How can I repair past wrongs I've done with regards to Intellectual Property?

Hi guys,

As I indicated in another thread my position on intellectual property in relation to Catholic moral theology has recently changed and I now think most file sharing without the artist’s permission is wrong. Although I stopped actively file sharing after this, I am struggling with reparation for my past file sharing. I can see how to repair for files I have received - delete them and, if I really want them, buy it again legitimately. More problematic is the issue of when I’ve made copies for friends. My friends are not willing to delete the music I gave them, and I honestly can’t blame them for that. So I am trying to find a way to repair the injustice I caused on my end. I have thought about re-buying the music for myself, but the problem with that is that the copies my friends have are often ripped off disks I lent them, so I would still be in the state of sharing my copy unjustly, even if I paid for 2. If that is a problem, I thought about just giving them the CD and then re-buying the music via download, but I am not sure. How can I repair the wrongs I’ve done?

Volunteer with your parish, rigorously work towards your improvement (all self-improvement ultimately helps others, otherwise it wouldn’t be self-improvement at all), enact the theological and cardinal virtues, pray, worship, work.

We cannot undo what we have done through good, because when we do good, we do what we are suppose to do, and when we do evil, we do what we aren’t suppose to do. So although we can prevent ourselves from going further into debt by doing good, we cannot undo the debt we have already accumulated. We experience God’s grace, and then we do penance as a demonstration of our love.

It sounds like you’ve done your due diligence. :thumbsup:

Certainly buying a copy of any file you’ve illegally downloaded and used may be appropriate.

For those copies you sent to friends, you could buy a legitimate copy and send that copy to your friend. That would be a good witness to your friend, as well as making suitable reparation to the artist. If this option is a considerable financial burden, then it may not be appropriate; it may be disproportionate to the actual harm done. You could discuss this matter with a priest, with regards to when reparation is too big an imposition. A priest may, for example, suggest that rather then spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on such things, that time spent in prayer for the artists and your friends may be suitable.

I think if you discuss this with an good priest you may get good guidance.

I would encourage you to talk to a priest about this and get his counsel as to what reparation he felt was appropriate.

You cannot dictate what your friends do with what you gave them. That ship has sailed.

Second this advice. There are just too many possible variables in this type of circumstance that a confessor that knows you is the best judge of what to do here.

As an alternative you might give an equivalent sum of money to charity. Perhaps a Music Industry charity to help struggling performers.


Sorry for necroing this thread, but I asked about this at Confession a couple of weeks ago and the Priest didn’t really answer my question, but he absolved me from my sins as usual. I’m still not sure of what to do about this (I haven’t done much, in part because of my uncertainty and in part because of limited time and money) and am afraid I am living in sin because of this. I certainly do want to repair my sins but am just unsure how and haven’t gotten the opportunity - should I be worried?

The forgiveness of sins is not dependent upon reparation offered. If you confessed and were absolved, you are forgiven.

OK, so with the money I received as a Christmas gift I believe I will now be able to finish off making reparations, financially, by buying copies of the albums for each time I’ve shared them before. However, I was wondering if it would be OK to donate the copies of the albums to charity or a library rather than give them to my friends who already have them? This would still solve the problem of the artists and labels getting their money, but would technically not solve the legal aspect of it, although that aspect is more or less impossible to enforce and meaningless outside the moral issue I just mentioned.

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