I found this thread while I was searching for information on whether one should confess “sins” like software piracy and illegal media download. While I fail to find definite answer, what I read allowed me to formulate my own opinion.
The words or action can be classified as right or wrong based on three rules:
*]Ethical - based on the accepted norms and protocols of the society; society here can be a the neighborhood, work place, culture, professional association, etc. Ethical rules may or may not be written.
*]Legal - based on the written laws formulated by the government and imposed either by the state or by local government using the police and the courts.
*]Moral - absolute standards of right and wrong as mandated by God and best determined through one’s conscience.
There are several overlaps in these three rules. Murder, for example, is wrong legally, morally, and ethically, and all three also agree that killing someone in self-defense is not wrong.
Some violations are ethical but neither legal nor moral. If you are a student writing his or her thesis and you forgot to provide citation on some of the information that you use, you probably deserve to fail and not to graduate, but you certainly do not deserve to go to jail or to hell.
Internet piracy, counterfeit copy, and similar wrong-doings would fall under both legal and ethical domains but not under the moral domain. The only way I could think of that would make it morally wrong is if you sell a pirated copy and try to pass it off as legal copy.
The sacrament of confession is only for doing actions that are morally wrong.
That often repeated statement that “piracy is stealing” is nothing but an empty rhetoric promulgated by big media companies. Piracy is piracy and stealing is stealing. I haven’t heard any of these companies suing pirates for theft or robbery, but they sue them for violation of laws that are specifically about media piracy.