General Question

NerdyKeith's avatar

Is it legal to read a book on YouTube and supply commentary on the book while reading it?

Asked by NerdyKeith (5479points) April 15th, 2016

Lets say for example, I only focus on one chapter per video and interject commentary in between. I was thinking of doing a segment on my second YouTube channel called “A Deist Reads …”

Can I do so under fair use?

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4 Answers

Seek's avatar

In the US, that would likely not stand under our fair use law.

Fair use law takes into account the amount and substantiality of the original work being copied when determining whether use is fair.

Using a small version of a whole painting for a search engine thumbnail has been determined fair use. Copying a choice 400 words of a memoir was considered not fair, because it used “the heart of the book”.

If someone could watch your YouTube videos instead of buying the audiobook, the publisher and author could rightly take exception to your use.

NerdyKeith's avatar

@Seek Ah I see. And what if I was to read only highlights of the book instead?

Seek's avatar

That’s a matter for courts to decide, should anyone complain.

You’d be able to argue it was a review, news piece, criticism, or parody, they would have to argue your use was overly substantial.

Personally, if you wanted to do book reviews and we’re concerned about fair use, I’d add quotes relevant to the critique where necessary, and leave the reading of the book to the public.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Seek “Personally, if you wanted to do book reviews and we’re concerned about fair use, I’d add quotes relevant to the critique where necessary, and leave the reading of the book to the public.”

…or cover books in the public domain and you can do whatever you want.

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