Illegal downloads...need help with sticky situation

Hi Everyone,

I need help!!! My husband and I love the show “Big Love”. We don’t have cable so previously we have watched it by getting the DVDs from Netflix. The new season just started and my sister said that she would be happy to download the episodes 2 at a time and send them to us. I told her “Great, thank you so much!!” I assumed she meant download them from HBO or some legal site. Then i realized that might not be the case, so I asked her. She said “We use a file sharing site so like 100 people each share 1% of an episode so that it’s not illegal”. I think the site they use is

Since I’m pretty sure this site is basically just circumventing the law, I’m not planning to accept the DVDs. However, I don’t know what the best way of approaching my sister about this is…The back story is that she is an evangelical Christian (very anti-Catholic) and when my husband and I were received into the Church a month ago, she was very upset. I don’t want this to be another thing that she says “OH, those holier-than-thou Catholics” about, but I also do not want to compromise my integrity by accepting the DVDs.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

I think the questions would be:

Does some entity own the copyright to this work?

Did I pay the copyright owner to license their work for viewing?

If someone owns the copyright, and you do not have a license to view it, well, I think you know the answer.

Thanks for the reply.

Yes, I know the answer, but what is the best way to talk to my sister without sounding “holier than thou”?

Any advice?

I like how they always default with us having to be perfect in every way, and even a minor flaw construdes that we are not even Christian… Remember what’s said about the plank and the sliver to counter that one. Also, remember, unlike your protestant friend, we aren’t trying to be better, from the outside in, just the other way around, and again, remember when Christ talks about the cup being clean inside, makes it clean outside, not the other way around.

Well, if you just want to refuse politely, how about just saying that you are not comfortable doing that?

Say, “Nah, I don’t want to take a chance with those huge fines! We’ll wait til it comes out on DVD.”

What would St. Anne Line do in this case? (I had never heard of her so I had to look up some articles about her.) She was courageous and full of love. I can understand why you picked her as your confirmation saint.

Do you love your sister?

Yes? Then let her know that. Especially if she says something to the effect that you are “holier than thou”. I cannot tell you the exact words. React to any negative response with love. :hug3:

St. Kolbe is my favorite example of love in a negative place (well modern day example).

When are you going to talk to her? Let us know please.

God bless

I don’t think that’s a very realistic response. Has anyone ever been fined for simply VIEWING pirated DVDs? I very much doubt it. Selling them yes…

Just tell her you’ve thought about but you’ve decided it’s not right to watch something you don’t have the legal right to view–something for which the copyright owner is not being compensated. If the copyright holder isn’t being paid, either by the viewer or by advertising, then it’s stealing and you want no part of it.

Mam with all due respect and love, maybe before you question the reciveing of the Dvd’s, you should question the integrity of the show? If im not mistaken its about a polyigamist.

Secondly, Christ calls us all to be an example to all, we are his ministry, shes anti-catholic, then show her what catholics are about, following the law’s which God almighty himself laid down for us.

Being moral, not stealing, and staying away from lust.

Congratulations on the conversion,

Christ’s love be with you and your family.


Hi everyone,

Thanks for your advice. I am planning to talk to my sister soon. I will be praying that I will be able to show her love and help her to understand my view. Our relationship is strained, so I definitely don’t want anything else to drive a wedge between us, but I also want her to know where I stand and why.

I will keep you all updated.

Thank you!

How your sister judges you is irrelevant. Christ’s judgment is the only judgment that matters.

And how about just saying “no thank you” to the DVDs?

I am blind and for the past 4 years or so I have been using a pirated copy of Freedom Scientific Jaws because nothing else was available. Jaws costs nearly $1300 or so, many blind people do nothave jobs and live on SSI, social security income.
Recently I have been going to confession once every week or every two weeks. I recently got my marriage blessed got my two-year-old sighted son baptised. My wife is blind too shhe is not catholic. So anyway I confessed this. So then a few years ago a company called Serotek released a screen reader called System Access, apple came out and put a screen reader on all of their devices for free, and NVDA screen reader also came out. A screen reader simply turns text on the screen into synthetic speech using a text to speech synthesizer. So after coming back fully to the church going to confession and communion, and confession I found out serotek has this build a bundle option where I can rent the screen reader, mobile network or combinations of the two for just $9.95 per month. Or I can pay $39.95 and pay it off in two years, or I can pay in full and get it instantly, or pay $24.95 being locked into a four year contract which I do not want to do. But the point is that I’ve confesed this sin of pirating Jaws and all of a sudden an option opens up, seems like God gives me something totally unexpected! not only is system access better than Jaws, I can afford it! and is a free version of System Access by Serotek and NVDA is free also.
But one last request. I really like the Eloquence speech synthesizer, neoospeech, scansoft and acapela voices. There are currently nvda-speech drivers that tie eloquence into nvda but using the drivers and eloquence is illegal because I did not pay for them. I can use nvda legally and espeak legally and festival-tts legally because they are free. the others? no. So could you guys on here help me out? Here is my idea for getting what I want, legally.
I want to be able to use eloquence, neospeech and others with NVDA. I can use sapi5 versions but they are not very responsive at all! If they were tied into nvda using special .py driver files they would be more useable. ok my idea. letsyou donate to the nvda project but when you donate you get nothing in return save the fact you’re doing a good thing. So I would like to sell nvda-specific text to speech synthesizers like multilingual eloquence multilingual neospeech and others. Everytime someone buys one of these to use with NVDA, a portion of the money gets donated to nvaccess. You simply put the files and folders in a specific place in the computer or on your thumb drive with portable NVDA, and you can take the synthesizers with you for use on any computer.
Also if there is anyone out there nvaccess and the nvda-project needs help. What would really make nvda take off is if someone out there could generously write video application hooking libraries for nvda and give nvda an off-screen model and mouse pointer/review cursor. So please whoever reads this pass the word onto friends family and co-workers I’m sure someone will be willing to help. Video hooking libraries will let nvda work with many more applications than it currently does. It currently gets all its informmation from microsoft active accessibility and UI-automation accessibility framework. Video hooking will let it gather much more information about objects text icons and windows on the screen and will let us do nice nifty things like graphics icon and button labeling, auto-graphics labeling and more! Please help me out people by doing what you can. for me who only gets $50 or so a month in spending money to spend $9.95 on system access plus $25 setup fee can put a dent in spending mony. having a free solution would be great! Knoppix-adriane Linux and Ubuntu Linux are coming along good but the world runs on Windows mostly so lets focus on NVDA please?
my blog is at
email jkenn337 [at sign] gmail [dot] com
Josh Kennedy

Hi everyone,

Just to update you all, I spoke to my sister yesterday. She actually brought it up before I had a chance to and said “Oh, remind me to send you Big Love this week.” I replied “Oh, about that, I’m just going to wait until it comes out on Netflix, but thank you”. I had previously asked her if the site she used was illegal or if she got it off of the HBO website or anything, so she was fully aware of the reason that I wanted to wait for Netflix. She replied “Okay, of course”.

I’m glad that it all worked out and that there was no drama involved. What an answer to prayer! I think I stressed about it too much but at least it’s over and I did the right thing…

Thanks again for all of your help. God bless you all.

This particular occasion has passed, and I’m glad it went well, anneline. It’s always nice when conversations with family members about moral issues don’t turn into big fights. It’s also much too rare. You’ve been blessed, if in a small way.

Nonetheless, I feel I should throw in that there’s no reason why the sharing and downloading of television shows over the internet should be considered immoral. Now, granted, in the case of file-sharing and downloading copyrighted music, copyrighted movies, copyrighted software, and other things like that, I think there’s a good case to be made that file-sharing contravenes the civil order to the unjust detriment of the producers of creative works. But in the specific and particular case of file-sharing episodes from a television show, there is no morally relevant distinction between downloading a copy from the internet and borrowing a tape-recorded (or TiVo’d) version from a friend. Since video tape-recording and tape-sharing are long-established under Supreme Court case law as being entirely legal, there is no reason for us to treat file-sharing any differently. There is no contravention of the civil or moral order in downloading television shows from the Internet – especially if the episodes aren’t yet available on DVD.

So, if you’re comfortable with it, I think you should feel no worries about going back to your sister, getting those DVD’s, and enjoying the show. The producers and actors will be glad you were able to get caught up – that means you start watching live again, which means you see their advertisements, which means they start making money off you again.

Except that it’s an HBO show, which doesn’t have ads, so maybe not. Nonetheless! If you can tape it, you can share it.

Or so it seems to me. Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.

For a few years I downloaded peer to peer music for my IPOD, but I didn’t think it was wrong. Here’s why. Almost all of the songs I downloaded I had already paid for as I had the 45’s and albums. I don’t do this anymore, I now download on ITUNES for the ones I missed.

There is also a few phono players out now that you can actually play a record on and burn a cd. I found this very helpful for both downloading into my IPOD and also for getting rid of or selling the records.

However, I think the music industry needs to calm down a little on this. Teenagers probably don’t own the music, but others do. Part of the enticement of this is you can download only one song instead of buying the CD, though I have done that too for just one song.

I’m glad there are more legal sites with reasonable fees. And you do have a point with TIVO. I am sure the networks absolutely hate it, but of course you’re going to skip over commercials, moreover some of them aren’t good anyway.

I love it because I can tape the EWTN shows as well as the network and cable ones and be able to watch them over and over if I like.

Hi my friend,

First of all let me welcome you to the Faith! It is awesome to have another conversion. Praise Christ!

It’s good to hear you have recognized the right choice and plan on confronting your sister. I understand what you saying with the whole “holier than thou” bit. But as Catholics we must remember what Christ himself says to us in Luke, “you will be hated by the world for my name’s sake” (Luke 21:17). Personally, this is rather comforting. So basically where we are at in today’s society is right where we should be. So if we are “hated” because of Christ than we are right where we are supposed to be. It is the par. Remember, Christianity is not an easy path, but at the end of the road it will all be worth it when we get to see our Savior face to face.

Hope this helps. I will say a prayer for you.


-Matt :thumbsup:

I do not believe torrent sites are legal if the material is copyrighted. I do not believe it is the same thing as someone recording it on a VCR and lending it to you as someone seemed to imply. I would stay away from it and rent it when it comes out again, myself. Sometimes you just have to imagine that you work for the company or network or show or what have you. They have the right to determine who and how their programming can be watched. People who work should be paid for the work they did, or have agreed to allow the work to be used in a certain way.

Ah. This is a good point. Back before my home was networked, I occasionally got stymied (because of hardware mismatches) and iTunes DRM made it literally impossible for me to listen to files I had legally purchased over iTunes. I downloaded the files via a torrent instead, and I hope there’s not a court in the land that would convict me of any crime for that – I owned the data, after all. I just needed to move it in a way that the anti-piracy measures prevented me from doing (ironically forcing me to piracy).

Quite so, quite so.

Actually, no they don’t have that right. That’s the whole point behind that Supreme Court decision. In the 1980’s, the TV industry attempted to make VCR’s illegal for home use, because they called VCR recording unlicensed duplication of their material. Which it is. But the Court overruled them, saying that (quoting Wikipedia here), “the making of individual copies of complete television shows for purposes of time-shifting does not constitute copyright infringement, but is fair use.” The decision was Sony v. Universal. You can look it up.

The point is, copyright holders do not have the right determine who watches their material and how. They have the right to be compensated for viewing, but their powers in that department are strictly limited by the Constitution.

The fact that so many people today believe that they do have that right, and equate file-sharing to theft, is a sign of nothing other than the effectiveness of copyright industry propaganda. There are serious moral questions (and answers) in the file-sharing discussion, but it would be best for everyone to just clear their mind of all the copyright cant they’ve picked up and start fresh from basic Catholic moral principles. IMHO.

I am not sure that I understood the last sentence of your reply, Wow.

But I was already acknowledging that that supreme court decision when I said that file sharing is not viewed as the same thing as VCR copying. I do know about that particular supreme court decision. But there is a difference between someone making a copy and letting others borrow the copy, and somebody making it freely available to thousands of people while all own the copy at the same time. Recording something on a VCR is not illegal as per the supreme court case you cite. File sharing copy righted material I am pretty sure is. Which is why anyone can take any of their copy righted tv shows off of say, youtube, if they simply say that hey have not given permission.

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