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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Apr 26, 2013

A court ruling has deemed the resale of digital media such as MP3s and video files in violation of U.S. copyright law.

In a lawsuit between Universal Music Group’s Capitol Records and online music retailer ReDigi, U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan has ruled that reselling songs bought on iTunes, Amazon, or other digital music retailers is characterized as copyright infringement.

Sullivan found that ReDigi’s platform violates the Copyright Act of 1976, because transferring a file from one computer to another is technically a form of duplication, even if in the end there is only one version of the file.

This is the second time that ReDigi and Capitol Records have squabbled over copyright infringement. In the first court case Sullivan ruled in favor of ReDigi and refused Capitol Records injunction to shut down ReDigi.  This time however, Sullivan ruled in Capitol Records favor and ReDigi faces paying the record label as much as $150,000 per infringement.

ReDigi was founded in 2011 and provides software for users to upload their MP3s to a cloud-based storage system.  From the storage system users can sell their digital songs to other users. ReDigi asserts that the files that users upload are obtained legally and it automatically searches sellers’ systems to ensure they aren’t keeping copies for themselves.

Sullivan compared this system to the process of recording a vinyl record onto a cassette tape, which is also a form of copyright infringement, albeit a dated one. Jusge Sullivan also affirmed that digital media can only be resold if permission is granted by the copyright owner.

Despite this ruling the court case is not over, both Capitol Records and ReDigi are to file a joint letter to the court by April 12 with their expectations of what the next steps in the case should be.