Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

You Still Can’t Resell Your iTunes Songs, Court Rules

cracked discIn the U.S. it’s perfectly legal to buy a CD or DVD and then sell it to someone else — that’s the reason Netflix exists.

But when it comes to digital media, that doesn’t work. That’s the gist of a new Federal court ruling, which says that startup ReDigi can’t do what it says it can do — let users resell songs they bought on iTunes.

In a judgment filed Saturday, U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan sided with Universal Music Group’s Capitol Records, which had sued ReDigi for copyright violation.

Sullivan’s argument, in a nutshell: Unless the copyright owner gives you explicit permission to do so, you can’t resell a digital media file. ReDigi used multiple arguments to support its case, including the “first sale doctrine” that supports companies like Netflix when it comes to physical goods; you can see Sullivan shoot them all down in his decision (also embedded below, courtesy Jordan Golson).

Sullivan granted a partial summary judgment in Universal’s favor, and told both sides to report back to him by April 12 for next steps.

Capitol Records v. ReDigi Judgment by MacRumors

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work