Here is how the dictionary defines it:
Encarta® World English Dictionary[North American Edition] © & (P) 2009 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing PlcThere is now a whole department on trade marking and copyrighting written material.
Where does that sit in Islam? You take something from the Quran and Sunnah and quote it verbatim, that is a direct quote, or you take a tafseer written by an Alim and incorporate it in your article, should you give credit to the writer or if you write a whole book based on someone else’s teachings or methodology should you give credit to that intermediate person whose idea and work you used to come up with your book or article?
In modern day west, it is safer to use the quotes of others or the excerpts of others with complete references as one may be judged by the local legal system as a terrorist if one writes something that may fall under those (vague but enforced) precincts.
On the day to day intellectual level: In my humble opinion Muslims have to look at the laws of the land as far as copyright, references, permission etc. Even though all of Allah’s message should be free whether in writing or in speech. The cost to getting it to people must be charged to offset the cost and to promote it further. otherwise only the rich will be published and it is only their opinions and trends that will reach the audience whether they may be valid, limited or opinionated without a good grounding.
I once asked someone if I should write a book about what I am learning as there is nothing on the market as such and the advice I was given that no just write it as loose papers to distribute without a name otherwise it will “go to your head” or bad for the Nafs. I wonder if all the teachers and learners of Deen did that how much of Allah message would be passed on and by whom?
In retrospect that is not good advice: Who is going to read loose papers whose authorship is unknown and the reliability index cannot be assessed. The first thing I do when I choose a book is I look at the ethics and background of the author.
How about when someone accepts your articles for a website, book or journal and them when it suits them removes them from the website, e-book or journal?
Should articles once published remain published and who owns them? Or should they be at some point wiped out without a reference to them as archive or should the author(s) be informed of the act of erasure?
Intellectual property especially intellectual e property in Islam and Islamic works of literature needs to be worked out by the educated Faqihs (Jurists). Meanwhile I wait to find the best path on how to best disseminate Allah’s message……..