Video Rights Ownership vs Physical Tape Ownership


Hi Scott,

This is something that occurred to me whilst discussing WWE getting stuff like GLOW, or Continental wrestling for the network. Do they actually need to buy the physical footage from whoever has it?

For example: If the rights for GLOW  are owned by three people and WWE pays all three and gets contracts signed saying that they transfer the rights to WWE, then WWE has the full rights to show GLOW. A separate person is selling DVDs of all the GLOW episodes but doesn't own the rights. So can WWE not just buy a copy as a normal customer, which they then upload, then send a cease & desist order to stop anymore being sold? 

As long as they have the rights to the video footage, surely the person selling something they had no rights to originally has no legal recourse? 
Unfortunately this is a much more complex legal question than the purview of the blog would allow, but you've basically nailed the entire argument around stuff like digital copies of DVD movies.  Like, as a consumer, what exactly am I purchasing for my $20?  Same thing with video games.  Specifically, the argument came about when Microsoft was trying to launch their vendetta against used games sales, because they were saying "OK, you think you bought a disc, but what you REALLY bought was a physical representation of the game that unlocked the download of it, while we still own the content."  In other words, their argument was that you can't sell your used copy of Goosebumps: The Game, because you don't actually own anything.  
Anyway, the whole thing is TLDR;