Illicit duplication of copyrighted DVDs and CDs

A friend of mine has a CD / DVD duplicator and is very engaged in apostolic work of various kinds. Anyways, I’m wondering if it is a sin to duplicate copyrighted DVDs and CDs and just hand them out on a large scale to persons. His basic intention in itself as good is presupposed and he is handing them out at no cost.

His intentions are well however if he is distributing copyrighted material without the consent of the holder of the copyright, unfortunately he is breaking the law in doing so.

Why doesn’t he buy them? It falls under theft.


If he were just making one copy for himself it wouldn’t be a big deal, but he really needs to get permission before copying them wholesale. It doesn’t matter if he’s giving them away - it’s still illegal.

Amen!!. As an author myself, stealing my work deprives me of the funds necessary to pay the editors, printers, website, website support, shipping and handling costs, taxes, business license costs, and a host of other costs. Not to mention the other authors who I will purchase freelance work from. The disclaimer on commercially available DVDs states that copyright infringement is a federal offense. Up to five years and $250,000.00. Your friend better watch out that he/she doesn’t get a visit from the FBI. I know if the damage were great enough, I’d be on the horn to the Feds. And if the work he/she is stealing is from a larger publishing house, bet the ranch a visit from Seeley Booth will be in the works.

Just sayin ! (P.S. Seeley Booth is a fictional FBI agent on a popular TV show) - just in case you didn’t get the cultural reference :slight_smile:

To the OP. As a poster above said, it is theft - stealing. I think there is a commandment? in that regard. If he steals the works and it is worth say $500.00, I think that is stealing. Knowing that and thoughtfully and willfully choosing to do it,might get his/her in trouble with someone bigger than the FBI.

Just sayin!

I’m in the book business. I’m in the middle of all that. It’s sad to see our work on a pirate site. We send takedown notices regularly. But on a physical medium you can pass out to people? We have the right of control over how our IPs are distributed.


I feel your pain!. Don’t want to hijack the thread, but unless the law is enforced, why bother to write,and the loss of talented authors will slow to a trickle if not dry up completely. Publishing a book (even if self-published) is an expensive process. But I don’t have to tell you that.

It’s stealing. It’s a sin.

I understand the temptation. I have copied stuff for my own use (not to give away to others). I make excuses for it, but I have also begun to recognize it as a sort of inordinate attachment to worldly goods. I’ve already deleted a lot — you know, the stuff I can easily live without — but there are several CDs that I enjoy but don’t want to buy. Maybe I’ll fully repent and delete the rest… next Lent? Maybe sooner.

Thanks everyone. It’s a bone of contention between my friend and I. I always speak up about it whenever he mentions copying also known as pirating media. I generally receive a good natured " shut up!" But I just admonish him all the more. He has produced his own media on DVD which he regularly distributes to anybody and everybody as part of his apostolate. Consequently he thinks everyone else who produces media should do the same whether they agree to it or not.

I don’t know… here we pay a pretty heft “tax” on blank CDs that I believe goes to the music industry. It was something like an extra $21 per 100 CDs. Would those who bought CDs and paid this “tax” be exempt from any moral wrong doings by copying music onto them? Honestly I just order my blank CDs online and avoid this nonsense altogether.

I’m not worried about it myself as almost everything I copy is to clean up from an analogue source and are of fairly obscure artists. I would like to think those artists would be happy for me while shaking their fists at the Japanese company that shall remain nameless which bought out all the American record companies and has helped ruin the music industry. Makes you wonder who really won WWII after this company has been allowed to have its hand at ruining the culture of music in the west as we buy Japanese cars by the million at the expense of our own economy.

But yeah, I don’t know. :shrug:

Not necessarily. What about newlyweds who give out mix CD’s for souvenirs at wedding receptions? Those are duplicated 100x a pop in some cases, per wedding, per day. Are you suggesting that those wedding gift mix CD’s are illegal?

What about music mix CD’s (mix tapes of the pre-CD era) someone gives to friends or family? That’s not illegal.

Not really. Its something that he probably shouldn’t do but since he isn’t making anything off of it, then one can’t really say that he is committing “theft.” And as far as it being a sin…uh, no.

Oh, but many will say that you can’t do that (I always reply with, “sure I can; you just put a blank CD in this little try, click this button and presto!”).

Personally, if I have a CD that I want to make a copy and give it to a friend, I’ll do it with a clean conscience. If I can’t do that, then I can’t loan a book, movie, cd, or even check anything out from the library because I’m not paying for it and that’s “stealing” (:rolleyes:).

Now, would I mass produce something and sell it for $5 a pop? No, that would not be ethically right but this craziness of not being able to copy things that you own is insane to me. “Theft” is taking something that belongs to someone else. If I copy a CD that I own, then what have I taken and from whom have I taken it?

I can’t begin to count the number of bands I first heard about because someone gave me a mix tape with them on it – including U2 (who are still regarded as a “Christian” band), way before “Joshua Tree” and way before anyone had heard of them. Was anybody selling these to me? No. They were sharing it with me. Nobody’s copyright was being violated.

Oh, I agree. Same story here. When peer to peer downloading was the big thing I discovered artists that I would have never heard of before and bought many CDs of theirs.

I think there is quite a gray area here. To copy for oneself a tv show or even an old movie (I have High Noon & Music Man on my computer) is one thing, but to make multiple copies & give them away is different. In the case of the OP’s friend, he’s copying Catholic materials. The Catholics who make & sell the originals aren’t getting rich. They may need that money to keep their ministries going. We know a family that has a ministry that includes selling dvds of their performances. They are far from wealthy. If I knew someone was copying & giving away their dvds, I’d give that person a dressing down & probably report him.

Not to many people here, it isn’t. They will tell you that it is stealing.

He may be breaking the law but I doubt he is committing a sin…he’s not charging for them & doing a good work. :thumbsup:

Distributing copies of legitimately copyrighted material is illegal. If the law is just and we should obey it then it would be sinful to do so. It isn’t however theft. Theft deprives a man of his property. No one is losing property he owns. It would be theft to steal a DVD from a store. It would be theft to steal a copied DVD from the man who copied it. But it isn’t theft to copy a DVD and give it to someone else. Again, that doesn’t make it not sinful if the copyright law is just. Personally I think as a whole they are very unjust and the current laws were created to benefit corporations.

Yes, the copyright was violated. That doesn’t mean the law is just or wise. I completely agree that bands would be foolish to want strictly enforce copyright law. Also in computing we see that having specific copyrights that allow the free distribution and modification of software has been great for humanity.

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