Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate
Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits. The question of copyright is complex, and raises many legal, moral, and ethical concerns. The answers on www.SunniPath.com about copyright, which may be found by searching for the term from the website, apply generally, according to the major living ulema. They are also the law in most countries, and Muslims have been commanded to obey and uphold the law.
However, does it necessarily follow that if one makes one copy of a tape or book for personal use--not for profiting from the property of another--one is sinful? The ulema are wary to affirm this. Rather, they say that it is a case of "have as much piety as you can." Value the books and materials you read and benefit from (Islamic or general), and pay for them, whenever you can.
As for past copied collections, or copies made of rare or unavailable materials, there shouldn't be a problem with this, if one avoids profiting from them.
And Allah knows best.
MMVIII © Faraz Rabbani and Qibla.
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