November 25, 2015

Legal: “Reselling Digital Goods Is Copyright Infringement, Judge Rules”


A federal judge is declaring as unlawful a one-of-a-kind website enabling the online sale of pre-owned digital music files.

ReDigi, which opened in late 2011, provides a platform to buy and sell used MP3s that were once purchased lawfully through iTunes.

The case weighed the so-called first-sale doctrine, the legal theory that people in lawful possession of copyright material have the right to resell it. U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan, ruling in a suit brought by Vivendi’s Capitol Records, said the doctrine did not apply to digital goods.

From Bloomberg:

“ReDigi vicariously infringed Capitol’s copyrights,” Sullivan said in his decision. “ReDigi exercised complete control over its website’s content, user access and sales.”

Capitol sued ReDigi in January 2012, claiming that it infringes song copyrights by allowing unauthorized copying of digital music files. Record companies have sued many online music services to prevent erosion of sales of CDs and digital songs.

“ReDigi offers a service whose very economic survival depends on the unauthorized reproduction and distribution of copyrighted sound recordings,” Capitol said in its motion for summary judgment.

Capitol Records v. ReDigi: Memorandum and Order

Hat Tip/Thanks: @naypinya

Update: Analysis of the Decision by Kevin Smith, Duke University Libraries, Scholarly Communications Officer

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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