New York City, NY asked in Copyright for California

Q: Can I sell create and sell an audio book of a recently published book under the fair use of Copyright Act.

I sell my own original works on that teachers from all states buy (but I currently live in California).

My questions are the following:

1. Books on the current middle school grade level reading lists are published within the last 5 years or so. Am I allowed to create an audio book for these recently released written titles under the Fair Use Copyright guidelines if I do not charge any fee since it is for educational purposes?

2. Since it is educational purposes, am I allowed to charge a fee as part of my time spent creating the audiobook itself?

Thank you for your time.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Kathryn Perales
Kathryn Perales
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Oberlin, OH

A: What you are describing is clearly copyright infringement, and your proposed fair use defense would not fly. The author has a pretty far-reaching right to control and profit from clearly derivative works like a recording of their writings. The law governing this is the same throughout the US. You should ask for written permission from the author (or copyright holder) before doing this.

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