ReDigi Says They’ll Sell Your Used MP3’s Legally

image from www.clean-energy-ideas.comStartup ReDigi will be opening "the world's first online marketplace to legally recycle, buy and sell, used digital music files" this summer. On the ReDigi Marketplace, music "owners" can "manage their music libraries by selling their unwanted digital music, or purchasing the music they do want, at drastically discounted prices".

Exactly how ReDigi will identify ownership or navigate the legal objections that labels have thrown at previous attempts (like Bopaboo) to resell digtal music is unclear; but there are a few hints:

"Being a group of computer geeks when someone tells us something can't be done, we immediately set a course to figure out how to do it," says the company's Larry Rudolph, a former member of the  MIT faculty. "There are many layers that go into ReDigi that make it work, legal and technical being just a few. Our team figured out what could be done to legally ensure that consumers regain the freedom to manage their own personal music collections."

In addition to unspecified technology that ReDigi says will satisfy rightsholders, the company is also "granting a portion of each sale to artists and record labels each and every time a track resells." 

A look at public portions of the site and an intro video show that at least some track sales on ReDigi will be in trade for credits that can be used to obtain other tracks rather than a cash transaction.

We've asked ReDigi for clarification of their business model, but in the meantime:

Do you think the re-sale of digital music files should be legal?

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  1. I’m not very confident in ReDigi’s ability to succeed, but the concept of secondhand digital sales is interesting nonetheless. It seems to address the larger matter of increasing the value of a digital product.
    Should it be legal? I think it could be. But since it’s basically an unlimited resource, the resale of a digital asset seems odd.

  2. “Being a group of computer geeks when someone tells us something can’t be done, we immediately set a course to figure out how to do it, [instead of sitting down and asking ourselves why people are saying it cannot be done.]”
    It’s not a technological issue, but human nature and associated legal stuff. You cannot solve it with any amount of computer geekery. For starters, resale means giving up ownership to the buyer. How exactly do they intend to check that, I wonder?
    The best they can realistically do is create a marketplace for user-provided music files that are somehow identified so the rightsholders can get a cut of the dough (good luck getting them on board, though). Call it “authorised, paid P2P”. Saying that this will be a way to sell used music files is a bad joke.

  3. Should it be, Hell yeah! Can it be? Good luck to Mr. Rudolph, but I can’t imagine how.
    Once you separate music from physical media you no longer have consumer “ownership” of anything.
    A legal music download is generally issued as “personal license to use,” and I believe that by its terms, is non-transferable.
    Copyright law in software cases has taught us that violation of a software license equals copyright infringement (period)
    I hope that ReDigi is not relying on Charles Nessen, or any of the lawyers who advised Hummer Winblad that Napster was OK.

  4. “Sure I’ll sell you some water!”. Goes over to the tap and fills a bottle up….
    This is the strangest joke I’ve ever seen. How the Hell can someone tell the difference between a used digital file and a non-used digital file? I guess this company wants to make it their business to do so? Why would ANYONE use this service when they can get the EXACT same thing on a hundred different torrent sites for free? This whole thing smells like a gimmick.
    Free album download at http://www.facebook.com/chancius

  5. If a digital music file cannot be re-sold, then it would seem that it was never really sold in the first place: it would seem that the purchaser does not have a clear title. IANAL, of course.
    Semi-rhetorical question:
    What is the legal status of the digital music collection of a deceased person? Before long we’ll have people kicking off who have plunged thousands of dollars into authorized digital downloads. Maybe the surviving spouse doesn’t care for music and just wants to liquidate the whole lot.

  6. Wallow-T, et al – Actually some labels – particularly I believe Sony BMG with Amazon and others sell under what is called “the agency model” which means that you are in essence “renting” the music.
    So in truth you often don’t “own” the music you paid for.
    I don’t believe that anyone has ever challenges that in court or otherwise.
    Do any readers know more?

  7. Huh?? I can rip Mp3’s from a CD…. Are you going to have to provide an itunes receipt or something?

  8. I don’t want any music, but I’ll take an oz of whatever it is you’ve been smoking. That shit must make your MIT-asses retarded. Hook a brother up.

  9. I truly agree here with Faza. Being creative and initiative is one thing and is always a blessed virtue. The other thing is the never-ending and complicated issue of copy rights and such. I wish them best and hope they will manage to tackle it in an appropriate manner.

  10. “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” – Edmund Burke
    Firstly, these putzes can’t even properly do a trademark search. Redigi is the name of some Palm OS software from the 90’s.
    Secondly – there aren’t serious technical challenges here, and let’s assume that the entirely clueless Mr. Rudolph’s company doesn’t get sued by either the majors or the music publishers (which they surely will). But there’s one important thing missing here:
    Where is this tidal wave of consumers who want to resell MP3 files? Nobody gives a shit. I feel sorry for whoever their angels are – they should donate their money to cat shelters, they’d get a better ROI. There is little or no perceived value to digital files when sold as new, never mind as a used good.
    This is an idea that Michael Robertson would have suggested in 1998 and dropped by 1999. And as mentioned above, Bopaboo already tried it with the help of TAG Strategic and got nowhere.

  11. ReDigi, Is it legal? Yes!
    Consumers’ rights in the digital music market: ReDigi is launching a “Recycled Digital Media” or used music marketplace (ReDigi.com) where owners of digital music can sell and purchase digital music files. We have done extensive research and have spent many hours with well respected law firms in Boston, NYC and LA. We strongly believe that this marketplace will provide and protect the rights of consumers as they were provided for under US copyright act and the first sale doctrine. Just because things have gone digital doesn’t mean that people have given up their hard fought for rights, each individual has the right to sell their legally purchased digital goods. The ReDigi marketplace is NOT about file sharing, it is a method of facilitating the legal transfer of music between two parties. The ReDigi approach is novel, it verifies that the track was properly acquired, manages items selected for sale within the sellers music libraries to prevent multiple copies (protecting the seller from copyright infringement), and facilitates an even greater level of copyright protection than the previous CD market. Even just a few years ago technology did not support a readily viable solution. ReDigi has made it a reality for the millions of music users and the billions of legally downloaded tracks that exist in the world today.
    ReDigi supports the music industry. We love them and need them! Music is good for the soul – what would life be like without it. The music industry has been severely damaged, as theft and file-sharing has become the norm. ReDigi provides a low cost alternative marketplace, where the Labels, Artists, and Consumers can share in the profits. ReDigi allows consumers to do what they have been legally entitled to do for over 100 years, resell music under the first sale doctrine. ReDigi supports the sale of new digital music from legal sites; the more consumers legally purchase the greater the available market for used music.

  12. Oh for those interested – we do own the trademark for ReDigi! We have worked with the most amazing lawyers to protect the company and our consumers!

  13. I’m not sure what the market is for such an exchange, but it’s not without precedent. In software, you may transfer your license to a 3rd party by notifying the owner of your intent in writing. They transfer the license to the new owner and you either destroy your digital copy or they disable your copy.
    A consumer use might be to sell their legal mp3 when they join a streaming app. Or they want to move from one device to another and want to move their legally purchased music, videos and apps to the new device. Apple might not want to deal with it, but Android or Microsoft marketplaces might have something to gain.
    In any case, only a small subset of the music, video, and app market could be eligible – those with digital signatures that can be tracked back to a database somewhere. Ripped, stolen, or otherwise unmarked mp3s, CDs or DVDs, wouldn’t have a transaction to trace.
    I wouldn’t freak out about the model, and it’s not clear how ReDigi would profit from transferring a $.12 Annie Street single to a new owner, or whether there would even be a buyer for each song.

  14. Sounds almost too good to be true. So by illegally downloading mp3’s, artists, labels AND the downloader will get paid? And I can pay the artists/labels prices I can actually afford, instead of paying them nothing? It sounds amazing. I think it will bring in more income for artists/labels than it loses. The only way this wouldn’t work out is if the RIAA stops it before testing out its benefits. But they would never do something completely closed minded and out of touch, right?

  15. Even if Redigi is “legal”, it’s not ethical. When you re-sell your physical CD or LP, you give it up. Not so with an mp3 … you still keep it.
    So how does this renumerate the artist? Redigi should be ashamed and not poke their heads into industry sites like this – they have nothing to add.
    What BS. This is a scam at best.

  16. Their legal counsel is Nutter McClennen and Fish and they have a solid legal basis for what they are doing.

  17. “granting a portion of each sale to artists and record labels each and every time a track resells.”
    In the music business we don’t grant, we license whether it’s mechanical or performance rights; So, this has nothing to do with technology –it a legal issue and the answer is NO.

  18. Seems like a very broad trademark?
    Goods and Services IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Computer application software for mobile phones and personal digital assistants, namely, software for internet-based social networking, for provision of entertainment services for audience participation at music and other entertainment events, and for merchandizing in connection with music and other entertainment events; mobile phones and personal digital assistants
    IC 035. US 100 101 102. G & S: Customer loyalty services for commercial, promotional and/or advertising purposes; promotion of music events and other entertainment events of others; Consignment services, namely, retail consignment stores featuring digital music, electronic games, and other digital content; Publishing of advertising and marketing texts relating to the music, electronic gaming literary publishing industries, and digital content industries; Incentive award programs to promote the sale of products and services of others, namely, providing incentive awards for use of clearinghouse for purchases of goods of others; Publishing of advertising and marketing texts of others relating to the music, electronic gaming, literary, publishing, and digital content industries
    IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Providing an internet website portal in the field of music, electronic gaming, literary publishing, digital content publishing and distribution of music, electronic games, literary works and digital content; On-line entertainment ticket agency services for music events and other entertainment events of others; Provision of entertainment services for audience participation at music and other entertainment events, namely live musical performances, organization of sports competitions and exhibitions
    IC 042. US 100 101. G & S: Providing a service that enables users to transfer ownership of digital music, electronic games, digital books in the nature of electronic books and other digital content, namely, providing a website featuring technology enabling users to upload and download electronic files
    IC 045. US 100 101. G & S: On-line social networking services in the fields of music and other entertainment events; Internet-based social networking services

  19. The issue is both legal and technological:
    I don’t understand why an MP3 should be considered a license. Its origins may come from a license, but in essence, an MP3 itself is a phonorecord. It is property just like a CD or a vinyl record and should be transferable. This, of course, is the legal part of the debate.
    The fact that one might sell the original mp3 and retain a copy for himself is exactly what people do with CDs and vinyls too. Every CD i have ever owned, I rip it to my iTunes, and the original, well, I can do whatever I want with it (including sell it). The idea is the same for vinyl: if I had a digital version of that amazing vinyl sound, nostalgia would be the only thing keeping me from selling that record.
    And finally,
    As long as ReDigi can differentiate between the original MP3 from the digital retailer I bought it from and a copy (of any kind), I see no problem with the resale. This is where technology enters the debate and whether there’s a way to check an MP3’s provenance.

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