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  • The Right to Resell iTunes Songs Denied in Court


    A U.S. district court judge recently issued a ruling against the resale of songs purchased through digital outlets such as Apple’s iTunes, finding that the unauthorized transfer of digital music is illegal under the Copyright Act. The judgment was handed down by U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan, who found in favor of plaintiff Capitol Records’ suit against ReDigi, an online marketplace for “digital used music” according to AllThingsD.

    ReDigi offered a number of counter examples to Capitol’s copyright assertions, including a first-sale doctrine that allows companies like Netflix to earn profits on the transfer of DVDs but Judge Sullivan was left unimpressed. According to the court, there is a clear separation between digital content like MP3s and physical content like CDs. The company acts as an intermediary between people who want to recoup some of the costs associated with buying digital music and buyers. Transactions are made online with ReDigi taking a certain percentage of each sale for providing the forum and means to transfer.

    The Judge noted in the order that courts have “consistently held that the unauthorized duplication of digital music files over the Internet infringes a copyright owner’s exclusive right to reproduce.” Though the question as to whether the unauthorized transfer of said music over the internet constitutes “reproduction.” Ultimately the jurist found that such a transfer does in fact do so.

    One thing to note is that the “transfer” as it is being argued in the case is not the duplication of songs but instead the sending of a single asset so that only one file exists before and after the file transfer. The partial summary judgment calls for both parties to file a joint letter by April 12 regarding how to handle remaining issues such as Capitol’s performance and display rights as well as ReDigi’s secondary infringement of common law copyrights. Damages, injunctive relief and attorney fees are also to be discussed.

    Source: AllThingsD via AppleInsider
    This article was originally published in forum thread: The Right to Resell iTunes Songs Denied in Court started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 12 Comments
    1. PokemonDesigner's Avatar
      PokemonDesigner -
      Wow. That's really stupid. In no way shape or form should this have been denied. It's just because the judge and court don't understand how computers work like the newer generation.
    1. bigboyz's Avatar
      bigboyz -
      This is worse that trying to stop gun ownership. WE ALL KNOW people will still resell music purchased once or downloaded for free. Nothing is going to change...so silly.
    1. Donnutt's Avatar
      Donnutt -
      This is like pawning or yard-sale CDs and DVDs. People will still do it.
    1. lilrican21's Avatar
      lilrican21 -
      Replace all the judges with people at least in mid 20 or 30's with a Knowledge about today's tech....
    1. vinaygoel2000's Avatar
      vinaygoel2000 -
      The way I read the article is that we can sell CDs in a yard sale or however way we want but we can't sell an mp3 of a song we bought off of iTunes. Lets say I buy a song from iTunes for $0.99 and then sell the mp3 to 10 people for 10 cents each. Now I made my money back but the music company lost $10. I agree with the ruling.
    1. pasterchadster's Avatar
      pasterchadster -
      I think this ruling is based on the way the law/transaction is worded: the "purchase" of an mp3 is merely the permission to use the mp3 on the devices associated with said account, whether that be on a digital player, or on your computer, or on a computer-written media (ie. CD). But you don't actually "own" the mp3. (Again, this is the wording of the transaction, not my opinion.) So distribution, or re-distribution of the mp3 would be illegal according to that understanding.

      And honestly, the Netflix comparison is not a very comparable one. Yes Netflix makes a profit off of their "distribution", however Netflix also pays those companies to use their product. If ReDigi is simply making a profit off of providing the means and not cutting a share to the music industry, then understandably it is an unfair comparison.
    1. necktweaker's Avatar
      necktweaker -
      Quote Originally Posted by vinaygoel2000 View Post
      The way I read the article is that we can sell CDs in a yard sale or however way we want but we can't sell an mp3 of a song we bought off of iTunes. Lets say I buy a song from iTunes for $0.99 and then sell the mp3 to 10 people for 10 cents each. Now I made my money back but the music company lost $10. I agree with the ruling.
      I might be misunderstanding this section of the article, but the article says:
      One thing to note is that the “transfer” as it is being argued in the case is not the duplication of songs but instead the sending of a single asset so that only one file exists before and after the file transfer.
      To me this means that the person "selling" the mp3 through the website must delete the mp3 from his/her computer after the sale.

      This would mean that you buy a song from iTunes for $0.99 and then sell it back for $0.10. You net a loss of $0.89. You cannot resell it 10 times. Granted, I have no idea how they would enforce this.
    1. HovikGas's Avatar
      HovikGas -
      Quote Originally Posted by necktweaker View Post
      I might be misunderstanding this section of the article, but the article says:


      To me this means that the person "selling" the mp3 through the website must delete the mp3 from his/her computer after the sale.

      This would mean that you buy a song from iTunes for $0.99 and then sell it back for $0.10. You net a loss of $0.89. You cannot resell it 10 times. Granted, I have no idea how they would enforce this.
      DRM iTunes, which would suck, so if this is how we avoid that, then so be it.
    1. pasterchadster's Avatar
      pasterchadster -
      @lilrican21 - Replace all the judges with people at least in mid 20 or 30's with a Knowledge about today's tech....
      People in their 20's to 30's would know and understand the below... (at least most of them would)

      vinaygoel2000 - Lets say I buy a song from iTunes for $0.99 and then sell the mp3 to 10 people for 10 cents each. Now I made my money back but the music company lost $10. I agree with the ruling.
      Bingo! If people were to realize that they could purchase a re-sold mp3 for 10 cents, versus 99 cents on iTunes, no one would ever buy iTunes past the first few purchasers. Everyone would buy "second-hand" mp3's at a 90% discount yet still receive the exact same quality as they would get from iTunes.
    1. jOnGarrett's Avatar
      jOnGarrett -
      Quote Originally Posted by PokemonDesigner View Post
      Wow. That's really stupid. In no way shape or form should this have been denied. It's just because the judge and court don't understand how computers work like the newer generation.
      which is why I eschew iTunes., all my files are drag and drop. no courts, no permissions no hassles. I dont need anybody dictating how I add, remove or share content with my devices.
    1. Orby's Avatar
      Orby -
      Unfortunately, I'm afraid the court probably found the correct result within the precedents and statutory interpretations. It's impossible to upload a file to a website from your computer without making another copy of it in the process, and that's where the ruling finds its roots. To quote the opinion, "It is beside the point that the original phonorecord no longer exists. It matters only that a new phonorecord has been created."

      Now, certain copies of are allowed under narrow circumstances of fair use (e.g., backup, archival, or burning to disc for personal listening, and that last one is rather tenuous). I would hope that new legislation or a high court ruling would establish an exemption for making a copy to resell the digital goods (contingent on the first owner deleting all their copies, of course), but that almost assuredly won't happen, for obvious reasons (both because the content companies generally are inclined against resale for its adverse effect on profits, and because that proviso of "delete all copies" would be nigh impossible to enforce).

      Welcome to America, folks.
    1. Gamemaster77's Avatar
      Gamemaster77 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Orby View Post
      Unfortunately, I'm afraid the court probably found the correct result within the precedents and statutory interpretations. It's impossible to upload a file to a website from your computer without making another copy of it in the process, and that's where the ruling finds its roots. To quote the opinion, "It is beside the point that the original phonorecord no longer exists. It matters only that a new phonorecord has been created."

      Now, certain copies of are allowed under narrow circumstances of fair use (e.g., backup, archival, or burning to disc for personal listening, and that last one is rather tenuous). I would hope that new legislation or a high court ruling would establish an exemption for making a copy to resell the digital goods (contingent on the first owner deleting all their copies, of course), but that almost assuredly won't happen, for obvious reasons (both because the content companies generally are inclined against resale for its adverse effect on profits, and because that proviso of "delete all copies" would be nigh impossible to enforce).

      Welcome to America, folks.
      Not necessarily. Through a web browser, yes, a copy would have to be made. However, someone could make an application that could simultaneously transfer data while deleting it from your computer.