The Legality Of "Used" MP3 Sales Is Headed To Court

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Carlidan

This is going to be dozy.

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bling581

This one I kind of have to agree with the music companies. All you have to do is backup your songs on an external source, sell your songs, and then put them back on your hard drive. Even if it deletes them off your hard drive you can still have them on your iPod and nobody would know. Then just transfer purchases and they're back on your computer.

Of course the same can be said with music CD's, but it's a little more of a hassle because you need to buy physical media and have software that can copy the tracks from the disc. When you go into a used CD shop it's clear that you're buying a legit copy of the disc.

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neo1piv14

Everyone's computer already comes with software that will rip CD's to their hard drive. It's not all that difficult when one of the Autoplay options when you put in a disc is to rip it to your hard drive. This could be a fairly important case because this case will actually assign real value to the 1's and 0's on your hard drive.

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Up Early

The record companies want to have their cake and eat it too. They sell you a digital file that cost literally NOTHING to mass produce and sell them at a buck a song! Then they want to have complete control of something that isn’t even a tangible item. For instance, having complete control over how many devices I can play this file on. Boo Hoo. If they are so concerned about rampant copying of music files, encrypt them so it would be impossible to copy. Of course, they won't do that.... music files that can't be copied or backed up would never sell. They want to take the easy way out and let lawyers do the dirty work.

Book publishers are media purveyors just like record companies. I can't recall the source, but I've read that book publishers want a bill passed that would make it illegal for you to sell a book you have purchased and read. You would have to sell it to a licensed "book dealer" who would give you a small amount for the book and THEY would resell the book to the general public and give a perecentage back to the publisher. This idea was concieved under the notion that you "don't really own" the contents of the book.
It sounds like I'm getting off-track, but just where do your rights as OWNER begin and end? An automobile incorporates protected technologies in it's manufacture, does that mean you don't have the right to directly resell it when you no longer want it??

Back in the day, I had a recording machine that made 8 tracks. My friends and I used to copy all our albums and play the tapes in our cars. Legal? No, but in the end we BOUGHT EVEN MORE albums because the usage was so flexable! And I don't think we put Atlantic or anyone else out of business in the meanwhile.

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Scatter

Here's the problems with this to me;

There's really no way for any service like this to ever ensue that the original MP3 is deleted. Why couldn't a person simply copy the original to a flash drive or any the drive and then sell the MP# on their primary drive?

Why couldn't a person repeatedly do this and sell copies of the same file 1000 times?

Digital products aren't the same as physical products and can't be treated as if they're the same. IMO I don't think that selling used MP3s can be controlled since files are so easily copied.

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Noshei

That's really no different than taking a CD and making a 1000 copies to sell at a local flee market. If you know how you can even make the copies look exactly like the original.

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bling581

"That's really no different than taking a CD and making a 1000 copies to sell at a local flee market. If you know how you can even make the copies look exactly like the original."

Not really true. When you buy a used CD you know you're getting a legit product that was purchased in a store. But yes, you can copy physical media just as easy as digital tracks.

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Biceps

There is actually a major difference. When you copy a CD, particularly if you have to go to the trouble of making the CD virtually indistinguishable from an original, you need to (1) pay for the disc, and (2) have relatively expensive equipment to print right on the disc... not just crappy paper labels.

In contrast, copying an mp3 has comparatively zero cost, and you don't need to take the time to go to target to pick up ink and discs 5 times a day.

The idea of selling used goods that have no real per-unit cost of production is problematic if those goods can also be counterfeited at zero cost.

This will indeed be an interesting court case.

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steevonson

I'm hoping that things like this will spur the larger conversation of "what is digital ownership?". As it stands currently the markup is the same but the functionality is much more removed from the physical media. This must stop.

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bling581

"I'm hoping that things like this will spur the larger conversation of "what is digital ownership?". As it stands currently the markup is the same but the functionality is much more removed from the physical media. This must stop."

This is becoming the case with anything digital these days or that is connected to the internet. Companies feel that because they can remotely access your products that you don't own them and they can do whatever they want, such as limit you to how many times you can use it. Some game devs only allow you to install games X number of times before you have to repurchase the game. The whole issue with the PS3 is a good example. They release a product advertising certain features, then remove those features after you paid for it without your consent.

The whole thing is becoming ridiculous and is starting to go too far.

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Biceps

I think this is why the judge found it so 'fascinating'. I agree with you, and am curious to see where it goes.

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someuid

Of course EMI is blowing smoke. They know the file isn't illegal. If it was, restoring your music collection from a backup would make your entire music collection illegal.

And as for ReDigi, of course the whole process can be circumvented. The only way to keep that from happening would be to make the ReDigi app part of your OS, having it scan regularly to make sure you didn't restore to the music files. And even that can be worked around.

The saddest part here is the failure of the music lables to embrace digital music. They could have set up their own stores, and allowed people to resell or return tracks for a credit. They could have all gotten together, offered a single music player/syncer, and each required a plugin to check now and then for songs that were traded in and the user tried to restore from backup.

Heck, if you could redownload your songs due to a hardward or software failure (like steam) no one would bother with a backup to begin with!

My god, they could be rolling in cash if they'd just hired some programmers to institute this. But no, they have to keep firing their guns at anything that moves, blasting away, crying that people aren't still buying a dozen albums a week.

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FrancesTheMute

Well said. The Movie/Music/TV industries are filled with some of the greediest people ever (Hollywood accounting, anyone?). Yet it boggles my mind that these same greedy executives can sit there and look at the internet and just completely fail to see the money-making potential staring them in the face.

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pedersen1990

110% agree with you. I can't say it better.

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Hey.That_Dude

Yeah. IDK if i want to buy a copy of someone else's music. Like could I tell the difference between if i'm buying an MP3 or FLAC. With a CD you know what you get and you know it hasn't been tampered with... too much.

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nsvander

"EMI claims that First Sale doesn't apply here because ReDigi isn't selling the original music file, but what EMI asserts is an illegal copy of the original file."

Then the same could also be said about all the other sites that sell music, it's technically just a copy of the file that you are getting. The only thing that makes it legal is because the record companies are getting a kick back from the sale. With this type of resale they are not getting a kick back, and well as we all know, all they care about is money.

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Hey.That_Dude

+1
Yeah, when's that last time the record company gave you all 2GB+ of all the uncompressed tracks in each song. YES Tracks, as in the mono/stereo voice track + background + instrumentals.. etc.
When the record companies sell that then i might just defend them... a little.

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pedersen1990

Wonder how it works when they "Dig through your hard drive". If its a browse... option it is wayyy to easy to copy the mp3 (even name it something else) to keep it or keep a copy on an external or even another computer. It's also tough to prove that the copy you are selling "used" is a legit copy and not one torrented or p2p downloaded.

It is different because at the store because in a store we cannot take that cd and make a duplicate using a local computer there but with digital media it's so easy. This one will have to be handled with extreme care and probably VERY specific rules that have to be followed.

I could see Itunes implementing something like this. It'd have to probably deal with only the songs you have bought through Itunes and it would delete your song within your itunes folder. Only hiccup again is if the song is copied. Itunes however could implement if the song is still there or on your device to not allow you to play it unless you buy it again. This would be a huge thing for them to do though.

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Brad Chacos

Hey Pederson 1990,

ReDigi admitted as much to CNET. From the linked-to article:

Ossenmacher (ReDigi's boss) has said the company discourages the illegal copying of music with a verification system, but he has also conceded that there's no way for ReDigi to guarantee that users who resell music through his service haven't made copies of their songs and stored them on some other hard drive.

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pedersen1990

If that is the case though, how would it ever pass through court?

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Logun

The same way that there is no way to verify you haven't copied a tape a ripped a CD prior to re-selling that as well...

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pedersen1990

A physical cd and digital cd can't be looked at in the exact same sense though because they're complete different ways of obtaining them. The idea of the person owning and copying them is the same, yes.

Look at the physical way vs. the digital way. Torrenting or p2p downloading a song is much easier than stealing a cd from a store. If you keep going to the same exact store and stealing a cd every day you're bound to get caught, even if you make rounds from store to store. They have security cameras and someone watching you. Digitally there is someone watching you, but that's easily bypassed.

If you were able to put a piece of cardboard infront of the security cameras at a store and then take the cd and walk away...that's a lot closer to a digital steal.

Endpoint is there's a lot less evidence against you digitally vs physically so there's bound to be many more people willing to do this digitally.

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