Are We Bound to Observe the Civil Law?


I wish to ask this as I know that we are bound to the laws of the country provided they are not immoral laws. However I have read about disciplinary laws and this has made me confused.

I have a case in point. I use a small piece of software for my work in repairing computers. This software is free for home use, however for a technician to use it previously required a technician license which cost a small fee.

This is fine. However, they no longer sell technician licenses, but the Terms of Service still insist that a technician cannot use the software without one.

I don’t want to do the wrong thing, can you help me understand whether or not we are morally obligated to follow the Terms of Service?

Any help is very much appreciated.


The particular question is best suited for a response from an attorney specializing in contract law, copyrights, or intellectual properties.

Maybe someone on CAF has that experience, but if your answers start with “I think”, or “I would” without specific references, I wouldn’t hang my hat on the accuracy of these well meaning people.

Good Luck!


If they don’t currently offer the license, how could they expect you to obtain one?


If you attempted to get the license and then no longer sell it you have fulfilled the terms of service. If it would make you feel better make a contribution to your church in the same amount of the fee would’ve been .


I see, thank you. In terms of civil law, I understand that it may or may not be justified and that a layer would be better to give an answer on that.

In terms of moral law, though. Is it binding to us as Catholics to fulfil terms of services in general? In this case (and I’m using this case as an example for other ones) I more worry about moral law as taught to us by the Church rather than by civil law.

By that I mean, is it that we are bound under penalty of sin to observe civil law (except with evil laws) or is it more that the Church teaches that it is a pretty good idea to obey civil law, under penalty of civil law?


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