A Judge of the US District Court, Southern District of New York ruled that reselling MP3s online is illegal. It violates copyright. The ruling says that courts have consistently held that the unauthorized duplication of digital music files over the internet infringes a copyright owner’s exclusive right to reproduce. It also mentions that courts have not previously addressed the situation where the digital music file is being transferred unauthorized, but only one file exists before and after the transfer, whether or not that constitutes reproduction with the meaning of the Copyright Act. The court rules that it does, hence declaring that it is illegal to resell MP3s online.

The ruling results in a victory for Capitol Records which had brought a suit against ReDigi. ReDigi is a website that lets its users resell copies of their legally owned MP3s. The suit was brought last year, ReDigi wanted to have it dismissed under the “first sale” doctrine. The doctrine states that copyright on physical goods only applies for the first time it is sold to the first customer, it does not apply if it is sold by the first customer to subsequent customers. ReDigi can be in more trouble as the court is yet to award compensation to Capitol Records.

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