Digital ReDigi Timeline

ReDigi responds to Amazon patent that indicates digital resale plans

By | Published on Friday 8 February 2013


ReDigi, the sometimes controversial MP3 resale service, which is currently being sued for copyright infringement by EMI, has responded to a patent recently awarded to Amazon in the US for its digital-content-resale technology.

The start-up reckons that the Amazon patent shows that a legitimate resale market is definitely part of the future of digital content, though also suggests – albeit in a very non-committal fashion – that the etail giant’s digital resale approach could fall foul of copyright law in a way ReDigi’s proprietary technology could not.

Many in the record industry reckon that any platform that allows people to sell-on digital content files violates copyright law, even if the resale platform can verify that a file for sale was legitimately acquired and that the seller deletes their copy after sale (which ReDigi says it can). The EMI lawsuit will test whether provisions in American law that allow the resale of physical copies of copyright material can apply in the digital domain.

Amazon’s patent seems to suggest that the web giant is planning on moving into ReDigi’s territory. Responding to the patent, ReDigi said yesterday: “ReDigi believes the Amazon patent is further proof that the secondary market is the future of the digital space and that there is no turning back”.

But, keen to distinguish its service from what Amazon seems to have planned, the digital firm continued with the following statement…

“As ReDigi understands Amazon’s patent, it is for a marketplace that employs a seller to buyer ‘copy and delete’ mechanism, in which a user sells a ‘copy’ of a digital good to another user while both the buyer and seller simultaneously own the copy (even if only for an instant in time), and then supposedly the seller’s copy is subsequently ‘deleted’. ReDigi takes no position on the legality of this technique under copyright law, but simply notes that it has been central to the music and publishing industries’ skepticism and opposition to a ‘used’ digital marketplace, and that the ReDigi Marketplace does not use this technique”.

“ReDigi’s advanced technology employs a ‘Verification Engine’ and ‘Atomic Transaction’, resulting in a TRANSFER ONLY mechanism. This means that all digital goods are first verified to ensure that they are legally eligible for resale. Once verified, ReDigi’s technology transfers the ‘original’ good from the user’s computer to ReDigi’s Cloud (Marketplace). With ReDigi’s method, only the ‘original’ good is instantaneously/atomically transferred from seller to buyer without any copies. ReDigi then assists the seller with an anti-virus like software application that monitors the seller’s computer and synced devices to ensure that any personal-use copies of the sold good are removed”.

“To our knowledge Amazon has NEVER compensated artists, authors or copyright holders for the secondary sale of their goods, and they have sold billions of dollars worth of them. There is nothing in the Amazon patent that addresses this issue. In contrast, the ReDigi model frees up billions of dollars of locked up wealth. It enables the participation of all parties – from consumer to artist/author to copyright holder – in the profit chain”.