New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Court Rules Users Can't Resell Songs Bought on iTunes

ItunesA U.S. District Court judge has ruled that users cannot legally resell songs they have purchased on iTunes, reports All Things D. The case in question is a lawsuit between Capitol Records and music startup ReDigi, which wants to create a marketplace for owners of digital music to sell their libraries.

ReDigi argued that 'first-sale doctrine' should apply to digital purchases in addition to physical ones, but the court did not accept that argument. First-sale doctrine holds that individuals are able to sell their legally purchased books or CDs to other parties.
However, here, the Court cannot of its own accord condone the wholesale application of the first sale defense to the digital sphere, particularly when Congress itself has declined to take that step. Accordingly, and for the reasons stated above, the Court GRANTS Capitol's motion for summary judgment on its claims for ReDigi's direct, contributory, and vicarious infringement of its distribution and reproduction rights. The Court also DENIES ReDigi's motion in its entirety.
The Judge granted partial summary judgement to Capital Records, but has ordered both sides to submit a joint letter to the court by April 12, "concerning the next contemplated steps" in the case. We have uploaded Judge Richard J. Sullivan's full decision to Scribd.

Apple filed for several patents recently that suggest the company is at least considering ways for users to resell, lend or inherit digital content. The company has made no indications that it would make such a service available, however.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

22 months ago
What about ownership transfers in the result of death, or a mp3 music collection being willed to someone?
Rating: 14 Votes
22 months ago
This is the reason I still buy physical CDs, it's usually cheaper too plus ill decide what bitrate to encode in :-)
Rating: 14 Votes
22 months ago
This sucks. Soon, one can no longer (legally) resell a CD if the record company dislikes it. Physical media or not, the content is still digital.

It better be an April Fool's joke.
Rating: 13 Votes
22 months ago
I hope they don't wonder why people pirate media after this. There has been many examples why pirating is way more convenient than a legitimate purchase. You would think that it should be the other way around and a paying customer should have the best experience.

Rating: 13 Votes
22 months ago
Another loss for consumers.
Rating: 10 Votes
22 months ago
How would you resell music anyways? What's stopping you from selling file copies? I think I don't understand..
Rating: 9 Votes
22 months ago
Digital is different from physical.

Someone paints a painting and sells it to you. Can you then take a photo of it, enlarge it, and sell that? Of course not. You bought that particular copy of the painting, and cannot reproduce it. The Artist owns it.

Someone writes a book. Can you Xerox all the pages, bind them together and then sell that? Of course not. You bought that particular copy of the book, and cannot reproduce it. The author/publisher owns it.

Now, can you sell that ONE painting to someone else, and not own it yourself anymore? Can you sell that ONE book to someone else, and not own it yourself anymore? Can you lend it out? I think you should be able to.

This is where the law needs to be straightened out.
Rating: 6 Votes
22 months ago
I think we all know why this makes sense, we just don't like it :p:D
Rating: 6 Votes
22 months ago

Soon, one can no longer (legally) resell a CD if the record company dislikes it.


How does that have anything to do with this ruling?
Rating: 5 Votes
22 months ago

This sucks. Soon, one can no longer (legally) resell a CD if the record company dislikes it. Physical media or not, the content is still digital.

It better be an April Fool's joke.


Nope. First sales applies to physical goods, where ownership is without a doubt.

With digital, there's no way to determine whether you are only selling a copy.
Rating: 5 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]