Just weeks after the U.S. District Court in Manhattan rejected ReDigi’s bid to resell digital files in Capital Records vs. ReDigi
using ReDigi 1.0, the German District Court of Bielefeld ruled that digital books can’t be resold by purchasers. Unlike physical work, e-books and digital audio books are not subject to “exhaustion of the rights of the author," according to the ruling. The German publishing industry magazine Boersenblatt said that the Booksellers Association “welcomed” the decision, which would only allow the re-sale of digital books with the consent of the author and publisher.
The district court separated the sale of used e-books from that of software, which the European Union’s highest court ruled can be resold by owners. Last July, the Court of Justice of the European Union upheld software purchasers right to resell it through UsedSoft.
The Bielefeld cast was brought by the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBZ), which will likely appeal the decision to the Court of Justice. Earlier this year VZBZ filed suit in the District Court of Berlin against computer game distributor Valve for prohibiting Steam-game users from reselling games.
It's unclear how the Bielefeld decision will affect plans for the online ReDigi store to buy and sell pre-owned digital music, which is slated to launch in the EU this summer. The company is moving forward with a used e-book marketplace in the U.S. using ReDigi 2.0.