Analysis. ReDigi may have tried in good faith to respect the spirit of copyright law, but the letter of the law was adamant. The public policy arguments advanced by ReDigi and law professors – particularly the argument that purchasers of electronic phonograms should have the same resale rights as purchasers of physical phonograms – seem persuasive. So, I don`t blame you if the 2013 decision of the U.S. District Court, Capitol Records vs. ReDigi Inc. (No. 12 Civ. 95 RJS) didn`t quite catch your attention, but if you remove the entire legal framework, it`s a decision that affects the lives of everyone reading this, and now that there has been a new development in the case, I wanted to reassemble it. You don`t really “own” the music you`re buying digitally and it`s illegal to resell it. That`s it, do I have your attention now? Well, it seems not.
Shortly after the company went into business, Capitol Records filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement. While a person can actually hand over a physical CD and no longer own it, this cannot be claimed for digital songs. ReDigi`s software only allows you to accept music that has been legally purchased from iTunes, but they cannot guarantee that these songs are not yet somewhere on a computer after being sold to third parties. A similar case was caused when people started selling their unwanted physical music many years ago. The labels saw how dangerous this could be for sales and wanted to stop it immediately. Unfortunately for them – but fortunately for those who like to dive for cheap records – the law protects the sale of already owned property, a law that ReDigi has also relied on. It remains to be seen whether the company itself will end up paying damages, as it technically doesn`t sell anything. Unlike online music stories like iTunes or Amazon, ReDigi doesn`t have inventory from which it sells. Instead, it facilitates sales between two parties and keeps its hands reasonably clean, like eBay or Craigslist.After several decisions, it looks like the company is in serious trouble — and the founders themselves could end up paying a lot for it.
This seems fair, since a sale on the online platform does not benefit the record company or the artist. It could be argued that for the ReDigi system to work, a copy had to be purchased at first, but it can also mean that, technically, only one copy had to be purchased. However, the resale of digital files faces a particular obstacle that ReDigi Inc. and its founders, much to their regret. This is because the agreement reached is not a complete agreement, but only cares about the issue of damages. ReDigi still denies responsibility in the case – and the resolution of the penalties allows the company to appeal to the 2nd circuit. (Previously, the company would ask the judge for permission to get a restraining order, but the judge wanted the case to go to court first.) Thus, this four-year-old case will finally reach a higher authority on the question of the possibility of second-hand legal digital works. The record company responded that this made no sense, asking in a brief last week: “Would the defendants only order the court to close the sales, but allow the defendants to continue to offer illegal reproductions of the plaintiffs` sound recordings? Such a distinction leads to absurd consequences, where resellers might try to sell pirated copies but could never actually close those sales. The decision cites a 2001 report to Congress by the U.S. Copyright Office [PDF], which strongly opposed giving consumers the right to resell digital works: If every dollar counts for most independent artists in today`s music industry, this problem may be close to home.
On appeal, the case attracted the attention of many industry groups, including the Copyright Alliance and the Motion Picture Association of America, as well as a group of 24 law professors, including Pamela Samuelson (Cal/Berkeley). Industry groups favored music publishers, while law professors supported ReDigi. A solution like ReDigi 2.0, which is deprived of its ability to allow users to download files to their computers, may well succeed in claiming first-sale doctrine protection. Providers of digital works should anticipate these developments and structure their licensing programmes accordingly. YouTube`s CEO warns in YouTube`s creators` blog about the unintended consequences of new EU copyright rules. While supporting the objectives of Article 13, Susan Wojcicki, while supporting the objectives of Article 13, believes that it “could have a profound impact on the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people”. The European Parliament recently adopted new digital copyright legislation, which now needs to be ratified by EU member states. A particularly controversial piece of the legislation is Article 13, “which […] ReDigi and the Amicus teachers did intense gymnastics to argue that ReDigi didn`t make copies of the music files, but of course he did. It did not matter that an intermediate and short-lived buffer copy of each packet was created.