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Need advice about islamic copyright violation?


assalam u alaikum. i had a legal islamic question that i wanted to ask. are you able to help me please? If i find a read a loud story of an islamic story book on youtube, and i make a print preview of it and make it into a pdf and share with people, for the sole purpose of spreading islam, because a lot of muslims cannot afford to buy books from a bookshop, then is that going against copyright, and is that a crime? since it is already on a public platform, doesn’t that mean the public can view it and share it? what if i find page previews of islamic kids books on the internet uploaded by the publisher, and i assemble all the random pages together and make a pdf and share that with people, again only for the sole purpose of spreading islam to children in western countries, where it’s hard to find religious education, then is that a crime? i am just gathering the preview pages together, i am not scanning and uploading entire books myself. Thanks very much for your help.  Jazakallah khair


Salam alaykum,

The following can be found on the website of A. Sistani:

1Question: What is the ruling on copying computer software, movies, audio CDs and other such things, which bear the wording “All Rights Reserved” or “Copyright”?
Answer: Copyrights must be respected; it is not permissible, if it is against the law (obligatory precaution).
2Question: A lot of books, DVD and software have copyright on them. What is the ruling if I photocopy a book or duplicate a DVD or software for my personal use?
Answer: It is permissible, per se, to make personal use of such copyrighted books and software.

However, maybe you could just ask the publishers of those books for permission to do the good deed you are doing. Perhaps if you explain the situation to them, they might understand.

I guess you should look at exactly what it says in the copyright and see if what you are doing is violating it. Just because you are doing a good deed does not detract from the fact that on the other hand you are violating the rights of the author/publisher. One good deed deed does not make a wrong deed right. Maybe you could consult a lawyer to see if what you are doing is violating the copyright law. I hope that helps.