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If someone has illegally pirated music and has it downloaded is there a legal requirement for him to delete it?

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    You mean after being prosecuted for it? Since you don't own the music, there is no legal basis for keeping it... – Ron Beyer Jun 23 '20 at 14:25
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    Are you asking whether someone who secretly has some pirated music is legally obligated to delete it, or whether (as in Andrew's answer) a court could order such a person to delete it? For the court to do so, there has to be a trial, which implies that someone has learned of the illegally downloaded music and brought it to the attention of the court. – phoog Jun 23 '20 at 16:50
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Destruction of infringing articles is an available remedy for a copyright holder under US Copyright Law. If this remedy is requested by the copyright holder and the copyright holder is the prevailing party in an infringement lawsuit, the Court may order the destruction of infringing articles.

In 17 USC § 503. Remedies for infringement: Impounding and disposition of infringing articles:

(a) At any time while an action under this title is pending, the court may order the impounding, on such terms as it may deem reasonable, of all copies or phonorecords claimed to have been made or used in violation of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights, and of all plates, molds, matrices, masters, tapes, film negatives, or other articles by means of which such copies or phonorecords may be reproduced.

(b) As part of a final judgment or decree, the court may order the destruction or other reasonable disposition of all copies or phonorecords found to have been made or used in violation of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights, and of all plates, molds, matrices, masters, tapes, film negatives, or other articles by means of which such copies or phonorecords may be reproduced.

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    So you would say that there is a potential for a legal requirement. This could also apply to a negotiated settlement which is independent of this section. – user6726 Jun 23 '20 at 16:55
  • Right, it is one of the available remedies a Copyright holder has. – Andrew Jun 23 '20 at 16:56
  • Thanks you, just still wondering if there is an obligation on the 'pirater' to delete the music if there was no court involvement? – Nochie Wolf Jun 24 '20 at 15:21
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    The infringing articles are still infringing. This seems like asking "If I steal a widget from my neighbor, am I legally required to return it?" The infringement has already occurred and is still occurring. So long as someone has possession of infringing articles, and hasn't obtained rights to them, those articles are infringing. Deleting the infringing articles could mitigate damages. As user6726 stated, there could be a settlement agreement between the infringer and the owner, which could require deletion however, may not implicate a court. – Andrew Jun 24 '20 at 15:29

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