ReDigi Details How They’ll Sell Used MP3’s Legally
Our recent post that startup ReDigi would be launching what they say is the first service to offer used MP3's legally set off quite a debate. As we pointed out then, rightsholders have viewed MP3 re-sale as an illegal additional use and most Hypebot readers, including at least one lawyer, agreed. Late yesterday, ReDigi responded that, in their opinion, the United States’ First Sale Doctrine, and their own technology, which they say, "verifies ownership" guaranteed that the re-sale process was legal. Here, according to ReDigi, is how their technology works:
- Music files for sale are verified for eligibility. The ReDigi Music Agent "uses a sophisticated method of analyzing many aspects of the music file", including identifying the song’s digital thumbprint ("a proprietary, patent pending, forensic analysis") and confirming that the file has been properly acquired. Any music file determined to be “unverifiable” was not necessarily illegally obtained. So the user can keep them, but they won't be offered for sale.
- Verified files go through a second verification process that includes "acoustic parameters matching the files audio to a predefined audio set from a known master of the same song".
- Acceptable files are then added to the ReDigi music marketplace for re-sale and deleted from the original owner’s computer. The files are also removed from any synced devices. ReDigi says that they manage this process for users, "so even devices synced over time will be updated with tracks that have posted for sale, and sold tracks will be removed".
- Lastly, ReDigi "ensures that there are never two owners of the same instance of a copyrighted work". ReDigi’s says that their technology "allows for this transfer with no file copying involved in the transaction."
By doing all this, ReDigi claims to provide "even stronger copyright protection to labels and artists as it proactively removes these files to protect the owner and the appropriate parties".
“The technological development of the ReDigi Music Agent passes copyright and first-sale doctrine tests that have stopped other companies from legally being able to do this previously,” declared Larry Rudolph, CTO of ReDigi. “If you have bought it, you are allowed to sell it. Also, you are allowed to buy something that someone else legally can sell."
It's far from guaranteed that labels and other rightsholders will come to the same conclusion.