The “First Sale” doctrine may cover digital purchases if ReDigi has its way.
CNET is reporting that U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan has denied EMI’s attempt to shut down ReDigi while the case goes to court. ReDigi is a Web site that allows users to sell the digital music on their computers.
Judge Sullivan, however, is allowing the case to continue because he is "fascinated" by the numerous technological and legal issues involved.
John Ossenmacher, ReDigi’s CEO, said that they are grateful for the judge’s decision in their favor. "ReDigi is breaking down the barriers that have kept consumers from enjoying their intrinsic and lawful ownership rights to their digital purchases."
For those who don’t know what ReDigi does, it scans a user’s hard drive to get a copy of the song the user wants to sell. It will then delete the file from the seller’s hard drive.
ReDigi claims that the “First Sale” doctrine applies to their business, just as it does to any physical goods.
The company claims that they discourage the illegal copying of music with a verification system, but they can’t guarantee that users back up their music before they sell it.
EMI claims that ReDigi violates copyright law to run their business. The process of making copies of the file off of a user’s hard drive constitutes as an unauthorized copy in their eyes. They say that they have no “First Sale” rights because they sell songs that have been illegally obtained.
EMI was displeased with the courts not issuing the injunction, but they are confident they will win the case.
This case has the potential to set a powerful precedent. If the judge rules in favor of ReDigi, expect numerous businesses to pop up that allow people to sell digital items including movies and games.