About copied software

Keeping software that was illegally downloaded or copied, but that is not being sold anymore and hardly works on newer machines, is it mortal sin?
Deleting them and downloading them again (in case that downloading something that is not in the market isn’t so wrong) wouln’t make much sense.

In addition, uploading and downloading fan made games, or fan fiction, could it be sinful?
I saw many fan made films (i.e. Star Wars fan made films) in Youtube. If they would violating right they wouldn’t be on Youtube.

Thanks and sorry for my English, (I dare not say is my second language :slight_smile: but it is because I don’t speak a third one.)

It sounds like stealing to me, which is prohibited in the Ten Commandments.

Using software without a valid license is stealing. This is true even if you cannot buy it anymore. Whether it is mortal depends upon various circumstances (a priest should be able to guide you on this one).

Fan-produced games and videos are okay as long as they do not use the original artwork.

Even if the company that holds the rights is indifferent about it?

Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it.

Gilbert K. Chesterton

have you asked them?

Not exactly. I read that a certain company didn’t care about certain product, it may be untrue though. The company is not the original developer but one that end up holding the rights after some merges.

Indifference is irrelevant. They may well decide that it matters at a later date. Only if they wrote a new license allowing use without payment could you continue to use it.

Some old software is put into public domain for the purposes of encouraging people to use it and then pay to upgrade.

IF your software is in this category, then I don’t suppose it makes any difference where you got it from, but you will need to check with the organisation that currently holds the rights to it to see what their position is.

If the software is not available in the public domain, then it doesn’t matter how old it is: it would be theft to use it, even if there’s currently no way of purchasing it. You would be expected to purchase the most up to date version instead.

As for fan-made films that ‘inhabit’ a fictional universe… again, that depends on the attitude of the rights holders. Typically they accept it (or tolerate it) provided the fans do not profit by it financially. This is the case with Paramount and the Star Trek franchise (I know this for certain, as I’m involved in just that sort of project in that ‘universe’). The clinchers are that it has to be entirely not for profit and, also, that the end result is identifiably made by enthusiasts and doesn’t purport to be professionally made: i.e. if it is SO good that it looks like Paramount themselves might have made it, then Paramount would likely object. But in general terms, fan-made stuff is made on such a shoe-string budget (and the acting is usually so dire!) that nobody in their right minds would confuse it for the real thing!

And what about Windows XP, I suspect I have a pirated copy, I bought my machine to a friend, and I think he bought it somewhere, I don’t know if he copied the system on it or the guys he bought the machine from. I can’t buy XP because it is not being sold anymore. But if I stop using XP I have to stop using the machine. I talked to this to my confessor and he said It’s kind of OK, that some companies kind of tolerate it to a certain amount. But I think he is not very versed in software.

I don’t know if it is a mortal sin to illegally download. But it is stealing other people’s work and using it however you want. The copyright laws in the US are kind of long, in some cases almost 100 years for certain things but still that is the law so you can’t copy and share stuff you don’t own or isn’t public domain.

As for up/downloading fan made stuff on Youtube, I think based on Youtube’s policy it is the property of the person who made the stuff but I think it would be easy to ask a person if you can make a copy of their video’s or games. Some people don’t like it though especially if they find it in another part of the internet, so I think it best to ask them first.

There are free operating systems like Linux if you find out your copy is illegal.

Most computers come with an operating system and have a sticker indicating which it is. Stickers can be peeled off, however, so even if your PC came with one your friend or someone else may have removed it. Fortunately, Microsoft has a tool to test whether your copy of XP is properly licensed. You can find information about that tool at this link. It isn’t perfect, but I would say that if your PC passes that tool then you have a legitimate copy. If your PC fails, Microsoft will give you instructions on how to make it a legal copy.

If your confessor has already advised you on this, why are you bringing it up here? Listen to him.

The word “if” doesn’t matter. If you don’t know, it means you don’t know. Copyrights last a long time. There is nothing complicated about that. If a copyright was transferred to another company, (A) it means it was registered with the US Copyright Office, and (B) there is a contract that basically states: “I am the owner of the copyright to this software (see attached document) and I hereby grant the copyright to you.”

“Indifferent” doesn’t mean anything. Most legal actions taken by a company are done without public knowledge. We send takedown requests for illegal copies of our books to file stealing sites, and then we send some more to other sites. We don’t publish a list of our legal actions.


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