A revisiting of this question.

Hypothetical facts

  1. Alice buys a hardback book from the publisher for $70.

  2. On Wednesday, Wanda pays Alice $10 rent for the exclusive right to use the physical book in question for that day.

  3. On Wednesday, Wanda makes a digital copy of the book and posts it online to an account only Wanda can access.

  4. Wanda returns the book to Alice on Wednesday evening.

  5. On Friday, Wanda opens her digital file copy of the book Wanda rented from Alice Wednesday.


Have any copyright laws been broken? If so, when were they broken? Was Wanda guilty on Wednesday? Thursday? Or Friday? On Friday was Wanda guilty before opening the file? How about after opening the file but before reading the file? How about after reading the file?

  • The fact that you read something is not related to copyright. For example if you read a book and memorize the story, that is not a copy. But if you later reproduce it from memory in a new tangible form, that would probably be a copy or a derivative work, depending on the closeness of your reproduction.
    – Brandin
    Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 15:04

1 Answer 1



Wanda is guilty, probably when she created the file, certainly when she no longer had a right (through rental) to the original.

Unlike Alice, she would have a much harder time arguing fair use in relation to creating a 'backup' when her right to the original was for such a limited period of time. Even if she could show this, her right to have any copy ceased when she returned the original.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .