Recently, the Supreme Court opened a door that may have interesting effects on the music biz. The court ruled in favor of a student who was selling used textbooks on eBay, citing the “first sale” doctrine, which says that if you purchase a copyrighted item, you can sell it or “dispose” of it without the copyright owner’s permission.
People have been selling used CDs and LPs for years — there once was a thriving used record store industry supporting this. But given the expanded reach of this ruling, could this also apply to digital media?
A company called ReDigi is betting it can. ReDigi will buy your “used” MP3s and in turn you can buy “pre-owned” MP3s from them. There is a program where artists can register and receive a 20% “royalty” when their songs are resold. The service examines songs as they are uploaded to ensure that they are eligible for re-sale (meaning that they have some mechanism for assessing whether the songs were legally purchased or not). The company intends to offer similar services for other digital media in the future. (One would expect this would cover e-books and movies.)
Check out the ReDigi beta site for more information.
The full story was reported at NPR.