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Is it allowed in Islam to copy copyrighted works?

Question: What do the authoritative enactment scholars [Mufti’s] say with regard to the following: I have purchased a book that relates to Islamic jurisprudence and it is very useful because the current cases and its statements are included. I would like to reproduce this book by copying the original book in 400 copies so that it has a common publicity and it can be used by the Muslims. However, the book on the first page states: “all rights are reserved to their respective owners.” Is it allowed / inadmissible to print or copy this book in this way?

Answer: Allah’s name the beginning, the most Compassionate, the most Merciful.
Every book or every purport its legitimate printing or compilation work are reserved for those who guard these rights, upon which these rights are fully claimed and appropriated to the publisher or compiler. If a book is printed and the author has the rightful rights, it may under no circumstances be printed or copied without the permission of the author. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said,

“If a Muslim achieves something that has not been approached by a Muslim before, it belongs to him.”
من سبق إلى مالم يسبقه مسام فهو [Sunan Abu Dawud, 3071].

It may be that some of the topics or judgments of this book [i.e. Fatawa Europe] in other works is mentioned as a reference to the original source. In this case you do not need permission from the author to publish, because the author does not own the work. It is the right of the Muslim people and if the people of Islam have the right, then a person in this matter is not distinguishable. And Allah knows best.

Mufti ‘Abd al-Wajid al-Qadiri
Noori Amsterdam
15-Nov-1985 || 2-Rabi al-Awwal-1406
al-Fatawa Europe: p. 445
Click for more fatawa’s of Mufti ‘Abd al-Wajid al-Qadiri
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