« go back

Can I take Tanya Ba’al Peh that was made into a song, from a CD someone made, and record it to my phone and then send it around so others can learn it by heart as a Hachana for Yud Tes Kislev?

The concept of ownership over intellectual property is debated among the Poskim and the general consensus is that when a publisher puts out a new book or invention, he has the right to it forever and no one may reproduce it without his permission. Many different reasons are offered to explain this Halachic concept. The secular copyright laws can also apply, להבדיל.

In the case of the Tanya recordings particularly, since it is not just Torah thoughts but songs, there is more reason to prohibit reproduction. Certainly the producer  has the right to restrict others from using them without permission. Even for classroom usage one would need their permission.

According to the Shevet Halevi 4:202, one may be lenient to copy segments from Seforim when it is solely for personal usage in a classroom in order not to cause each student to purchase many different books. This is even if it would prevent the publishers from certain sales. Accordingly, the same should apply here.

In practice, however, according to many Poskim, the producer has an actual ownership in his production, thus it is an issue of Gezel (not just due to Takana, Dina D’malchusa, or general obligation to pay when benefiting). This appears to be the view of the Tzemach Tzedek too. Accordingly, since ownership rights applies to all intellectual properties, it is forbidden to reproduce them if it causes loss or a potential lack of profit to the publisher.

 

Sources:

Shoel Umashiv 1:44. Minchas Yitzchak 9:153.

See Tzemach Tzedek (Y.D. 195).

שו”ת צמח צדק חו”מ ע, ט. שער המילואים ח”ד קמב.