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Music The Courts United States

Selling Used MP3s Found Legal In America 281

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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  • by SomePgmr ( 2021234 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @07:04PM (#38973989) Homepage

    I makes me wonder how this would apply to other digital media we buy.

    * I'd think, say with DLC, the producer of the material wouldn't be obligated to assist in a content transfer so DRM keeps them safe for now. But are we now otherwise allowed to transfer that material to someone else? If so, do anti-circumvention exemptions now apply to the new owner?

    * [requisite ianal, etc]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @07:19PM (#38974221)

    So if I own lots of MP3s, millions of them including multiple copies of popular songs-

    Could I sell one to you, then a few minutes later buy it back as I sell you the next MP3 on your playlist?

    I can see having any song available on demand from a music service for a small monthly fee becoming a viable business model, where previously only radio-style playlists (you don't get to pick every song) have been available free or cheaply.

  • by v1 ( 525388 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @07:21PM (#38974261) Homepage Journal

    this is just a case of them trying to have their cake and eat it too, when they'd really much rather HAVE their cake than EAT it, if given the choice. So the judge had to make a call, and it was called EAT it. So now they find themselves in pretty much the worst possible scenario. By their own involvements they've gotten MP3's judged as material objects.

    And now have an almost impossible to police or defend position of having to identify and prove that you don't still have a copy after selling it. Serves them right for trying to double-dip. They would have been much better off to have claimed it was exclusively not a physical object - at least then they'd have more applicable laws to erm... abuse.

  • by Tastecicles ( 1153671 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:47PM (#38976119)

    Possession is nine tenths of the Law. BTW, according to several people working as agents of the Performing Rights Society and the British Phonographic Institute, a receipt is not proof of ownership - the only proof they will accept is an original inlay (specifically the side with the barcode) - even if you don't have current possession of the media itself (I mean, how many DJs do you know carries original copies of commercial albums on CDDA? I know of precisely zero).

    Disclaimer: my brother is a club DJ, I used to help out occasionally and met lots of other DJs who did the same: carried ready-to-go remixes and pissbreak tracks on a dozen or so CDR or a firewire drive, and several thousand CD back inlays in a couple lever arch files. With the diversity of floor requests, you couldn't possibly carry even a half decent collection of heavy rock or dubstep or whatever on CDDA, you'd need a frickin' truck! (200 CD albums in cases weighs over 28lb, plus the weight of the trunk). Hence, a 500GB drive packed with popular floorfillers (with the requisite accompanying two or three pounds of paper inlays) was an essential addition to his car load.

  • by Githaron ( 2462596 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:03PM (#38976277)
    Would you even have to sell it? You could let someone borrow your music just like you can let them borrow your car. I could see some business creating a website that facilitates this kind of exchange. They charge you a flat rate to access their catalog of users that want to borrow and lend 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.

  • by Githaron ( 2462596 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:14PM (#38976377)
    As I have previously posted on /., I don't see why there can't be a digital deeds to all digital products. There are registered authorities that facilitates the exchange of digital deeds for a small fee. All deeds will be signed with an authority's private key. All registered authorities are required to accept deeds signed by other authorities. If you are using a digital product without a digital deed to your name, you are infringing on the copyright. Obviously, this wouldn't keep people from pirating anyway but at least there would be a way to prove that you bought the product fair and square if ownership ever came into question.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI