ReDigi is Ridiculous

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

I was reading an article about ReDigi, a company that wants to answer ridiculous interpretations of the First-sale Doctrine as it pertains to digital goods with marketing gobbledygook.

First, I commend companies who keep an eye on where they’re getting mentioned online and respond to people when appropriate. But this only works when you engage the fan or critic. When you just comment on blog posts to say how great you are without addressing any of the concerns, you’re not likely to win any fans.

I have a bunch of problems with ReDigi. I have a problem with the need for them to exist. Either I can resell any digital content I bought, through whatever channel I chose (eBay, Craigslist, a street corner, whatever), or I haven’t actually bought it, and instead I have purchased a revocable license to use the content in some limited manner. In either case, there is no need for ReDigi.

I have a problem with their claims that the patent they’re getting will let them ensure that the original file is deleted and that no copy is ever made. Technically, I don’t think there’s any way they can possibly do this unless the file only exists within ReDigi’s software. Even then it’s only a matter of time before someone figures out a way around whatever they’re doing. That may keep ReDigi on the right side of the law, but it doesn’t make it not ridiculous.

I have a problem with “used” digital content. It just doesn’t make any sense. If it costs the same as “original” digital content, then there’s no difference between the two. If it’s cheaper, that doesn’t make any sense, either, because it’s exactly the same collection of ones and zeroes. It’s not diminished because I read it or listened to it or watched it.

Lastly, you can’t grow a market by introducing inefficiencies. Creating this big framework to stay out of legal trouble is only sort of viable because the status quos is (and I’m overusing this word, but it just fits) ridiculous. Also, I was really, really tempted to title this post “ReDigi is ReDiculous” but I thought people would think I mispelled “Ridiculous”.

Posted in: ebooks , first sale , patents , ridiculous