When purchasing a storage unit at auction, is it legal to resell pirated dvds/games found in unit? 2 Answers as of March 02, 2011

My partner and I buy storage units at auction. We come accross many dvds, music cds, video games, and other software that has been pirated (copied). As we understand it, those items are legally our property, so then do we have the legal right to resell them, even though they are pirated copies? And can you direct us to any specific laws online which state this matter one way or the other?

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Michael M. Ahmadshahi
Michael M. Ahmadshahi | Michael M. Ahmadshahi, Ph.D., Esq.
First, you have to make sure that the material is in fact pirated as knowledge or otherwise notice of copyright is important in potential future infringement suit and degree of liability. Willful infringement can carry criminal liability. Second, you have to determine whether or not the pirated material has been obtained illegally. Finally, any distribution, including reselling, of pirated material is illegal. See 17 USC 501.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/2/2011
Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
Sorry cant sell them as it will be a copyright violation - and likely one that has statutory damages. That means selling even one of those pirated dvd/cd etc could cost you up to $150,000. For the law pls look at the US Copyright Act - Infringement or Damages.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 3/2/2011
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