Redigi, a website that lets people sell second-hand music files, is being taken to court by Capitol Records
A US court is to rule on whether people can sell music bought on iTunes that they no longer want, in a case that could have major repercussions for UK music fans.
Capitol Records claims a US-based website that allows people to sell unwanted music purchased through iTunes is operating illegally. Redigi, the website at the centre of the claim, says it isn't doing anything wrong.
Capitol argued that the website is in violation of the US Copyright Act.
In court papers filed in January, Capitol said that Redigi could only make money through "the unauthorised reproduction and distribution of copyrighted sound recordings."
Redigi said that its technology worked by moving the file from one computer to another and that it was never copied.
Capitol is one of the world's largest record labels, representing artists such as The Beatles, Coldplay, Depeche Mode and Iron Maiden. The company is seeking $150,000 for every track sold that infringed its copyright.
Even though the case is being heard in the US, its impact on people's right to resell legally downloaded software, films and music should not be understated.
Iain Connor, an intellectual property partner at law firm Pinsent Masons said that Redigi could be allowed to operate under UK law.
He said: "If this case was heard in the UK, Redigi would make their case on the basis that their business of re-selling MP3 files is exactly the same from a legal stand point as the resale of used software."
Connor said that a recent case in the European Court between software giant Oracle and Used Soft, a company that sells second hand software licenses, could be applicable to Redigi.
"MP3 music files are comparable to Oracle software because on first sale, buyers are given an unlimited, perpetual licence to play the music in exchange for a one-off fully paid fixed fee," he explained. "Under UK law, applying the Used Soft principles, Redigi would be allowed to continue to operate."
If Redigi is successful in its defence it could represent a major change in attitudes towards reselling downloaded music, software and films.
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