No, You Can’t Sell Your “Used” iTunes Songs Online



If you ever had hopes of cashing in your iTunes library to make ends meet, think again: a federal judge has declared reselling your MP3s online, saying the first sale doctrine is not applicable.

The ruling was handed down from a federal court in New York on Saturday, where the case of Capitol Records v. ReDigi was being heard.

ReDigi was a Boston-based startup that allowed you to “resell” your old iTunes songs online. It worked like this: you uploaded a song from your iTunes Library, which was then run through an algorithm, supposedly, to figure out if it was legally purchased. It was then deleted from your machine, and someone online could then “buy” that MP3 from you at a fraction of the price, at which point, the copy was deleted from ReDigi’s servers.

It’s a bit fishy, because of course, if you purchased the MP3 through iTunes, you could then just download it all over again. ReDigi said, however, that they were protected by the first sale doctrine, which allows consumers to resell goods they have purchased.

The judge in the case, however, said that the first sale doctrine doesn’t apply to digital goods, since a copy has to be made to transfer it online. Therefore, ReDigi wasn’t selling the MP3 that had actually been downloaded… it was selling a copy, which isn’t protected by first sale.

ReDigi can still appeal the decision.

Source: Ars Technica