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MP3 resale site ReDigi settles with Capitol on damages, but appeal continues

By | Published on Friday 8 April 2016


Ah, ReDigi, the MP3 resale website that got the US record industry into a fluster back in 2011. It all seems so quaint now.

Back then the people behind ReDigi argued that because copyright law allows people who buy CDs to resell them, the same rule should apply to downloads. But the record industry countered that, unlike with a CD, if someone transfers an MP3 to someone else, a new copy has to be made, even if the seller then deletes their copy (which the ReDigi system was meant to ensure). Therefore what is known as the ‘first sale doctrine’ under US law – which allows the resale of CDs – shouldn’t apply to digital, the labels said.

Capitol Records, then part of the old EMI, sued on the issue in 2011, and two years later a judge concurred with the record company’s interpretation of copyright law and the first sale doctrine. That ruling, though, didn’t deal with damages, and that element of the case has been rumbling on ever since, with a hearing scheduled for next week.

But, earlier this week, both parties announced that they had reached a deal on damages, so no new hearing is required. Details of the deal are – as usual – not known, but what is known, according to The Hollywood Reporter, is that while damages have been agreed in principle, ReDigi is still rejecting the judge’s interpretation of the law, and therefore still plans to appeal.

We actually already knew that ReDigi was appealing, but it seems the appeals court put the case on hold pending the damages hearing. Therefore the settlement on that front enables the second stage of the case to now proceed.

Which is lovely. I wonder if anyone will remember MP3s and downloads by the time this case actually reaches its final conclusion?