Downloading music

Is downloading music a sin? I’m aware how it is against the artists permission for this to happen but I don’t really understand much on it… Plus say if I downloaded it then bought it because I liked it in the future? This rule so sin can go very far aswell even to the point of listening to certain youtube videos etc since the person may have stole it etc and uploaded it… Any advice? Shall I delete all my downloaded music ?

If you subscribe to a TV service or music service or pay for individual downloads that is fine. Anything posted on youtube is fine since if an artist doesn’t consent they can have the copyrighted content removed. Downloading songs and movies that you don’t pay for using a bittorrent type service or pirate web site is not legal. Knowingly breaking civil laws is considered a sin.

In my opinion, the worst that can be said about internet downloading is that it may be unethical but certainly doesn’t rise to the legal definition of “theft.” In order for a theft to occur, something has to be taken from the legal owner who is deprived of its use. Downloading a copy does not take anything from anyone and does not deprive use to the legal owner. In many ways, it is like getting a book from the library, reading it, then returning it without paying a fee. What keeps me from going over the line of saying that it is morally wrong is the fact that just because someone downloads something doesn’t mean that they were going to buy it in the first place. The “lost revenue” argument does not work.

I personally think that Youtube is the biggest facilitator of piracy in the world today, though many who oppose internet downloading have no problem with it. There is certainly legal recourse for an artist to have their product removed though it doesn’t seem to be something that is of much concern to the artists or music companies. Ultimately, it isn’t really a big deal.

Saying that Catholics have a duty to respect and observe just laws is a far cry from saying that breaking a civil law is a sin.

In my opinion, downloading illegaly is a sin.

No one is saying that copyright infringement is theft. It is simply copyright infringement that is illegal under Federal and International laws. If you are caught infringing copyright you can be held civilly liable for up to $150,000 in civil damages. You can also be held criminal liable if you are the one distributing the copyrighted content.

Thanks for your replies… I see truth from every post !

The question was “is downloading music a sin?,” not “does it subject one to fines derived from copyright infringement?”

What you are referencing is true criminal activity, not someone downloading a song to listen to in their home. This hardly rises to the level of sin.

I need help. I paid for a set of 10 fitness DVDs online and never received them by post. I was thinking that if I find them online and downloaded them it would not be illegal for me since I paid for them and did not receive them. I got close to the end of downloading them and decided to just stop the download and delete them.

I did view quickly a couple of them as I was downloading them to see how they were. I never used them and never completed the whole download. Do I have anything to worry about. Is this a sin of grave matter or only treated as venal sin since I paid for it only wanting to get what I paid for.

I don’t see the point of buying music when you’ve already downloaded it. Or if a friend sends you a track, with a “Hey, you should listen to this!” Why buy it if you already have it?

Every recording has a copyright. You can be quite certain that if it was downloaded by J-cg45N7, that it’s not a legal copy. Copyright just means the right to copy, and it includes the right to distribute music as the owner sees fit. If the music you have is from sites you know to be pirate sites then erase it and buy it. youtube has cover music or movie clips where the background music has been changed. Both are likely there without the permission of the copyright holder. The same with music videos. If it doesn’t say EMI Music Video, for example, then it’s likely to be an illegal download. If several versions are available from


then they are all likely to be illegal.


Which goes a long way to avoid answering the question “is downloading music a sin?”

Yes. It falls under stealing.


Uh, no it doesn’t.

If someone downloads something from another, then who has a theft been committed against? Who has been deprived of their property? I’m not talking about copyright violations; I’m talking about “theft.”

Just because something can be turned into digital bits does not mean it stops becoming property. When someone buys something on iTunes, they receive nothing?

It’s time to expose the lie that digital bits are not property. Netflix makes money streaming digital bits to your computer - that is real property. That’s real money you’re giving them, even though physical paper does not change hands.


Then answer this; who is deprived their property if one person makes a copy for another? If I fabricate a wheelbarrow based on the design of a Craftsman, would you say that I “stole” anything? Internet downloading as a means to avoid buying something may be unethical at its worst but it certainly doesn’t rise to the level of theft or, most especially, sin. If someone buys something on iTunes, then they have a right to it. If they decide to mail it to a friend of theirs, then it becomes theft? Please. We’ve heard for decades how new recording devices would spell doom and gloom for the movie and the music industry and it hasn’t happened yet, anymore than copy machines have put publishers out of business. People pay Netflix for the service, not the digital bits. It isn’t the same thing.

What service? They pay money and get nothing in return? The FBI disagrees and it’s costing billions of dollars in lost revenues.

I used to get phone calls from Kinkos. They went like this: “Hi. I have a customer here who wants to copy an entire book from your company. Can he do that?” The answer I gave, 100% of the time, was no.

It’s called digital theft.

From a comic book publisher that’s been around for years.

“The other trend that is impacting comic sales is the pirating of work. In some cases we saw our books go up before they were even shipped. We’ve been pretty aggressive going after them, but they spring up as fast as you can put them out there. Until copyrights and trademarks are respected that will also have an impact. Most people are honest but some people feel they have the right to steal this material. What they don’t realize, is that if it continues, they’ll eventually put creators out of this business because they can’t afford to not get paid for their work. Obviously the publishers feel the same way. We put a lot of effort and work into the projects we do, and it’s not appropriate for people to steal them. Unfortunately we have a society where a certain segment feels that it’s fine to steal material.”


Yeah, you’ve said that before and I still find it hard to believe that a clerk at Kinkos would do such a thing. But for the sake of argument, how much of the book is it ok to copy? 10%? 20%? What if he copies 20% of it on five separate occasions? Is that theft? The question is, who has been deprived of their property? To simply call it “digital theft” opens a Pandoras box of untold magnitude. Is the woman who copies a poem out of a book before she returns it to the library a thief because she put it on her refrigerator without permission of the publisher? What about the person who loans a dvd to his neighbor so he can watch the movie without paying for it? Where do we draw the line?

The FBI has drawn the line.

The US Justice Department has drawn the line.

Billions of dollars are being lost is a fact that some choose to ignore.

When I see one of our books scanned cover to cover on a file sharing site owned by anonymous in Uzbekistan, what do you call that? It’s stealing. We’ve lost a minimum of one sale but, by all accounts, likely more. That’s stealing. Put up more of our books and payment for something we need may be delayed.

We send out takedown notices on a regular basis. And they are required by law to take our material down. It doesn’t matter if it reappears a week later. Another takedown notice gets sent.

Some people think nothing is being done about this. That’s incorrect:


As opposed to someone checking it out at the library for free?

The fallacy in this whole “billions in lost revenue” argument is the supposition that anyone who downloads something was actually on their way to the store to buy it. It doesn’t work that way.

To steal means to take something that belongs to another. I will ask you one more time; if I scan a book that I borrowed from my neighbor, from whom did I steal?

It is another fallacy to suggest that once something is sold, the creator still has some sort of say in regard to its use. If you own it, its yours.

You stole from the only person or entity that has the “right to copy.” You have no right to do this.


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