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Music The Courts United States

Selling Used MP3s Found Legal In America 281

Posted by samzenpus
from the old-music dept.
bs0d3 writes "After some litigation; ReDigi, a site where people can sell used MP3s has been found legal in America. One of the key decisions the judge had to make was whether MP3's were material objects or not. 'Material objects' are not subject to the distribution right stipulated in "17 USC 106(3)" which protects the sale of intellectual property copies. If MP3's are material objects than the resale of them is guaranteed legal under the first sale' exception in 17 USC 109. Capitol Records tried to argue that they were material objects under one law and not under the other. Today the judge has sided with the first-sale doctrine, which means he is seeing these as material objects."
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Selling Used MP3s Found Legal In America

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  • I agree with him but I can also see why people would be against it. What's stopping me from selling numerous copies of my MP3s and retaining my original copies?
    • by bmacs27 (1314285)
      The same thing that kept you from making copies of all your physical media before reselling it. That little voice in your head.
      • by Chris Burke (6130)

        The same thing that kept you from making copies of all your physical media before reselling it. That little voice in your head.

        It's true. The little voice in my head keeps me far too busy killing the demons that look like people to bother making illegal copies of my media, physical or digital.

    • by Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @07:07PM (#38974035)
      Whats stopping you from xeroxing your favorite new book and mailing it to your friends? Nothing. Except the law.

      Most of piracy is a problem in how companies treat customers, availability, restrictions (the pirated version has more features, is more usable) and cost.
      If books started to cost more money, people would start xeroxing them to each other. Its how it goes. This is all a reaction to the RIAA thinking they can dictate terms to the masses and rake in money. You have to respect your customer and provide value.
      • Yes but sharing an inferior copy is different than selling a 100% exact copy numerous times. It says it deletes the song from your drive but given that it has not access to my portable USB drive I could copy that music onto my main drive numerous times and sell it.

        I also agree for the most part about convenience but Amazon sells high quality mp3s for $.99 and they're DRM free. You can hardly call that too expensive or inconvenient.
        • by Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @07:25PM (#38974305)
          The particular service in question, ReDigi, works with iTunes. Once the song is removed from your iTunes account transactionally, you cannot use it anymore.

          You're free to copy a pirated version back into iTunes, but iTunes won't recognize it officially and you won't be able to download the song elsewhere from iTunes servers. So it is, in some ways, an inferior product. And its illegal, and once you make the cost and the penalties fair, people will understand. There will always be a few who pirate, but that isn't the issue here; THOSE PEOPLE ARE ALREADY PIRATING MUSIC, and will continue to do so. Furthermore, those people are not lost sales, but that is an argument for another day.
        • by robot256 (1635039)

          The whole "inferior versus perfect" copy thing is a bit of straw man argument. You can only charge extra (read: more than free) if you provide some extra value in your product. Previously, the only added value they provided was a bit of extra quality in the recording. But 99% of the time the inferior copy served the needs of the user, so people copied things whenever they thought price was too high or didn't have the money.

          Now that lossless copies are free, the sold products have lost their added value

      • It's easier to pirate than it is to download paid copies.

        If it was the other way around piracy would drop off like a brick.

        • by Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @07:28PM (#38974329)
          Exactly. The first person in Hollywood to realize it is going to make trillions. All market evidence shows this, but they seem to be too entitled to admit it.

          See all of Valve's latest experiments, where for instance everybody told them "you cant' sell in Russia, its full of pirates." When they started doing proper, good localizations to Russian, and started releasing games there at the same time as the States, piracy completely fell off the map. They're still making 3x as much money in Russia as any analyst expects them to.

          Or the steam sales, where offering a product at a fair price to market perception caused UNBELIEVABLE number of purchases. Valve's minds are literally blown by how much more games sell when you slash the price in half. I mean, a sale traditionally increases how much people buy, but we're talking over a hundred-fold more. Thats why you've seen sale after sale after sale on Steam; by charging LESS, they actually make MORE.
        • by vakuona (788200)

          Not easier, cheaper.

          How the heck is pirating easier than opening iTunes, or searching in Amazon, and searching for the song you want, and clicking on the buy button.

          The lengths people go to to justify themselves!

    • by phliar (87116)

      What's stopping me from selling numerous copies of my MP3s and retaining my original copies?

      • 1. Your conscience.
      • 2. It's illegal.
      • 1 is pretty easy to get over and 2 is obvious but it would be interesting to see how they actually monitor it. If they do monitor what you sell, what happens if I open two accounts on two computers? I think sharing the music for free with people is a bit more ethical than allowing them to sell it. But if they are vigilant about monitor stuff then fair enough. At least they're trying.
    • by istartedi (132515)

      What's stopping me from selling numerous copies of my MP3s and retaining my original copies?

      The increasing odds with each transaction that you will be observed conducting illegal activity.

    • Copyright law, if your doing that on a large scale it's a criminal offence. The point is were not to assume everybody is a criminal by default.

  • by The Raven (30575) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @06:57PM (#38973881) Homepage

    This decision is going to be challenged, directly or via changing of law, because it's a huge loss for the RIAA. I suspect it will be an important legal precedent, if it is not overturned.

    • Article Bogus (Score:5, Informative)

      by ZombieBraintrust (1685608) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @07:10PM (#38974081)
      This story is bogus. It looks like yahoo news misquoted a arstechnica acticle. Then some blog sourced the yahoo new article. There was no ruling on First Sale. The ruling only states there is no need for an injunction. The judge is going to rule on First Sale in a few weeks.
  • Ha-buh-wha? (Score:5, Funny)

    by American AC in Paris (230456) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @06:57PM (#38973887) Homepage

    After some litigation; ReDigi, a site where people can sell used MP3's has been found legal in America.

    Punctuation it: can go, pretty; much? Anywhere,

  • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @06:58PM (#38973899) Journal

    What is the mass of an MP3?

    • by perpenso (1613749) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @07:01PM (#38973945)

      What is the mass of an MP3?

      An African or European MP3?

    • by rubycodez (864176) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @07:03PM (#38973975)
      A service right before Friday Night MP3 Bingo.
    • Just like a book, it depends on the medium on which it's written. If it's on a hard drive, I'd say it's the mass of all the sectors containing the bits comprising the MP3. I'm sure you'll object that you could erase it, or write something else there and it would weigh about the same. Very true. Likewise, you could painstakingly pick the ink out of the paper fibers, stick them to different paper fibers, and make an entirely different book that would weigh about the same.

      In short, it has a mass even if it

    • by Digicrat (973598)

      Simple, it's roughly e*x*s, where e=the mass of an electron, s=the size of the file in bits, and x is the average number of electrons needed to store each bit on the chosen storage medium. In this case, mass may appear to vary based on the density of the chosen storage medium.

      Alternatively, mass approaches infinity as the file is moved across fiber optic links at the speed of light. WARNING: Attempting to duplicate a file in this state may create a rift in the profit-time continuum.

    • What is the mass of an MP3?

      How do you differentiate between a file with random bits in it and an MP3 file?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by mdenham (747985)

        You try loading it into your media player of choice and see what it sounds like.

        If it sounds like static, it's random bits. If it sounds like music, it's an MP3.

        If it sounds like godawful screeching noises, it's also an MP3 (of popular music).

    • Re:Material object? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by iris-n (1276146) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:12PM (#38976359)

      Well, as it is information, it certainly has entropy; let's assume that the best possible encoding of an mp3 is the mp3 itself (not a terrible assumption, since a mp3 is a compressed file, and as such highly entropic). By Landauer's principle, to write a bit irreversibly one spends kTlog(2) Joules. This corresponds to an increase of m = E/c^2 = kTlog(2)/c^2 kg per bit. If one assumes a 8 MB mp3 (One more time @ 256 VBR) at room temperature (300 K), that's 2.55E-31 kg for you.

  • Not true... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @07:00PM (#38973925)

    The judge simply denied a motion for a preliminary injunction against the defendant which means the case will go to trial.

    Actual source of information: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/02/judge-denies-record-labels-request-to-shutter-used-mp3-store.ars

    In short selling of used mp3's hasn't been answered yet (the summary is wrong).

  • Three cheers! Score one for the right of first sale!
  • Not True (Score:5, Informative)

    by ZombieBraintrust (1685608) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @07:01PM (#38973943)
    The title of this article is wrong. Everything I read shows no decision has been made yet. The Judge ruled that there is no need for a prelimenary injunction.
    • Re:Not True (Score:5, Informative)

      by gnasher719 (869701) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @07:14PM (#38974149)

      The title of this article is wrong. Everything I read shows no decision has been made yet. The Judge ruled that there is no need for a prelimenary injunction.

      I followed the link in the meaningless drivel that claims to be a submission. The link points to a blog full of meaningless drivel with another link. That link points to another blog full of meaningless drivel which contains a link to an Ars Technica article. And if you follow that link, you find that a submitter has quoted a clueless twat who copied an article from a clueless twat who read an Ars Technica article and didn't understand a word of it.

      Quote from Ars Technica here http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/02/judge-denies-record-labels-request-to-shutter-used-mp3-store.ars [arstechnica.com] : "Sullivanâ(TM)s decision means that the case is still headed to trial, where Capitol will attempt to prove its allegations that ReDigi facilitates wanton copyright infringement and is not protected by the first-sale doctrine."

    • And a Dupe (Score:5, Informative)

      by pavon (30274) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @07:21PM (#38974271)

      Yeah, and informed account of that decision by the actual lawyer for ReDigi was
      posted on slashdot [slashdot.org] just this morning.

  • by gnasher719 (869701) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @07:08PM (#38974055)
    Just a few hours ago Slashdot reported that a judge had refused an injunction against ReDigi, and now they are supposed to have won their case? I'd say there are two possibilities: One, that we have a judge who can run at speeds exceeding the speed of light, because that's the only way a case could have finished so quick. Or second, that the submitter is a clueless twat you didn't understand a word of what he is actually submitting. Since there is no link to any real information, I assume the latter.
    • The activepolitic link sources yahoo news. yahoo news sources arstechnica. The arstechnica does not state a decision was made. It state the judge refused the injuction. Yahoo news screwed up and the activepolitic reposted it.
    • Just a few hours ago Slashdot reported that a judge had refused an injunction against ReDigi, and now they are supposed to have won their case? I'd say there are two possibilities: One, that we have a judge who can run at speeds exceeding the speed of light, because that's the only way a case could have finished so quick. Or second, that the submitter is a clueless twat you didn't understand a word of what he is actually submitting. Since there is no link to any real information, I assume the latter.

      Haven't you heard of a 'rocket docket'?

  • by VidEdit (703021) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @07:14PM (#38974155)

    No, selling used mp3s has not been found legal. If you trace the link's back to the original source you get this article at Ars:

    **Judge denies record label's request to shutter "used" MP3 store**

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/02/judge-denies-record-labels-request-to-shutter-used-mp3-store.ars [arstechnica.com]

    The judge still thinks ReDigi's arguments are likely to fail and that Capitol Records will prevail. The only thing that is significant is that ReDigi's case isn't over yet at the motion stage.

  • So if an MP3 is a material object and can thus be resold, what does this say about copying it?

    In The New Yankee Workshop [wikipedia.org], host Norm Abram buys a piece of furniture and then brings it back to his shop. He then makes a very near exact replica of it and often donates or sells the replica. We have just concluded that an MP3 is a similar material object. What does this say about piracy? Is Norm a furniture pirate?

    What does this say about software license agreements? Ignoring software patents, is it stil

  • Why did the RIAA need them to be material objects under one law and not the other? What are the consequences if they are not considered 'material objects' under either law?

  • Mind you, this has to get past the same Supreme Court that said Costco was Violating Rolex's trademark by importing watches from other (cheaper) markets for sale in the US. Right of First Sale is not their forte.

  • by NotSanguine (1917456) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @07:22PM (#38974285) Journal

    There has been no definitive ruling by the courts in this litigation. The judge only denied Capitol Records request for a preliminary injunction against ReDigi to force them to cease operations while the litigation proceeds. That, most likely would have forced ReDigi out of business, which may well have been what the judge was thinking about. We won't have any real answers about this until after a trial and, presumably, the inevitable appeals.

    More Info here [digitaltrends.com] and here [law360.com]

  • by curunir (98273) * on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @07:29PM (#38974343) Homepage Journal

    The linked story is from some fly-by-night news site that cites a Yahoo! news posting that totally misinterprets an ArsTechnica posting that actually analyzes the actual decision (which is hosted on Wired.) Somehow in this online news game of telephone, it went from the actual story, posted accurately earlier in the day by NewYorkCountryLawyer, that the judge denied the plaintiff's motion for an injunction to the sensationalist story that the judge had ruled in favor of the defendant and ruled that their business is legal. Denying the injunction means that ReDigi gets to keep doing business during the trial. That's it, nothing more. They could still lose at trial. The trial hasn't even started, let alone been decided in a way that would mean that reselling mp3s is legal.

    In short, this is a misinformed dupe of the story posted by NewYorkCountryLawyer earlier in the day. Read and comment on that one because this is sensationalist garbage. Nothing to see here. Move along.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by idontgno (624372)

      Agreed.

      This should have been story-modded "-1 Dupe" and "-1 Troll" and probably "-15 Irrational Wish Fulfillment".

      Apparently, the illustrious Slashdot Story Pipeline works as well as the rest of the "editorial" system.

      I find myself wishing someone had just posted a pointer to a (hypothetical) Florian Mueller blog-dropping about the case instead of this tripe.

      Seriously. Please stop reading this story and read NYCL's submission [slashdot.org] instead. It has the virtue of being grounded in reality and based on fact.

      • Please stop reading this story and read NYCL's submission [slashdot.org] instead. It has the virtue of being grounded in reality and based on fact.

        Yeah, but reality can be so dreary some times.

  • I am loving the irony. For decades these jerks made us buy vinyl, then 8-tracks, then cassettes, then DAT, then CDs (maybe even fancy gold ones) of the same songs each time a new format became available --and if the player ate my tape, I had to shell out another $8.50. They told us we were purchasing physical objects. Now they claim music is intellectual property and you can't resell it?

    How long before music comes with a EULA?

  • This will result in crippling DRM, with a legitimate secondary market. I could see that being the middle ground they're negotiating with the cloud services. If the ruling does go this way, they will insist on some proof of the legitimacy of the copy.

    Information wants to be free, but not free as in beer. Downloaders will have to pay for a copy, but will be able to access secondary markets for both purchase and sale if they see fit. So long as the technology works seamlessly, I think it's a reasonable
  • ....they were all scratched.

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