Can you go to jail for this?

26 replies
Say if you bought a group of articles or something like an auto responder series from someone who doesn't have the right to resell it. Can you get in serious trouble for that?
#jail
  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    It depends on the law in your jurisdiction.

    Usually, crimes require both an ACT and INTENT.

    Since, in your fact pattern, the ACT already took place, the key question is whether a person KNOWINGLY bought stolen materials.

    Many jurisdictions have a Bonafide purchase exemption.

    You have to share more facts for the community here to determine if there is a BFP situation in your case.
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  • Profile picture of the author karmadog
    Wonder what the penalty would be for this? Would prison time be a possibility?
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
    Violations of copyright in the United States can carry financial penalties as well as the possibility of jail time. In the case of your particular question, I'm not sure what the penalties are and other countries have their own laws.

    If you are afraid of getting ripped off or using stolen content, you can always write your own. That's really the only way to be 100% sure that what you are using is not someone else's.

    The key is to educate yourself about the basics of various legal issues in business (including online), do the best you can to be legal/moral/ethical, have trustworthy people you contract with or employ, and don't let the fear of the unknown stop you from going forward with your business.

    Mark
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    I doubt it would ever lead to prison time. The behavior would have to be on a huge scale and hurt a lot of people to result in that.

    This is a tort issue more than a criminal one, and I expect a DA in the US would not find it materially large enough to warrant prosecution even if it was criminal. I mean, how much money are we talking about here? Probably not very much. Lost revenue of ??? I have seen a DA resist pressure from a building contractor to prosecute a theft accusation well into 5 figures. The contractor tried to make his case for a criminal charge for over 10 minutes in the courtroom. The DA was polite but said No, there wasn't enough meat on the bone. That the contractor needed to file a civil suit. They don't just automatically do what the complainant wants.

    You could be civilly sued by the intellectual property owner, but again I doubt the size of the case would be significant (well, it might be significant to you, if a judgement was rendered against you...)

    Key thing to notice is HOW you are FEELING about this. I don't know if you're the person who had the series stolen or did the stealing. But anyone considering doing this: you can avoid feeling bad about it by simply not doing it. This level of anxiety is simply not worth it. Write your own content.

    I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.
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    • Profile picture of the author karmadog
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      I doubt it would ever lead to prison time. The behavior would have to be on a huge scale and hurt a lot of people to result in that.

      This is a tort issue more than a criminal one, and I expect a DA in the US would not find it materially large enough to warrant prosecution even if it was criminal. I mean, how much money are we talking about here? Probably not very much. Lost revenue of ??? I have seen a DA resist pressure from a building contractor to prosecute a theft accusation well into 5 figures. The contractor tried to make his case for a criminal charge for over 10 minutes in the courtroom. The DA was polite but said No, there wasn't enough meat on the bone. That the contractor needed to file a civil suit. They don't just automatically do what the complainant wants.

      You could be civilly sued by the intellectual property owner, but again I doubt the size of the case would be significant (well, it might be significant to you, if a judgement was rendered against you...)

      Key thing to notice is HOW you are FEELING about this. I don't know if you're the person who had the series stolen or did the stealing. But anyone considering doing this: you can avoid feeling bad about it by simply not doing it. This level of anxiety is simply not worth it. Write your own content.

      I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.
      Yeah, you're right. It's just not worth the anxiety, I think I'll do things the honest way and buy an auto responder series from someone who owns the product.
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  • Profile picture of the author Haris Tahic
    The worst scenario would be paying a fine and destroying the materials. Definitely, that's not for jail.
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    • Profile picture of the author SmartTim
      Originally Posted by Haris Tahic View Post

      The worst scenario would be paying a fine and destroying the materials. Definitely, that's not for jail.
      +1 I agree with this.
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      • Profile picture of the author TheGMa
        I'm not an attorney either, but I had to deal with theft law a lot in my career.

        Copyright infringement is a civil issue carrying financial penalties, attorney's fees, and what is called an injunction against continuing the stated activity (or else!)

        Now, you want to know if you can be sued for knowingly using property that was stolen by another.

        Dude, don't. For one thing, that stinks, and for another, it is so damned easy to re-write existing auto-response material that it's not worth sleepless nights. Go find someone in Warriors for Hire if you can't do it yourself. Then you'll know you are getting a re-write that is done right.
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  • Profile picture of the author trip3980
    Bit torrents have a similar issue. the courts ruled that you can't punish the masses IE the public for participating in the taking of pirated content. The person who is involved with the distribution of material weather the person is getting monetary value or not is irrelevant but if he is getting paid the punishment is far worse. At the end of the day its up to the jury to decide what the fate of the individual is. in this case if your knowingly buying illegal content that could be bad but I doubt the focus is on you. As for this situation tho I probably wouldn't even over think it. Too many criminals on the street doing far worse.
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  • Profile picture of the author extrememan
    They may be a fine. It all depends on copyright claims. But, I highly doubt you will go to prison for it. Depends how serious it is..
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  • Profile picture of the author kimanierick
    they are trying to decongest the prisons. You cannot go to prison for that. The biggest punishment that can be given in case some one sues you or it hurts many people, is paying a fine and losing financially. Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeff Lenney
    Originally Posted by karmadog View Post

    Say if you bought a group of articles or something like an auto responder series from someone who doesn't have the right to resell it. Can you get in serious trouble for that?
    You know we're not lawyers right? I'd suggest you contact one :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author Rich Struck
    The prisons are overflowing with people who sold pirated PLR articles etc. Don't be next.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    You know we're not lawyers right?
    Didn't you play one on TV, Jeff?
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  • Profile picture of the author Khemosabi
    Originally Posted by karmadog View Post

    Say if you bought a group of articles or something like an auto responder series from someone who doesn't have the right to resell it. Can you get in serious trouble for that?
    Um, KARMA dog,

    If you unwillingly bought property that was stolen, but you now know it's stolen, and you want to use it... you are now a thief as well.

    Will you get in trouble for just owning it? Not if you REPORT IT as stolen property. It's not rocket science....

    And, no, I'm not a lawyer. either, but Brent.. I do play one in the mirror!

    ~ Theresa
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  • Profile picture of the author shaffadell
    Originally Posted by karmadog View Post

    Say if you bought a group of articles or something like an auto responder series from someone who doesn't have the right to resell it. Can you get in serious trouble for that?
    Law Enforcement will only go after you if you're a major player. If you're only dealing with a few dollars then you pretty much don't have anything to worry about.

    The only time you hear of law enforcement going after someone in the cyber world, it has to be extremely egregious of an offence with a lot of money and people involved.
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  • Profile picture of the author nicheblogger75
    Originally Posted by karmadog View Post

    Say if you bought a group of articles or something like an auto responder series from someone who doesn't have the right to resell it. Can you get in serious trouble for that?
    Relax. There is absolutely no way you'd got to jail for this. I would venture to say this type of thing happens daily on the Internet on an absolutely massive scale. I've been sold articles in the past and told they were original when in fact the seller had taken them from article directories. Luckily I discovered the seller's deception and didn't use them, but even if I had used them I think the worst thing that would have happened would be I would receive a take down notice.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rhett
    Originally Posted by karmadog View Post

    Say if you bought a group of articles or something like an auto responder series from someone who doesn't have the right to resell it. Can you get in serious trouble for that?
    I hesitate to speculate on this, as I am not an attorney in the U.S., but I would assume that it is a copyright issue, rather than a criminal one, as others have said.

    My recommendation to avoid this would be to pursue quality PLR content creators, as autoresponder series are available.

    There are several great providers here on WF!
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  • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
    Instead of wondering if you could go to jail for buying what you think is stolen content, why not run away and find content that is being sold with permission? Imagine if it were content you wrote that people were stealing and selling as their own. You wouldn't like it and I'm sure this writer wouldn't either, if he knew.

    Sometimes we forget about ethics. Let's all try harder to remember.
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  • Profile picture of the author SeoWrecker
    See you in the jail.

    p.s - You posted the same in BHW
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    • Profile picture of the author TheGMa
      Originally Posted by SeoWrecker View Post

      See you in the jail.

      p.s - You posted the same in BHW
      Behavioral Health Works? Oh dear. This is worse than I thought.
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  • Profile picture of the author fighterfromCN
    It will be ok in china by most of chance,
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