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RIAA issues cease and desist on ReDigi

By | Published on Wednesday 16 November 2011


Well, this comes as no surprise. Download resale marketplace ReDigi has been served with a cease and desist order by the Recording Industry Association Of America.

As previously reported, ReDigi enables people to resell their MP3s. The US-based tech company claims its technology can verify whether the MP3 being sold is legit, and will then wipe it from the seller’s PC once it has been sold. The company also says that its service is simply a digital version of a CD resale website, and that the clause in US copyright law that allows the resale of CDs should also apply to digital. A similar service launched a few years back, called Bopaboo, quickly disappeared after complaints from copyright owners, but ReDigi insists that US copyright law is on its side.

But we never expected the RIAA to concur, and earlier this month the trade body sent the long anticipated cease and desist. With regards the clause in US copyright law, often called the “first sale doctrine”, which allows customers to resell their CDs, the RIAA says that only allows the resale of the actual copy of a recording a customer has bought, it does not give the customer permission to make additional copies.

By definition, if an MP3 is transferred from one computer to another a mechanical copy has to be made, even if, by the seller deleting the original file, the outcome is similar to the resale of a CD. So, basically, to have protection under the first sale doctrine, in the RIAA’s mind, a customer would have to sell the computer the track was originally downloaded to.

But ReDigi, which recently raised half a million in investment, remains convinced it is on the right side of copyright law. Which means there’s unlikely to be any ceasing or desisting here, which presumably means this whole matter will eventually end up in court. Good times.