Can I buy a copyrighted product, make changes to it and resell it?

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Can I buy a copyrighted product, make changes to it and resell it?

Asked on October 14, 2012 under Business Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You can make physical changes to the actual copy/item you buy and resell (though if you imply that you own the content, are the source of the content, are connected to original company in some way, etc., you may be infringing trademark or committing unfair competition, even if you are not violating copyright per se). However, you cannot modify the content, or reproduce/copy the content, even if modified.

Example: you buy a CD of Pink's latest album: you can put it into a new package, include liner notes which you wrote, include some other item (a pink headband?) with it, and resell, as long as you make it clear you are not affiliated with Pink or her record label. But you cannot modify the music, since that is what copyright protects.


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