redigilogoTechCrunch reports that digital music resale firm ReDigi, who I mentioned back in February, is actually launching its eMarketplace to allow people to buy and sell “pre-owned” digital music. ReDigi claims that it has consulted with lawyers and determined what it’s doing is legal, but I’m not so sure.

ReDigi hopes to succeed where others have failed by designing a marketplace that is not about file sharing, but is instead a method of “facilitating the legal transfer of music between two parties”. Really, the key here is that the startup’s technology is able to actually verify that a track was properly purchased (or acquired) by the person looking to resell, and manages items posted for sale within the sellers’ music libraries to prevent multiple copies from being auctioned. (Which should, in practice, protect the seller from copyright infringement.)

ReDigi deletes songs from your hard drive and associated music players after you sell them, holding them on its own servers until it passes them to whoever buys them. The firm claims it will be selling pre-owned digital songs “at a fraction of the price currently available on iTunes.”

As I’ve said before, I find it highly doubtful that the record labels will let ReDigi get away with this for very long. Content vendors tend to hate the used resale market with a fiery passion, and I can’t see them letting ReDigi come in and throw away the biggest advantage (from their perspective) of digital—that once sold, a digital item can never be resold without violating copyright.

Of course, if ReDigi is able to get away with this, expect similar resale services for used e-books to be right around the corner.


  1. I am finally glad someone is starting to do something about taking back the rights of people who have purchased content.

    It is a longstanding understood fact that when you purchase something then it is yours to do with as you will. This includes the right to resell or give the product to another person if you no longer have need of it.

    Eventually we are going to have to push congress and the courts to reestablish these rights for digital content. Special interests will sink tens of millions in preventing it from happening so we must be prepared to push congress in the only manner we can by using one of their favorite phrases…”By consent or by force you will comply.” Either work for the people or get your butts voted out and replaced by someone who will.

    There will be one side effect of this however, the price of digital products will go up to compensate for the secondary markets just like is built into traditional markets. This will result in secondary markets raising their prices as well resulting in less saving than you might expect with used content.

    Overall I approve of this idea and feel it will being digital content ownership rights more in line with traditional product ownership rights. We need to push this hard and not give an inch.

    Will be posting an article about this on my ebook & ereader related blog as well.

  2. This is now perfectly legal if buyer and seller both reside in a EU country. The recent EU ruling permits the resale of digital products (including downloads) but the seller is legally bound to remove the content from his hard drive after sale, and not keep copies. Difficult to police, I would have thought, but a step in the right direction.

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