Read Alouds – Are you Breaking the Law?

I’m always looking for good sites for my granddaughter to view when Nana needs a break. I’ve been pleased to find a proliferation of read aloud sites. However, while big sites where celebrities read picture books probably have received permission from the authors, I wonder about individual sites. There are numerous sites where people read aloud books that are still under copyright.

Reading aloud an author’s book is basically the same as photocopying and reselling it. You have taken a potential sale away from the author. As well, myself included, many authors like  to post their own read alouds in hope that listeners will buy a copy of that book or another written by the author.

Many of these people are breaking copyright laws but some publishers/authors don’t bother going after them until they start getting large followings. There were a few in the tens of thousands that I wondered about but perhaps they acquired permission. Perhaps they just haven’t been caught yet.

You are allowed to read small snippets from books as part of a review or discussion. Most authors and publishers are grateful for the free promotion.

If you want to read a classic, like Peter Rabbit, simply verify that it is now in the public domain and you are good to go.

For more information (from Youtube)

Here is a  link to a book read aloud I’ve reviewed, Mary Elizabeth The Spotless Cow, created by the author.

 Mary Elizabeth read aloud
Click here to buy Mary Elizabeth The Spotless Cow (A Sweetles Dream)

And here are my read-alouds. If you enjoy sharing them with a child, please like, comment, and subscribe to my youTube site. 

 Too Quiet, Too Noisy  read aloud

Click here to buy Too Quiet, Too Noisy

 Rayne Shines read aloud

Click here to buy Rayne Shines

The Amida Tree  read aloud

Click here to buy The Amida Tree

Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages

2 thoughts on “Read Alouds – Are you Breaking the Law?

  1. Well, that’s just great! As a teacher, I used to be able to “preview” a book on the you tube read aloud recordings before ordering them from amazon or the library. Now that these videos are no longer on you tube AND libraries are closed, we are stuck, I have no way to know what books pass my standards of excellence for my classroom. Bah humbug. Also, if we have to go digital this fall, I cannot read books to my class online. I’m talking about books that I own that I want to read to my class. I have the same problem with music that I own that I want to sing with my class in a circle time video. I wish I knew how to fight this until schools and libraries return to normal. This is not the hill to die on during a pandemic. Do you know how to make nationwide changes to overcome these problems for this school year?


    • The only suggestion I can think of is to find YouTube sites and the authors reading their own work. Example, I have most of my books on YouTube as an advertisement and as a read aloud so that people have a good idea what they’re buying. As a retired elementary teacher I can imagine how challenging this all is for you. Good luck.


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