technically according to US copyright laws, it's illegal to show a movie in your house to people too. even copying TV shows with a VCR is technically against the law. giving an old VHS copy of Star Trek, without making money, is still considered a violation against CBS/Paramount. this is where it goes too far. i can understand stealing something and say, selling your VHS collection and making a profit, as this is piracy. but really, giving an old movie to someone, please!
taking paid work or selling someone's work for free, or taking a paid application without a valid license, sure. but sharing movies, video, come on! however one thing that always escaped me, how is it that i can't make a mix tape of some hip-hop songs without getting busted by the RIAA, but some talentless imbecile can take some nice popular 1980s hit, let's say Alphaville's Forever Young, and butcher it into a rap song, and yet no one is punished?
As for Alphaville, tough to answer. I believe SCOTUS determined parodies are acceptable but you are not talking about that. You are likely not allowed to use the music in most cases unless you have written permission, but there are the rules governing 'Derivative Works.' Weird Al avoids lots of suits and he uses the music but that is allowed by law.
I know the courts have ruled in favor of people using copyrighted materials in collages. There is something called “the First-Sale Doctrine” which limits certain rights of the copyright owner.
First-sale doctrine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
There is the Berne Convention that can come into play and my guess is most people here have never heard of the BC until now. Then there are rules in the DMCA that could be relevant or not. If it is illegal, perhaps no action has been brought.
There is the "Fair Use" provisions, but many people do not know anything about that and they simply use it to claim some non-existent right using Fair Use as the reason. You see it on YT where complete works are posted illegally, citing Fair Use as the reason.
Star Trek: sorry, but no. “The first-sale doctrine creates a basic exception to the copyright holder's distribution right. Once the work is lawfully sold or even transferred gratuitously, the copyright owner's interest in the material object in which the copyrighted work is embodied is exhausted. The owner of the material object can then dispose of it as he sees fit. Thus, one who buys a copy of a book is entitled to resell it, rent it, give it away, or destroy it. “
This is why someone can sell Disney characters on the clothing she sells on eBay without caring what Disney thinks; it is why Disney has been kicked to the curb.
So apparently, Disney is wrong and you can give away the digital copy or the entire package. Or they sue and because they have more money, they win. And if they win, they fail on appeal. Perhaps by opening the package you agree to terms that are not stated on the package and because you do not agree, BB only gives you store credit even though the TOS says you can return the disk set for a refund. Or perhaps their TOS is upheld by the federal judge. Or Disney’s case is tossed out. Or Disney does not really care either way.
I know it is legal to give away software; that is to say, transfer it to another person. That is (was?) covered in Microsoft's EULA. But that was then and I do not know if MS now allows this. I do know MS had a right to tell you what kind of projects you could use their clip art for. The line in their EULA mentioned you were not allowed to use their clip art for projects they considered offensive.
See the problem with that? I saw another problem: some of the clip art in the MS collection also existed on a set of CDs I bought which were royalty free. The problem I saw with that collection was the line about if you discover something that is owned by someone else, do not use the art in a commercial project.
I know Disney does not allow you to transfer ownership but that might not be up to them because of First Use Doctrine. As I recall, as far as MS and their software is concerned, you must also delete the files from your HDD and you cannot retain a copy. Give everything and keep nothing.
The law is complex to be sure and some people make claims that are just silly. Some laws defy logic. For example, i know of a power tool manufacturer that had things removed from eBay because the company said they own the right to use the color yellow in auctions.
I know you can sell clothing with Disney characters and despite the lawsuits, the federal court judge kicked Disney in the bum.
This is a very complex issue to be sure.