Islamic Copyright..is it a thing?
I know, like every other Muslim reviewer/blogger out there, I have received requests for book pdf files. I completely understand that many may not give this a second thought, considering the spread of Islamic knowledge a "Sadaqah Jariyah"
And not just pdfs, which are harmful to Muslim authors/publishers/businesses, but many Muslimah bloggers/businesses have also had pictures and content shared without credit given, even on many well-known pages.
And unfortunately, in this blessed month, sharing pdfs rockets, especially on private whatsapps. (I am still receiving copies of a popular book pdf whose author clearly stated this was impacting her business!)
My personal opinion is that Islam does have copyright laws within our religion....if you just look close enough.
The Prophet (pbuh) said: ““Do not envy one another, do not artificially inflate prices, do not hate one another, do not turn away from one another, do not undercut one another. Be, O slaves of Allah, brothers. The Muslim is the brother of his fellow-Muslim. He does not wrong him, let him down or despise him. Piety (taqwa) is here” – and he pointed to his chest three times. “It is sufficient evil for a man to despise his Muslim brother. The whole of a Muslim is sacred to another Muslim: his blood, his wealth and his honour.” (Muslim)
This Hadith clearly states that undercutting a Muslim brother or hurting him/her in any way is wrong. Furthermore, it states that a Muslim's blood, wealth, and honor are sacred. Spreading pdfs and content without permission DOES AFFECT a Muslim's wealth, and people assume that since it isn't their life threatened, that it's not a big deal. But this Hadith clearly equates ALL aspect of what a Muslim finds value is sacred, and therefore not to be trespassed upon.
Furthermore, if you purposely spread these, while knowing that this affects a Muslim's livelihood, this can be considered theft, a huge sin in Islam.
Yes, theft. Because, by spreading these, you are reducing the ability for a Muslim author and business owner to make their provisions. And essentially, that is theft of their income.
Another proof: let's think about back-biting. We all know backbiting is haram, as defined in the Quran (Surah AlHujurat: 12) as "eating the flesh of your dead brother" and the definition of backbiting according to the Prophet (pbuh) being: "To make mention of your brother with that which he dislikes" (Muslim)
So if backbiting: talking bad about someone behind their back, is wrong and unlawful...what about sharing content that for sure your fellow Muslim would dislike? This seems to be the same to me- you are hurting your fellow Muslim with your WORDS and this is a big deal.
So next time, before you forward that WhatsApp of what looks to be an Islamic fun and informative book-check the copyright information on the second page (It usually states that reproduction and spreading of content without permission is illegal)
PUBLIC PAGES: If you receive what looks like beneficial information and content/photos that look wonderful and would be good to share on your public forum: CHECK THE SOURCE. If there is no source or you can't find it, then err on the safe side, and DONT POST IT! It truly feels like a slap in the face to bloggers/authors when you see your content shared with no credit, and if you put yourself in their shoes, I am sure you would feel the same.
In fact, the Prophet (pbuh) said: "None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself." (Bukhari/Muslim)
Just think to yourself: If it were me that spent hours compiling this, HOW WOULD I FEEL?
Want ways to share that HELP bloggers/authors make more content?
SHARE, but please, tag and mention the source. That is literally all that is required. A simple (Source: So and so) will suffice and in fact, make a blogger/author feel so honored and thankful that people are benefitting.
For many of us who are spending hours compiling content/photos with little to no payback, or authors who get maybe 1 percent of their book's sales as a profit, this would actually count for you as extra good deeds- because you are increasing the motivation and support of your Muslim Ummah Entrepreneurs.
Stay tuned for another post detailing why Muslimah reviewers dislike reviewing pdfs (even sent from authors) -and how it inadvertently impacts authors/businesses.
JAK for reading! Hope this was beneficial!
For more on Islamic plagiarism : check out this wonderful article by Ayeina: https://ayeina.com/is-plagiarism-allowed-in-islam/