Yet Another Company Says It Can Help You Sell Used MP3s

from the not-so-fast... dept

We’ve seen a few websites pop up over the years claiming to create marketplaces to “sell” used MP3s. The RIAA and the major record labels continue to insist such things are illegal. However, yet another one, called ReDigi is apparently set to try and it insists that its system is completely legal, though specific details are lacking.

That said, just the fact that the RIAA insists used MP3 sales are illegal proves how the RIAA is being knowingly dishonest in comparing MP3 downloads to “stealing a CD.” After all, it’s perfectly legal to sell a used CD. However, if the RIAA is claiming that it’s not legal to sell a used MP3, then it’s admitting that digital files and physical products are different. Thus, it seems like a pretty weak argument to pretend that the rules of the physical world only apply when it helps the RIAA and the major record labels, but absolutely do not apply when it leads to consumer surplus.

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Companies: redigi

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Comments on “Yet Another Company Says It Can Help You Sell Used MP3s”

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67 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

What does that have to do with the price of tea in china?

I mean really. Wether or not they are worried about illegal copies has no bearing on the conversation. Nobody gets to say that you are not allowed to sell your used bike just because someone else might try to sell a bike they stole.

The RIAA goes on and on about how digital goods aren’t any different than physical goods but, as this proves, they really only want the rules to apply if they can twist them to benefit the RIAA.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

It is ‘watermarked’ of a kind using tags, SHA (Hashcodes), and other methods that I will not go into here.

If people purchased an mp3 legally their will be evidence of that purchase somewhere, and that is all the probity that is required. Same as if you sell any other goods that you have purchased.

The publishers might try to say that you are not allowed to resell because all they have given you is a license to play the mp3, but that is for a court, and more importantly the market itself, to decide.

If it is then found unlawful, it leads to all sorts of interesting problems, with the main one being reselling of phones/ipods having legally purchased mp3 files (and mp4 too) on them at time of resale.

Not an electronic Rodent says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Um, the same way they prove how they purchased anything else. What other way is there?

More to the point, having both sold stuff and given stuff to charity shops – prams, laserdiscs, CDs, DVDs, clothes, shoes, books, kettles etc etc…. – I can’t recall even once having been asked to prove I owned any of it before either selling or giving it away.

Which comes back to the point; either the MP3 is the same as anything physical, in which case you can do pretty much what you like with it, including sell it on. Or it’s not the same, in which case given it’s zero-cost a copy of a copy of a copy when it was legally “bought” stop pretending it’s been “stolen” and anything’s been “lost” and talk about what copyright infringement really means.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re:

Needless to say, you left out the part that they are worried about illegal copies being sold.

The point of the article was to point out the RIAA’s hypocrisy. When it’s to their advantage they claim that digital files are no different than physical products. That every download equates to a lost sale. That downloading a song is the same as stealing a CD.

When anyone else treats digital files the same as physical items, to the detriment of the RIAA, they fall all over themselves claiming that the two are completely different. They blatantly contradict themselves whenever it suits their purpose.

ScaredOfTheMan says:

Silly Trolls comments are for adults

Mike’s point wasn’t that the resale of MP3s was not without logic and transaction hurdles (i.e. selling “copies” of a digital file). His point was, you can’t have it both ways RIAA. If I am “stealing” by downloading you MP3, and it is “no different than stealing a CD” Then an MP3 = CD. And if that’s the case, then I am free to do resell it as I would a CD.

If on the other hand they are saying you can’t resell an MP3 because it is under license etc, well then it is not = to a CD and don’t go around equating the two for tougher IP law propaganda.

But you already knew that….didn’t you.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Silly Trolls comments are for adults

His point was, you can’t have it both ways RIAA. If I am “stealing” by downloading you MP3, and it is “no different than stealing a CD” Then an MP3 = CD. And if that’s the case, then I am free to do resell it as I would a CD.

If on the other hand they are saying you can’t resell an MP3 because it is under license etc, well then it is not = to a CD and don’t go around equating the two for tougher IP law propaganda.

What he said.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Silly Trolls comments are for adults

What he said and what you said are immaterial. If a person can prove they bought the mp3s they would be able to legally resell them.

If they can’t, then the perfectly legitimate worry is that they are fencing illegal copies.

Why not address the real issue instead of your own made up bullshit?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Silly Trolls comments are for adults

I’m not in the camp that thinks every download would result in a sale.

But the fact remains that an illegal download demonstrates intent; the aquisition of content that is presumably for sale.

The law favors the ability to call each download a lost sale.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Silly Trolls comments are for adults

There is one issue though: When it comes to MP3s, how does anyone know that you gave up all copies and all rights when you resell it? It is more than likely that the MP3 you are “selling” is in fact a copy, and that somewhere, you have retained a copy, intentionally or not.

Without some sort of system that determines that yes, you have shed all copies (including backups), it is impossible to tell what you have done.

Basically, the personal buying the MP3 copy would be buying pirated goods, and you would be distributing pirated goods (and the middle man company would be as well).

I know the next argument too: If you buy the CD and turn it into MP3s, and then sell the CD, you kept the MP3s, so it’s the same thing, right? Nope. See, the guy who buys the CD gets the legal product. The copies you made under fair use are suddenly the illegal copies (because you no longer have fair use of the product). So the sale is legal, the company helping you resell it is legal, and by selling it, you made your own copies illegal, so it’s your own problem.

See, sometimes that shiny plastic disc is more than a dust collector.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Silly Trolls comments are for adults

Wouldn’t your CD explanation apply just fine to MP3s?

If you own one legal license to an MP3, and then you sell a copy of the file and that legal license to another, they now own it. If you retain a copy of the MP3 yourself, then the copy which you previously owned a license to becomes the illegal copy. So the sale is legal, the company helping you resell it is legal, and by retaining a copy yourself, you made your copy illegal, so it’s your own problem.

Both situations place the responsibility on the original legal owner of the music, and both situations essentially use the honour system, unless the seller’s computer is later inspected somehow.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Silly Trolls comments are for adults

No, you have to slow down and think for a second.

When you sell an MP3, you are always selling a copy. No matter what you do, you can’t sell the original. If you made backups, you have copies of that as well. If you bought it through a system that provides “recovery”, you still have access to it. So what you are selling is only a copy, never the original. So what happens is that you are selling a pirated copy (because it is never the original), and you have no simple way to clearly give up all of your rights to the product. Simply, once you download it, there is no real way to ever prove you that you sold your original copy.

With a CD, you have the “proof”. The buyer gets something that is a solid indicator, the “object”. It is the object that infers all the rights.

All digital requires an honor system that most people are more than willing to break. CDs have no honor, you own it or you don’t.

Now, while I hate to say this, this is a perfect example where a universal DRM would resolve the issue, removing the “honor system” and replacing it with actual sellable, trackable rights. But since everyone pisses all over any sort of DRM when it comes up, you are left in a legal minefield.

Careful what you ask for, you might just get it.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Silly Trolls comments are for adults

I am thinking just fine, thank you very much. And I still completely disagree.

If it is possible to have legal mp3s, then you have to accept that there is a license of ownership which is singular. Why can that license not be transferrable? Yes, you are always selling a copy of an mp3 – but if you are also officially selling and transferring the license, then it is your copy that becomes infringing if you decide to keep it. The license becomes the “proof”, and as with the case of a physical CD, it is trivial for you to retain a copy but you become guilty infringement if you do so.

This does not require any sort of DRM. Simply a record of your original purchase of the mp3 and the associated license, and a record of your transfer of that license.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Silly Trolls comments are for adults

No, you have to slow down and think for a second.

Take your own advice?

When you sell an MP3, you are always selling a copy. No matter what you do, you can’t sell the original.

You never had the “original” in the first place, all you ever had was a copy.

If you made backups, you have copies of that as well.

And if you ever listen to it, copies are made into various buffers during the digital to analog conversion and playback process. So by your reasoning, anyone who listens to an MP3 is a pirate!

All digital requires an honor system that most people are more than willing to break. CDs have no honor, you own it or you don’t.

I guess you’ve never heard of fake CDs then. And when someone sells a used CD, how do you know they didn’t keep a copy for themselves?

Now, while I hate to say this, this is a perfect example where a universal DRM would resolve the issue, removing the “honor system” and replacing it with actual sellable, trackable rights.

But they’d still be selling copies and not originals! Oh, the horror!

Careful what you ask for, you might just get it.

Ditto.

ReDigi (user link) says:

ReDigi - Is it Legal? Yes

Consumers? rights in the digital music market: ReDigi is launching a ?Recycled Digital Media? or used music marketplace (ReDigi.com) where owners of digital music can sell and purchase digital music files. We have done extensive research and have spent many hours with well respected law firms in Boston, NYC and LA. We strongly believe that this marketplace will provide and protect the rights of consumers as they were provided for under US copyright act and the first sale doctrine. Just because things have gone digital doesn?t mean that people have given up their hard fought for rights, each individual has the right to sell their legally purchased digital goods. The ReDigi marketplace is NOT about file sharing, it is a method of facilitating the legal transfer of music between two parties. The ReDigi approach is novel, it verifies that the track was properly acquired, manages items selected for sale within the sellers music libraries to prevent multiple copies (protecting the seller from copyright infringement), and facilitates an even greater level of copyright protection than the previous CD market. Even just a few years ago technology did not support a readily viable solution. ReDigi has made it a reality for the millions of music users and the billions of legally downloaded tracks that exist in the world today.

ReDigi supports the music industry. We love them and need them! Music is good for the soul ? what would life be like without it. The music industry has been severely damaged, as theft and file-sharing has become the norm. ReDigi provides a low cost alternative marketplace, where the Labels, Artists, and Consumers can share in the profits. ReDigi allows consumers to do what they have been legally entitled to do for over 100 years, resell music under the first sale doctrine. ReDigi supports the sale of new digital music from legal sites; the more consumers legally purchase the greater the available market for used music.

RobShaver (profile) says:

Solved by Bitcoin

You are absolutely correct. Bitcoin has a truly remarkable technology which created a fully anonymous, peer-to-peer digital currency implemented in open-source.

It could easily be modified to carry any digital payload. The payload would be encrypted by the seller using the buyer’s public key. Normally upon receipt, the buyer would use the associated private key to decrypt the digital asset.

The harder part is to keep the asset secure but still let the buyer use it. For audio, a player would have to incorporate the decryption algorithm and played the audio directly to the hardware.

I think the digital stream could be intersected and directed to a hard disk. To finally make the whole path secure, as is done with HDMI, the decryption would have to be done in the hardware.

Still, the audio could be recorded … “the analog hole”.

Non-the-less, the original encrypted block could be resold with proof of transfer signatures using public-key cryptology.

Not an electronic Rodent says:

Re:

No, the burden is on the one doing the accusing to prove that their accusations are true.

You’d think so that being the basis of both US and UK law as I understand it, but 3 strikes laws rather suggest otherwise – unless I’m missing something there’s no burden of proof there at all before punitive action is taken. Which leads me to ask “What the hell is so special about copyright that it gets to violate a basic precept of law?”

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Silly Trolls comments are for adults

Basically though, you just can’t have it both ways. If it’s possible to “own” a song, it has to be possible to sell it.

To flip your question around, when I buy an mp3 through the itunes store, how do they “prove” to me that it is a genuine original and not a “counterfeit”?

See, that’s silly. Legal ownership is what is at issue. You are obfuscating the real situation by first demanding that we put mp3s in physical terms, and then pointing out how that doesn’t work.

Vans says:

When you buy a music album (or song) you pay for a personal license that is not transferable to any third party. You don’t buy the music and it does not become your property.

In order for the music itself to become your property, the artist must sign with you an agreement that transfers a certain amount of rights to you.

The only difference between an audio cd and a digital download album is that you get a physical container of the album. You still pay for the personal license. Not for the cd as a material.

So, ReDigi is an illegal scam. They are just hiding behind the DMCA law to launder money.

Marius (profile) says:

The only way I see this working...

The only way I could see this working is by requiring sellers to scan and upload a copy of the original receipt for the mp3 file purchase.

Say for example that you buy mp3 files from Amazon… you get receipts or invoices.

Print the invoice, black out the personal information with a marker, scan it or make a picture with a camera, upload it along with the mp3 file to ReDigi. Keep a copy of the receipt in a folder just in case RIAA wants to see your proof of purchase.

When sold, ReDigi issues new receipt/invoice to the buyer and the cycle repeats.

ReDigi could go further by requiring sellers to activate their accounts by using a confirmation code sent through snail mail to their address.

Just like with any other service/business (like Ebay for example), the business should make reasonable steps to make sure counterfeit items or fake items are not sold but otherwise it’s not their jobs to make sure each mp3 file (“item”) is legally bought.

But there’s other cases like “rip the cd, convert tracks to mp3, destroy the cd, sell individual tracks on redigi” or “kid receives a mp3 player with 100 mp3 files included by store as a sales gimmick or promotion, he turns around and sells the mp3 files on ReDigi” … in both of these cases you don’t have receipts.

Bill Hicks says:

Why is Redigi so expensive?!

I’ve seen a few of these companies come up, but the EASIEST/CHEAPEST is probably musedic.com (all songs are $.09/MP3), since it only requires a legally binding signed agreement that you both a) legally purchased the MP3s and b) have removed all copies other than the one which was uploaded. Another site that I attempted to use was mp3caprice.com, but I’m not sure how they’re getting away MP3s for $.12/each… no explanation on the site, either.

But I don’t find sites like Redigi or Musedic to be completely worthless. I can fill out my media library for pennies on the dollar, and if I don’t have pennies, I can trade in songs I’m no longer interested in.

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