Used mp3 website is sued by EMI to no one's real surprise

11 January 2012

We’re all aware of the thriving market for pre-owned CDs, DVDs books and games but until now we weren’t aware of anyone having the chutzpah to deal in pre-owned mp3s. They key words as we move into the second paragraph of this story are ‘until now’.
It seems that a Massachusetts-based company called ReDigi have hit upon that rather smart idea, with their website describing itself as “the world's first used marketplace for digital music”, buying unwanted mp3 files from people and selling them on for about 50p, undercutting the likes of iTunes. Balls of steel, eh?


Not unsurprisingly, the music industry is a tad unhappy about this and EMI have been first to set their legal attack dogs on the site. The record company say that, in the act of transferring files from a seller's computer to ReDigi's servers, multiple copies of an MP3 are made, which violates copyright law. As you’d expect, ReDigi have pooh-pooed this claim and are describing the lawsuit as ‘meritless’.

CEO John Ossenmacher says that their receipt of mp3s is "an instantaneous, simultaneous transaction" and adds: "When our transaction goes from one person to another, there's no copying involved in that transaction". ReDigi have said that they will fight the lawsuit "vigorously".

We suspect that we’re only at the very beginning of this one…

TOPICS:   Gadgets


  • Alexis
    I'm more interested in how you keep your music but sell it on? Looking at the site, it seems you can just copy all your MP3s to one computer, download their software, sell them on and your originals on computer A aren't touched. Wonder it makes it easier if computer A is OS X and computer B is Windows?
  • Alexis
    Damn. It's USA only
  • callum
    Well the concept is utter ridiculous. While I see not being able to resell as one of the negative things about MP3s, people lie. If everyone was honest and were genuinely uploading MP3s they legally bought but didn't want anymore, and delete the copies from their computer, then it would be a great thing. However, as 99.999% of people won't do that, it simply cannot work in any way, shape or form.
  • Nick T.
    Do you have to show a receipt to prove you paid for them in the first place..?
    You've never been legally allowed to make your own backup copies of anything, so how if you tranfer a downloaded MP3 to an ipod, are you breaking the law as you then have 2 copies.
  • Samantha
    The MP3 thing is impractical, since there's no way to reliably police it. But I suspect they know thing. I think what they really want is to be able to negotiate use of some sort of license transfer tool with the likes of iTunes et al. (Transferring the license for DRM protected music would be easy enough, non-DRM is more tretcherous waters, but if they have access to records that you bought it they can transfer the license all the same, and if you don't then delete every copy you have of the file, it'd be you breaking the law not them.) But to even be able to get them to the table they'd need to be a market leader, and this controversy should certainly help with that. But hey if they actually get to court maybe they'll manage to create legislation outlining that US citizens have the right to sell their digital media.
  • Stu_
    I can see though that one of their arguments is that you could effectively buy a DVD or CD and then clone it and sell it on. This is no different really I guess.... you're talking about who owns the licence and buy buying an MP3, what you're effectively doing is buying a licence. Let's be honest, we all know where we can get free MP3s, but some of us choose to buy them legally and buy a licence to have them on our PCs.

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