Q:) Is it haraam to
photocopy parts of academic reference works for study
purposes, knowing that the high cost of these books is the
reason for photocopying? If a person copies them in order to
make money, is that haraam?.
A:) Praise be to Allaah.
It seems to be the case that copyright belongs to the
authors and to their heirs after they die, and that there is
nothing wrong with photocopying or copying it out by hand
for personal use, not with the intention of selling, so long
as the owner of the copyright has not expressly stated that
copying for personal use is not allowed. But if it is copied
for the purpose of selling it and trading in it, this is not
Shaykh Bakr ibn al-Abd-Allaah Abu Zayd said:
These clauses which protect works from tampering or
interference, and protect the value of the work and the
efforts of its author, are things that are regarded as
essential, based on the general principles of Islam. This is
indicated clearly in the texts and basic principles of
sharee'ah, which you can find explained in detail in Adaab
al-Mukaallifeen and Kutub al-Istilaah.
Fiqh al-Nawaazil, 2/65
The Islamic Fiqh Council which was held to discuss moral
rights issued the following statements:
Firstly: trade names, company names, trademarks, writings
and inventions are all the copyright of their owners or
authors, which in modern practice have acquired monetary
value. These rights are respected by sharee'ah and it is not
permissible to transgress against them.
Secondly: It is permissible to dispose of a trade name,
company name or trademark, and to transfer any of them in
return for financial compensation, provided that this is not
for the purpose of deceit or fraud, given that this has
become a financial right.
Thirdly: the owner of these rights has the right to
dispose of them and no one should transgress against them.
The Scholars of the Standing Committee for Academic
There is nothing wrong with recording and selling useful
tapes, or copying and selling books, because that is helping
to spread knowledge, unless their authors have said that
this is not allowed, in which case it cannot be done without
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa'imah, 13/187
Answered by Shaykh Saalih al-Munajjid
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