Legal Question in Intellectual Property in California

Does it infringe copyright laws to make audiobooks & upload them to YouTube?

Hello & thank you for your time to read my questions/concerns.

I wanted to start making Youtube videos, specifically to make audiobooks of some short little pamphlets I have in my possession, possibly books as well. I wanted to make these videos not only for educational purposes, but if I’m able to make it to that milestone, maybe get a few dollars on the side (times are hard right now, & this would be a side gig for some extra dollars, assuming I’d ever make it that far to begin with). This is how I’d be making the videos— I’d be using a screen recording software, so the people watching the video can see what I’m seeing, & if they wished, to read along with me. Maybe throw in some of my own dialogue & commentary here & there, but a verbatim reading of the book itself. Many of these pamphlets & books I have in my possession are readily available online for free; if you wanted a PDF version instead of a physical copy. Since, most of the books I’d be reading to make these videos are already online for free— does this or would this infringe on the rights of the books’ owners? I assume since they are found on the internet for free— that this wouldn’t infringe on the the copyrights of the owner. But, if that said work/video makes money that doesn’t go to the original author, would this be considered infringing on someone else’s copyright? Even though the book itself can be found for free through other channels & means? I’m not too savvy when it comes to the Law, so I’d rather do everything I can do beforehand to prevent breaking those said Laws. Is the sole fact, that there may be a possibility of someone making money from someone else’s work, considered a violation of copyright? I know I probably i asked the same question in different ways, but I wanted to convey my point across the best way I know how.

Again, thank you for your time to read my questions/concerns. Stay safe & take care.

Asked on 3/02/21, 4:08 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Frank Natoli Natoli-Legal, LLC

Unless the rights owner allows for use, sometimes they might with attribution or even with no conditions, consider it covered under copyright. Your public performance or reading of the content is infringement. It does not mean that they will seek to enforce it, but they may. I would not make a business of it unless you know that you are permitted to use the content this way.

If you need clarification, I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.

If you would like to discuss further over a free phone consult, feel free to contact me anytime that is convenient.

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Answered on 3/02/21, 4:14 pm

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