Against all the odds, ReDigi is still online. Set up to allow music fans to resell their MP3s, in the same way you might sell a CD on Amazon Marketplace, the site, which launched at the beginning of the year, has now entered public beta.
Says the site’s CEO, John Ossenmacher: “ReDigi’s technology signifies an important transition in the digital space, beyond the scope of what anyone thought was possible. By allowing consumers to sell their used digital music, we are giving digital goods a resale value for the first time ever and opening a new realm of what is possible in the digital age”.
Of course, it’s not actually the first time someone has tried this. Previously a site called Bopaboo launched, which allowed users to sell MP3s, but only if they promised they’d definitely delete the original file from their computer afterwards. It didn’t go down very well with music industry lawyers and disappeared offline before it could properly launch.
ReDigi, however, has always maintained that its proprietary software and business model keeps the company and its users completely within the law. The company’s CTO Larry Rudolph said earlier this year: “The technological development of the ReDigi Music Agent passes copyright and first-sale doctrine tests that have stopped other companies from legally being able to do this previously. If you have bought it, you are allowed to sell it. Also, you are allowed to buy something that someone else legally can sell. ReDigi is the technology used for this transaction. It verifies the legal origin, a seller’s right under the first sale doctrine and allows a user to resell a file that is verifiably his or hers to sell”.
In the latest press release, he adds: “It is a bit like CSI: ReDigi. In addition to the obvious, there are many subtle clues that determine resale eligibility of each track. We are extremely cautious and our technology is incredibly thorough in determining the eligibility of a music file. Ineligible tracks are simply returned to the user’s library, no questions asked”.
If users are worried about buying a dodgy track, they can also opt to buy a brand new copy from ReDigi’s store. Sellers are also rewarded with ReDigi credits, which can only be used within the ReDigi store.
Even if the music companies let this one lie, or it turns out ReDigi’s interpretation of copyright law is right (in the US at least) and there’s nothing the labels can do to stop the service, it’s still not clear that this sort of platform would have much chance of gaining momentum. But we shall see. Check it out for yourself at www.redigi.com.