A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that users cannot legally resell songs they have purchased on iTunes. The case involved a lawsuit between Capitol Records and music startup ReDigi, who has a business model that revolves around owners reselling their digital music libraries.
ReDigi argued that ‘first-sale doctrine‘ should apply to digital purchases in addition to physical ones, but the court did not accept that argument. First-sale doctrine holds that individuals are able to sell their legally purchased books or CDs to other parties.
The court said in the ruling: “However, here, the Court cannot of its own accord condone the wholesale application of the first sale defense to the digital sphere, particularly when Congress itself has declined to take that step. Accordingly, and for the reasons stated above, the Court GRANTS Capitol’s motion for summary judgment on its claims for ReDigi’s direct, contributory, and vicarious infringement of its distribution and reproduction rights. The Court also DENIES ReDigi’s motion in its entirety.”
While the Judge granted partial summary judgement to Capitol Records, it also ordered both sides to submit a joint letter to the court by April 12, “concerning the next contemplated steps” in the case.