I hadn’t followed this as closely as I’d planned (shocking I know), but the lawsuit that looked like it was on it’s way in that second post did end up getting filed near the beginning of 2012. In March of this year a ruling came down, and it wasn’t so great for Redigi.
Sullivan noted in his ruling that the doctrine does not apply to digital media because a digital music file is not the same as a material object, which can literally be handed over. Transferring digital media equates to making a digital copy (regardless if the “original” file is deleted), the judge said.
“The first sale doctrine does not protect ReDigi’s distribution of Capitol’s copyrighted works. This is because, as an unlawful reproduction, a digital music file sold on ReDigi is not lawfully made under this title,” he wrote.
“The court cannot of its own accord condone the wholesale application of the first sale defence to the digital sphere, particularly when Congress itself has declined to take that step,” Sullivan concluded.
This, with all due respect to Judge Sullivan, is silly. If you can buy a thing, then you should be able to sell a thing regardless of whether or not that thing is invisible. All this unlawful reproduction nonsense is just that, nonsense. The very nature of digital media requires a copy be made every time it moves from place to place. If you follow this through to it’s logical end, anyone who backs up anything digital he owns is a criminal because all but the copy on the server and the copy downloaded at the time of first sale are unlawful reproductions. This effectively means that even though we’ve made great strides in ridding ourselves of DRM infected music, we’re still legally obliged to act as though it’s alive and well.