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Capitol Records, LLC v. ReDigi Inc.
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
Citations No. 12-0095, 2012 U.S. Dist
Judge sitting Richard J. Sullivan
Copyright, Copyright infringement, Fair use

Capitol Records, LLC v. ReDigi Inc. is an ongoing 2012 case from the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York concerning copyright infringement of digital music. In the case, record label Capitol Records claims copyright infringement against ReDigi, which allows resale of digital music tracks originally purchased from the iTunes Store.[1] Capitol Records was denied the motion for a preliminary injunction against ReDigi's business,[2] and the case is moving towards a trial.[3] This case brings up the question of whether digital music purchases are considered licenses or sales, such that the first-sale doctrine and fair use could come into effect. Of note is Judge Sullivan's denial of Google and Public Knowledge's attempts to file amicus curiae briefs based on the opinion that the parties are fully capable of raising the issues mentioned in the information briefs themselves as part of their arguments.[4][5]


ReDigi is an online service that allows online storage and streaming of music files that are verified to be legally obtained. Users can also buy and sell such files between other users of the service. ReDigi claims that their featured Atomic Transaction allows the transfer of music files between users without having to copy the file, thus circumventing copyright issues.[6]


Capitol Records claims that copies of music files will be made during the initial transmission to ReDigi servers, and during the transactions between users, therefore infringing copyright, and claims $150,000 of damages per infringement.[7]


ReDigi argues that the initial transmission of the music files to the servers is protected by the essential step defense, and that the transactions trigger modifications to the files, such that the file on the server is modified in-place, rather than copied, to be reassigned to the purchasing user.[8][9]

Preliminary Injunction[edit]

On 27 January 2012, Capitol Records filed a motion for preliminary injunction against ReDigi, mainly claiming irreparable harm.[10] ReDigi pointed out in its defense that its transaction records are detailed enough for damages calculations, down playing Capitol Records' claimed burden and irreparable harm.[11]

On 6 February 2012, Judge Sullivan denied Capitol Records' motion for preliminary injunction, allowing ReDigi to continue its online services.[2][12] The preliminary injunction was denied based on the opinion that the case only involved monetary damages, and that irreparable harm was not shown to warrant such an injunction because ReDigi kept careful records of all transactions for damages to be easily calculated if the plaintiff prevailed in the final decision of the case.[11][13]

Subsequent developments[edit]

Within a week after the preliminary injunction was declined, Rdio, provider of album art and sound snippets for ReDigi, and licensee of Capitol Records, abruptly stopped providing ReDigi with those contents. It was seen by ReDigi as Capitol Records' attempt to cripple ReDigi's services. ReDigi then turned to YouTube for sound snippets.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Peckham, Matt (26 June 2012). "ReDigi Lets You Resell Used Digital Music, but Is It Legal?". Time. Retrieved 14 October 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Order Denying Preliminary Injunction" (PDF). 2012-02-06. 
  3. ^ "Plan and Scheduling Order" (PDF). 2012-04-30. 
  4. ^ "Order Denying Google" (PDF). 2012-02-01. 
  5. ^ "Order Denying Public Knowledge" (PDF). 2012-07-30. 
  6. ^ Sisario, Ben (12 November 2011). "Site to Resell Music Files Has Critics". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 October 2012. 
  7. ^ "Complaint" (PDF). 2012-01-06. 
  8. ^ "Answer" (PDF). 2012-01-19. 
  9. ^ Lasar, Matthew (22 January 2012). "Selling used iTunes tracks? ReDigi insists it's legal". Ars Technica. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  10. ^ "Plaintiff's Motion for a Preliminary Injunction" (PDF). 2012-01-27. 
  11. ^ a b "Opposition to Motion for a Preliminary Injunction" (PDF). 2012-01-27. 
  12. ^ Kravets, David (7 February 2012). "Judge Refuses to Shut Down Online Market for Used MP3s". Wired. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  13. ^ "Transcript" (PDF). 2012-02-06. 
  14. ^ Kravets, David (15 February 2012). "MP3 Reseller Accuses Capitol Records of Sabotage". Wired. Retrieved 14 October 2012. 

External links[edit]