I bought some imported movies to sell at a convention. I bought them from a U.S. seller who gets them from another country that has international copyrights to the movies. The people holding the convention tell me it's illegal to sell the imported movies because there are U.S. copyrighted versions of the same movies. Is that true? Can you not resell imported movies if a U.S. copyright for the same movie exists?
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): Illinois
I contacted the distributor who said they don't have the copyright paperwork for the other company that actually produces the dvds, just that they have been doing business with them for 15 years without incident. They said the movies were imported and cleared U.S. customs and we should be able to sell them.
Hello JACUSTOMER,That is true. It would be a violation of the copyright code - 17 U.S. Code § 602. One of the rights granted to copyright owners is the exclusive right to distribute copies of their product. Importation into the U.S. of copyrighted works (and subsequent sale) without the permission of the owner of the copyright violates the copyright's owner's exclusive right to distribute its product. Thus, the owner of the U.S. copyright may want to only distribute in the U.S. only those copies which have a U.S. copyright even if it granted an international copyright to others overseas. There may be differences in the U.S. version as opposed to the international version, and the copyright owner may want to control which version is distributed where. If you don't know whether the U.S. copyright owner wants to distribute these international versions in the U.S. you could be facing a infringement lawsuit.In addition, this distributor you are dealing with seems a little suspicious who claims that he doesn't have the paperwork of the company that produces the DVDs. To me that would signal that the DVDs are bootlegged copies. So, I would be very careful about selling these imported movies. I would not recommended itThomas
Since I purchased them from a U.S. distributor and did not import them myself would I be protected under doctrine of first sale if I opened them and sold them as used? Or is that another $40 Thanks.
Only if the U.S. distributor had permission to sell them from the U.S. copyright owner.Thomas
Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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