The “Used” Digital Music Case

You can sell your used records, books, and other copies of creative works without needing permission from the copyright owner of those works. This is the “first sale” doctrine (17 U.S.C. §109), and has been the law of the land for over a century. In the Internet age, songs and other works are bought and distributed digitally, and may never exist in a traditional physical form like a CD or cassette tape. Does the first sale doctrine still exist for digital works? Capitol Records, LLC v. ReDigi Inc., 934 F. Supp. 2d 640 (S.D.N.Y. 2013) takes a look at the issue, and explores the cutting edge of the first sale doctrine.

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