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EMI to Take New Company, ReDigi to Court Over the Sale of Second Hand MP3s

EMI to Take New Company, ReDigi to Court Over the Sale of Second Hand MP3s -

There's a legal dispute brewing between label giant EMI and a startup business which resells unwanted MP3s. 

ReDigi, which opened last year, offers fans the chance to sell on old downloads they've paid for but no longer want. The tracks are available for as little as 59c on the company's website. However Capitol records, which is US division of EMI, claims it's an act of piracy and have applied to have ReDigi shut down.

The firms CTO Prof. Larry  Rudolph told Technology Review (via Classic Rock Magazine):

"You buy it, you own it. You should be able to sell it. If you steal it, you shouldn't be able to sell it. It's very simple."

But Capitol say the company is merely "a clearing-house for copyright infringement," and they insist: "While ReDigi touts its service as the equivalent of a used record store, that analogy is inapplicable. Used record stores do not make copies to fill up their shelves."

Still, ReDigi software verifies if the MP3 has been purchased legally by the seller before selling it on, and if there is any problem the company's system flags the track and ReDigi will then not make it available. Once the data has been transferred, ReDigi then deletes all copies from the previous owner's computer system. The track will only then be sold on once ReDigi have completed the routine, and if one user has made a transaction for a track then only one copy of the song will be made available as a second-hand purchase.

The court case will focus on whether or not a copy of the song is made when ReDigi make the original transfer to their server, and whether or not a track downloaded from an online store could constitute a transfer of ownership of that copy of data.

Digital copyright executive Jason Schultz believes the firm could win the case: "It strikes at the heart of the future business model of creative industries.

"Are we shifting to a world where every single time you want to use some copyrighted content or media you have to pay, like on a toll road? Or do you actually own something, and you decide how you want to use it?" 


Issue #75

Peter Green / Ivar Bjørnson

Out Now

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