature that lets buyers give friends one free, complete listen of a song or album they've bought if they're inside the other's Google+ circle.

By Electronista Staff


  1. brainiac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2003


    Tired of the reselling argument

    I am tired of hearing about the argument that people might sell the track but not delete the song. If I buy a CD, I can rip the music and then sell the CD without deleting the ripped versions. If I want to give copies to my friends (not saying I would), I could do that as much as I want (but not legally).

    If music is watermarked and the sales sites track how many times a particular track is sold, you should be able to have a legit resale site. Based on the information presented in this story, it seems like EMI has a valid argument if people are selling ripped versions from sources like CDs.

  1. myramoki

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2004


    Bigger than just CDs

    This issue is a bigger than just CDs. It involves every kind of digital product out there. Digital books, games bought on Steam, movies purchased on iTunes, etc. The idea of reselling a product that only cost a dollar (in the case of a music track) seems a little silly, but when you pay $40-50 for a game on Steam and your done with it, can you sell it? Or what about a digital book? I can see a potentially large market in these 'used' items, but content publishers are going to fight this tooth and nail. They want no used marketplace. Imagine if you couldn't sell your car? Thats what they want.

    Admittedly, digital products lack the physical nature that make it impossible to have your cake and eat it to. But then they should be priced accordingly. Why should I pay the equivalent price for a digital book, as I would for a physical one, when the digital book contains no resell value.

    The best I could hope for from this trial is that it might manage to set a precedent for what is required to make the sell of 'used' digital goods a reality.

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