April 5, 2013

You can resell your vinyl records, cassette tapes, and CDs, but you can't resell your digital music files.

The "first sale" doctrine doesn't apply.
ReDigi tried hard to live up to the spirit of copyright law. It created a system where the uploader of a "purchased" iTunes song would lose access to the music after the file was transferred to the new "buyer's" computer. Yeah, right, said the record company and the judge – there's no way to ensure that the "seller" wasn't keeping the song anyway.


prairie wind said...

...there's no way to ensure that the "seller" wasn't keeping the song anyway

Oh. You mean that when I buy a song from iTunes, iTunes no longer has the song?

edutcher said...

If you buy your copy of the song, it's yours.

Anybody who said people didn't make tapes of records or other tapes is living in LaLa land

test said...

How would this be different from reselling a CD? The original purchaser could have burned copies just as the digital owner could.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I give away my favorite thoughts for free which is more than they're worth.

Nonapod said...

Retrofitting a concept to make it more like an outdated model seems like a futile exercise to me.

Henry said...

It's like the records companies want there to be a black market.

Unknown said...

This has been one of the huge issues with e books. It's much cheaper to distribute e books so they should be much cheaper to produce and libraries should be able to purchase them at a reduced price. But, they never wear out so they don't need to be replaced.
It's one of the issues that will make my job very interesting for quite a few more years. Unless it makes my job completely obsolete, in which case it will be just as interesting, but much more stressful.

KLDAVIS said...

"there's no way to ensure that the "seller" wasn't keeping the song anyway."

That was true of all of the previous mediums, as well. Would the record company be okay with ReDigi reselling the purchaser's hard drive? That would be an entirely analogous case, and I bet they'd still object.

rhhardin said...

The obvious conclusion is that copyright is bunk and ought to be repealed, its logical flaw having been revealed.

Michele Boldrin on intellectual property link

Everything you know is wrong.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

How would this be different from reselling a CD? The original purchaser could have burned copies just as the digital owner could.

I can't see a legal difference, but there is a significant practical difference. Copying a CD means physically getting the cd, putting it in your machine, making the copy, taking it out of your machine, and sending it on to someone else. Plus you can only resell your original once. If you want to sell copies, then you have to buy the writable CDs.

With purely digital content, you can obtain the music at network speeds, and resell as many copies as you want, all indistinguishable from the original.

The effect is different by orders of magnitude.

Known Unknown said...

I've started re-selling machine's comments to Democratic Underground.

Nomennovum said...

Copyright law is pretty screwed up. Some people get all their music for free, while others pay $1.29 a song. It's similar for other types of media. This situation can't go on forever.

tim maguire said...

The ruling is internally incoherent. Which happens far too often in technology cases where the decision making authority is vested in someone who doesn't understand the subject matter.

It's almost funny to see companies like Capital Records argue forcefully for DRM and buy enough politicians to make circumvention a crime, then turn around and say "DRM? What's that?"

What would make it actually funny is if the case were argued before a competent judge who knew how to do his job.

Ann Althouse said...

Misplaced comment that should be here:

Ex-prosecutor said...

Interesting and unusual First Amendment case as to a trial judge's right to rip by written opinion the jurisdiction's highest court. Sorry, but I do not know how to insert a link to this opinion.

In re: Leon A. Kendall
2013 WL 1318538 (CA 3 2013)

TMink said...

I mostly buy physical media then rip them to my computer. Because I enjoy good sound, I never buy mp3s.

CDs sound OK, but high definition rips of vinyl sound great, and the new high res downloads sound wonderful too. But I like having something I can touch, that is really mine. This ruling strengthens that like.


C R Krieger said...

This just goes along with the Mickey Mouse Copyright laws.  There is something in the idea that it is different from printed material, but not enough.  We will kill the goose the laid the golden egg.  Music stores didn't move with the market and offer buyers a chance to make their own CDs, based upon what they, the buyers, wanted, and it made the business go away.

I wonder if technology couldn't detect copying and then delete the original based on copying?

Regards  —  Cliff

Peter said...

"How would this be different from reselling a CD?"

Let me guess: when you buy a CD, you have bought a copy.

When you "buy" a download, you bought only a license to use the file as permitted by the publisher?

Alex said...

DRM is really sticky, but I'm sure a method of being able to buy/sell those rights will be devised by somebody. Probably a consortium of Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Google.

Peter said...

Apparently some publishers have attached the concept of "wearout" to e-books sold to libraries. That is, after a year or so they "wear out" and can no longer be accessed.

This is justified by assuming that paper books really do wear out (from handling and hard use) after awhile, so e-books should do the same.

I suppose CDs don't actually wear out from being played, but they do tend to get scratched and scuffed.

So, perhaps digital music downloads can also be made to "wear out."

After all, you didn't actually buy them just because you paid for them; you just licensed them.

So, the question is: would the publisher have to disclose this- before you paid for it? Or could they just sort of sneak it on board (like Sony with its infamous rootkit)?

Sigivald said...

"The file" is not a tangible object, so that's not super surprising.

You only ever bought the right to own and (privately!) play a copy of it, not "the file" as some Object.

(Turns out what you "buy" that CD or LP you still don't have the right to publicly play it, last I checked.)

Now, I think it wouldn't be a huge problem to allow reselling the license to a digital copy ... but such a right would also be factored into prices, doubtless raising them.

Ain't nothin' free.

ampersand said...

How does this affect scalpers or ticket event resellers? I know in Illinois it is/was illegal but I don't understand how the government got away with it.

ken in tx said...

I am in the process of converting my vinyl and tape music into MP3 files. I know there are more recent formats, but MP3 works in more of my machines. I'll be giving the vinyls and tapes away to charity thrift stores. There is nothing being distributed now in digital format that I would be interested in listening to or keeping.