Copyright

Redigi - World's First Used Digital Marketplace - Fails "First Sale" at Second Circuit

I first posted on Capitol Records v. Redigi in March 2012 (Redigi Case Poses A Novel Copyright Question on the Resale of Digital Audio Files – Is “Digital First Sale Legal? Link), and posted a number of follow-up articles on this interesting case. Absent an appeal to the Supreme Court this long-running copyright case has finally come to an end with the Second Circuit’s December 12, 2018 decision holding that Redigi infringed the exclusive copyright right of reproduction with respect to the “second-hand” digital music files it sold via the Redigi system.

To understand this case it’s important to appreciate how Redigi’s system works. I explained this in detail in the post linked above, and the Second Circuit opinion describes it quite thoroughly as well. In short, Redigi acts as a broker for music files purchased and downloaded from iTunes. Redigi uploads a seller’s  music file to its own server and offers it for sale, deleting it from the seller’s computer, although the seller can continue to stream the file until it is sold.… Read the full article

An Introduction to the Music Modernization Act

by Lee Gesmer on December 13, 2018

An Introduction to the Music Modernization Act

Every few decades Congress enacts a major amendment to the U.S. Copyright Act. We are at one of those inflection points now. On October 11, 2018 the Orrin G. Hatch–Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (the “MMA”) was signed into law. (click here for full text of the law)

This is a massive, game-changing law for digital music distribution, and it may take years for it to be fully integrated with the complex U.S. music copyright system. But, if you’re at a holiday party this season and someone insists on discussing the MMA with you, this blog post will give you a few talking points.

From a 40,000 foot level the MMA does three things.

First, and most importantly, it completely revamps the U.S. mechanical licensing system for interactive digital streaming services and digital downloads by shifting the burden of identifying composers from the services to the composers themselves. This is a huge benefit to the digital music services, who in the pre-MMA era were responsible for locating composers entitled to royalties but often failed to do so, creating an enormous potential liability for copyright infringement.… Read the full article

Led Zeppelin, Spirit and a Bustle at the Ninth Circuit

Update to this post: Copyright Office Backs Led Zeppelin In Ninth Circuit En Banc Appeal (link)

The U.S. copyright community will look back on 2018 as an important year for music copyright law. Appellate decisions in music copyright cases are rare. However, this year we’ve seen two important opinions from the Ninth Circuit. In March the Ninth Circuit upheld a jury verdict that found that Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke’s 2012 recording of “Blurred Lines” infringes Marvin Gaye’s 1976 composition of “Got To Give It Up” (see my blog post, “Blurred Lines at the Ninth Circuit,” here).

Now, in October, the Ninth Circuit has issued an opinion in Randy Wolfe’s copyright case against Led Zeppelin. The jury in that case found that Led Zeppelin’s 1971 recording of Stairway to Heaven did not infringe Wolfe’s composition copyright in the 1968 song Taurus (recorded by Spirit). … Read the full article

Disney v. Redbox, Redux

by Lee Gesmer on September 28, 2018

Disney v. Redbox, Redux

Can Disney prevent a commercial business – in this case Redbox – from reselling Disney’s movie download codes?

At first the answer was “no.”

My earlier post on this case* highlighted the California federal district court’s February 2018 opinion concluding that the language on Disney’s box-top packages failed to create a contract that would prevent Redbox from purchasing and reselling Disney movie download codes. However, I predicted that “Likely, in the future Disney will correct its ‘box-top license’ to make it legally enforceable . ..”

*To get the background facts of this case please read the initial post

Disney did just that when it released its Black Panther combo packs. Disney’s new packaging states that “Digital code redemption requires prior acceptance of licence terms and conditions. Codes only for personal use by recipient of this combination package or family member.” A warning elsewhere on the package states that “The digital code contained in this package may not be sold separately and may be redeemed only by the recipient of this combination package or a family member.… Read the full article