Is it Permissible to Download Books of Great Scholars from the Internet?
02 Oct, 2020
Question: Is the page internet archive, where you can download books from great scholars permissible? Can one download the books, even though they are for sale on other pages?Answer: Assalamu AlaykumIt is important to note that copyright rules are binding in the shariah. Thus, it is not permissible to publish, copy, or reproduce the work of another protected by copyright without their consent and permission. There are some works, such as very old texts, that lack copyright, or whose copyright is no longer binding. These books are permissible to download and use. Other works that are no longer in print or on-sale, can be obtained through copying. There is an allowance for this, as well. There is also the concept of “fair use”, which allows limited use of copyright material without permission for purposes such as news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. However, such material must have been obtained lawfully and cannot be used for commercial use.Another thing to consider is the implicit permission of the copyright holder. Sometimes, particular material is subject to copyright but it is customarily accepted that the work will be shared on specific platforms and the copyright holder does not seek legal remedies to prevent this. In this case, there may be some allowance for the personal use of the item, though, again, one cannot use it commercially to profit, nor should one actively proliferate such material.It is optimal in cases of doubt to exercise caution and simply purchase the book because this is a matter that concerns the rights of another person. For more, please see:Are Copyrights Valid As It Relates to Islamic Content That Benefits Muslims, or Can We Freely Download and Share It?[Ustadh] Salman YounasChecked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz RabbaniUstadh Salman Younas was born and raised in New York and graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. Ustadh Salman’s personal interests include research into the fields of law/legal methodology, hadith, theology, as well as political theory, government, media, and ethics. He is also an avid traveler and book collector. He currently resides in Amman with his wife.
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