Resale of digital music files breaches copyright

A US court has declared the resale of used digital music files to be illegal on the grounds that it breaches copyright law.

Resale of digital music files breaches copyright ©-Thomas-Jansa-Fotolia

Resale of digital music files breaches copyright ©-Thomas-Jansa-Fotolia

Resale of digitial music files

The case concerned an internet platform called Redigi which offers users the possibility to resell digital music files they purchased on iTunes. Capitol Records brought a claim on copyright grounds to prevent Redigi from offering the service.

Copyright infringement

The New York court held that the first sale doctrine, which permits owners of copies of books and music to lawfully sell those products, did not apply to the current case. This is because the process of reselling digital music files involves making a copy of the music within the definition of the US Copyright Act.

The court reasoned that as a copyright holder has exclusive reproduction rights under the Act and here a copy of the file is made, the resale of digital music files amounts to a copyright infringement.

Christian Solmecke is a partner at the law firm WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE. He is the author of numerous legal publications in the area of internet and IT law. He is also an associate lecturer for social media law at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

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