A New York judge will today hear the opening arguments in the lawsuit between EMI and ReDigi. The music giant is suing the upstart startup, which makes its money flogging people’s unwanted MP3s to loving homes, for copyright infringement. The year-old upstart, however, claims that its software legally complies with U.S. copyright laws. With technology companies looking on eagerly, the result will not only set a precedent in U.S. law but may transform the industry.
EMI’s argument is that the first sale doctrine does not apply to digital music as it does to CDs or books, as it is impossible to guarantee that all copies of an MP3 have been deleted. ReDigi’s CEO sees it as giving power to consumers. “Most lawful users of music and books have hundreds of dollars of lawfully obtained things on their computers and right now the value of that is zero dollars,” he said. “ReDigi takes zero dollars and we create billions of dollars in wealth overnight.”