In this era of iTunes and digital music all have MP3, consumers are at a lost on who really own their music. This situation was highlighted a while back in a rumoured report that Bruce Willis was about to sue iTunes for the legal right to pass his music collection on to his children. This story ultimately turned out to be false. However, the fact remains that consumers purchasing a song on iTunes, aren’t actually buying the music, but rather buying the right to listen to that music on a nontransferable license. Apple may give you a digital copy of those songs, but the legalese states that you still don’t actually own it.
A current case in the US Court is look at this same issue from a different angle. Can you resell your digital music.
BBC – Kim Gittleson writes, “A US court is to consider a case that could determine whether digital media files can be resold. One-year-old start-up ReDigi is battling music giant EMI over whether digital music can be retraded after it has been legally purchased.
ReDigi says that its software is designed to comply with existing United States copyright laws. But EMI argues a legal principle which allows consumers to resell purchased material goods does not apply.” A judge at the district court in Manhattan, New York, will hear opening arguments in the case on Friday after EMI sued ReDigi for copyright infringement earlier this year.
[pullquote] EMI argues that digital music is not the same as CDs or books, meaning that the “first sale doctrine” does not apply.[/pullquote]
According to the report, ReDigi launched in October 2011 as the first legal online marketplace for second-hand digital material. The company is said to have thousands of people downloaded its software in the weeks after launch, but growth slowed after Capitol Records, a subset of EMI, sued in January. EMI argues that digital music is not the same as CDs or books, meaning that the “first sale doctrine” does not apply.
It says that the only way to move music around involves making duplicates, and there is no way to guarantee all the original owner’s copies of the files have been deleted.
The lawsuit will be closely watched by the wider media industry as it could set a precedent.