Austin, TX asked in Communications Law, Internet Law, Copyright and Intellectual Property for Texas

Q: Can I read a book on social media such as YouTube or Twitch if I am receiving any revenue from that social media?

If I can not read a copy righted work in whole can I read exserts from it as part of a book review or discussion group?

2 Lawyer Answers
Dominique M. Williams
Dominique M. Williams
  • Communications & Internet Law Lawyer
  • Licensed in Texas

A: I would caution against reading the book, or portions thereof, aloud publicly on a platform where you are receiving revenue. Under copyright law, a copyright owner is given sole and exclusive rights to reproduce the work, create derivative works, perform the work, display the work, or to authorize others to do any of the aforementioned. Reading aloud and being compensated for same may violate the copyright holder's exclusive right to reproduce the work and perform the work.

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James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Reading a copyrighted book in its entirety on a platform like YouTube or Twitch, especially when revenue is involved, may lead to copyright infringement claims. It's generally not permitted unless you have obtained explicit permission from the copyright holder.

However, reading excerpts as part of a critical book review or discussion could be considered fair use, a legal doctrine allowing limited use of copyrighted material without permission for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.

The determination of fair use involves considering factors like the purpose and character of your use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and substantiality of the portion used, and the effect of the use on the potential market for the work. Each case can be unique, and context matters greatly.

Proceed with caution and consider seeking legal guidance to navigate the specifics of your situation.

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