Do you own your iTunes files? RIAA says no

Credit: flickr/theogeo

Since a 1908 Supreme Court decision, Americans have been allowed to sell copyrighted works they obtained legally, ie; buy a book, sell the book later. But the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) says you can't resell your iTunes files.

This comes up with the RIAA's suit against a small company named ReDigi that appeared last month. ReDigi claims they have a patent-pending method of reading digital file signatures to verify a legit iTunes file. Through their service, users can sell the file, and ReDigi also deletes it from their hard drive. Just as you can buy a CD then resell that CD, you can buy a virtual CD and resell that virtual CD.

Enter the lawyers from the RIAA and a cease-and-desist order claiming ReDigi makes a copy of a copyrighted work without permission. That may be true, since ReDigi stores and verifies the file on their servers before deleting it from the seller. While ReDigi seems on the up and up, and can tell the difference between tracks purchased through iTunes and those ripped and downloaded elsewhere, the details may get them. Of course, ReDigi could outright buy our used iTunes files, take ownership, then transfer them. Would that satisfy the recording industry lawyers?

Won't work

The RIAA is, shock/horror, right in this case. First Sale Doctrine is not a free pass to make copies of digital media.

feralchimp on

Note: I have nothing but disdain for the RIAA and the companies that it represents but the sense of entitlement that many web users have that they have a right to download whatever they want only lends credibility and support to the RIAA/

nonseq on

This service is ridiculous and I'm embarrassed that they raised nearly as much funding as we did for it. Who on earth didn't see this coming?

earbitscom on

It is not possible for this service to work. The only way is for the original seller (iTunes, Amazon, etc) to have complete control over the file by keeping it on their servers and stream it to any device the buyer has their account linked to.

Tony Watson on

the RIAA's ownership vs licence vs access debate is BS, and they never even stick to it.

The RIAA needs to change course soon, because unlike the book and movie industries, I can easily imagine a future without a music industry at all.

larrik on


used game sales -- to specifically take on the parent's example -- are legal, much to the consternation of the game industry. The fact that they're legal is what prompted the development of online activation systems: to make an end-run around the resellers.

reissbaker on

But if I can identify the original file given to me by iTunes, in the same sense that I can identify the CD, why can't I sell that original?

jasonlotito on

Arr, mateys

Leave it to the RIAA to make me want to pirate even more.

KlanD on

Is just unfair with the artist, but I dare RIAA stop me from download whatever music I want!

Murkalael on

I think that in 100 years, we'll all look back at this time period of intellectual property hoarding as something akin to the dark ages.

bradleyland on

so if I purchase a song with iTunes and I then re-fragment my hard drive, does that means I have an illegal copy of the song now?

Gustavo on
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