Can someone go to jail for selling video games without no license?

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Can someone go to jail for selling video games without no license?

My boyfriend is buying video games from this website from China and wants to sell it on on-line. Is this illegal? He also will sell to friends in general. I told him that its illegal to sell without a license and that if he gets caught he can go to jail for it.

Asked on November 23, 2010 under Business Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) If he is buying physical games--e.g. cartridges, CDs--and then reselling those physically, he is allowed to do so. Of course, he has to worry about paying taxes (collecting sales; paying income) on his transactions, and if he does a sufficient volume, he'll need to in some fashion register or incorporate as dong business; but as a general proposition, if you buy a physical copy of something and resell that one copy, you can do this.

2) One caveat to the above; if the terms of purchase/user license/etc. when he buys the games says that he cannot resell them (e.g. only for own use, not commercial use or resale), then he would, at a minimum, be committing a contractual violation when reselling, one he could, in theory, be sued over.

3) If he is copying games (e.g. copying software) and selling multiple copies of software, then he is most likely violating intellectual property and potentially subject to stiff penalties.

 

4) Also, if he makes any declaration, e.g. customs declarations, connected with the  purchase and importation, then he might be violating the law if his actions are not covered the declarations.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) If he is buying physical games--e.g. cartridges, CDs--and then reselling those physically, he is allowed to do so. Of course, he has to worry about paying taxes (collecting sales; paying income) on his transactions, and if he does a sufficient volume, he'll need to in some fashion register or incorporate as dong business; but as a general proposition, if you buy a physical copy of something and resell that one copy, you can do this.

2) One caveat to the above; if the terms of purchase/user license/etc. when he buys the games says that he cannot resell them (e.g. only for own use, not commercial use or resale), then he would, at a minimum, be committing a contractual violation when reselling, one he could, in theory, be sued over.

3) If he is copying games (e.g. copying software) and selling multiple copies of software, then he is most likely violating intellectual property and potentially subject to stiff penalties.

 

4) Also, if he makes any declaration, e.g. customs declarations, connected with the  purchase and importation, then he might be violating the law if his actions are not covered the declarations.


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