I know that a person needs license to copy, reproduce, redistribute, sell, and create derivative works of copyrighted material. However, do you ever need a license to read it (assuming you're not being recorded)? And, kudos if you can let me know the name of the right, if it exists, too.
I assume the answer is possibly different if the material was legally or illegally copied and you weren't the one who copied it.
I notice that some copyrighted books say 'All Rights Reserved'. So, if they don't grant any kind of license, maybe you can read all copyrighted material—or maybe they're just selling books that no one is legally entitled to read.
It would seem that reading would be a form of copying (since you are producing the words in your mouth or mind), but I don't know that either of those things hold legal water in any situation.
Here are some scenarios to consider:
- You purchase a novel. It says All Rights Reserved, and grants no explicit license to use the material in any way, shape or form.
- You find an old book on the ground. It says All Rights Reserved, and grants no explicit license to use the material in any way, shape or form.
- You're in a class (not necessarily at an official school), and the teacher gives you photocopied copyrighted material to read, and you don't know whether it was legally photocopied. You didn't photocopy it yourself, and all you would do with it, if anything, is read it (silently or aloud in class or at home).
- You go to a random website and see copyrighted song lyrics.
- You go to a website with song lyrics, and you know the website does not have license to put them there (although the website owner may or may not know that it's copyrighted).
- You go to a website with pirated novels (which you don't necessarily know are pirated, although you might have a feeling that they are).
- You buy a used e-reader, and the previous owner left some copyrighted e-books on it (imagine both the scenario where the previous owner obtained the e-books legally, and where the previous owner pirated them).
You can imagine more situations if you like, but you're not required to specifically address any of those I listed in your answer (they're just examples).
Now, it seems like the ethical thing to do is not to read illegally copied material, even if there's no law to stop you (especially as they might accuse you of being the one to have copied them—however, for the purposes of the question, if possible, try not to turn this into a matter of getting prosecuted because someone thinks you copied the material that you didn't copy; for the purposes of this question, assume everyone in the world knows, believes and acts like you're not the one who copied it, impractical as that might seem). I don't know if this is only a matter of ethics or if it's also a matter of law here.
Some of these situations seem akin to the situation where someone gives you a flash drive with a bunch of [potentially] pirated videos on it that they say are legal. I don't know that there's a right to watch videos, either (or just copy them). I don't know if the laws are the same with regard to reading books, watching videos, listening to music, listening to audiobooks, etc. I just mean traditional reading for this question (whether books, articles, websites, etc.), but if the laws happen to be the same across different kinds of observation/exposure, feel free to point it out if you want.
I mean the question to encompass all of the following things:
- Reading silently, to yourself.
- Reading aloud to yourself (and not broadcasting or recording it)
- Reading aloud to a private audience in your own house, such as to family members or roommates (non-commercially, and not broadcasting or recording it)
- Reading aloud to a private audience outside your own house (non-commercially, and not broadcasting or recording it)
- Reading aloud to a public audience, (non-commercially, and not broadcasting or recording it)
- I don't mind if people talk about the commercial aspects, too, but it's not as important to me, as I'm mostly just wondering about things that people who aren't trying to make money by it (directly) are doing. An example of an indirect use as I meant it would be such as reading a book to yourself and applying the principles you learn to make money (which isn't applicable here).
Now, if the question is too broad by encompassing both illegally copied (not by you) and legally copied (not by you) reading material, just answer regarding legally copied materials (that's what I'm most curious about). Let me know if it's too broad, and I can edit my question. Thanks!