Is file sharing a sin?

A friend of mine downloads music and movies via p2p programs such as LimeWire. I want to know: Is this considered a form of stealing? I personally don’t think so, but I have heard contrary opinions to my own, and would like to know if this practice is a sin or not.

I think it depends on your view of copyright law and the details. There is not one set opinion. My, uneducated, opinion is that it is ok to tabe a song on the radio or otherwise record it for personal use.

I agree with that, but I think the legality/morality of it ends when one makes thousands of copies of the song/album/movie and distributes them for a profit. I think downloading for personal use is OK, but I just wanted to make sure.

Are they denying someone their fair share of profits?

Taping a TV Show for personal viewing later - No, Free to begin with.

Copying music from a CD you own to your computer or MP3 Player - No, you already bought it.

Copying music from a CD your friend has - Yes, you should buy the music for yourself.

Downloading music that is copyrighted and is currently on for sell. - Yes you should buy the music.

It is stealing to download music or movies that you are not paying for. I use to use the agrument that I wouldn’t buy the music, so I’m not denying the artist their profits. But that is wrong, I would still be using the music for my own personal use without just compensation.

If they are free movies or if someones offers their music for free, then it is not stealing.

Fortunately, (or unfortunately depending on your position) we live in a capitalistic society (at least in the US) where people are and rightly so compensated for their work. It is a pipedream to believe that we should be able to get whatever we want just because we want it.

So download away if you want to steal.

By that logic, then, it should be “illegal” to watch a movie at a friend’s house (since you’re not paying for it, but still enjoying the movie). And taping a movie that is shown on TV should be considered “wrong” as well.

If a DVD is released at one store at a price of $30.00, shouldn’t buying it at a cheaper price somewhere else also be “stealing” then, by your argument? (Since you’re stealing five bucks (or ten, or whatever the difference in price may be) from the producers of the DVD.)

Copying music from a CD your friend has - Yes, you should buy the music for yourself.

There’s nothing wrong with doing that. The copyright laws only prohibit illegal distribution of copied CDs. For instance, if I were to make a thousand copies of a CD and distribute them for a profit, that would be stealing money from the real producer of the CD, as well as claiming the work was my own. If, however, I were to make a copy of my friend’s disk for my own personal use, I would not be breaking any law because I would not be taking possession of anything that did not belong to me. Anyway, that’s what CD-Rs are for, right?

No - it’s not the same. If you are watching it at a friend’s house, and the friend either rented it or bought the movie, then that copy of the movie has been paid for and the friend is entitled to watch it as many times as they please. The friend is not letting you borrow the movie to copy, right?

If you have heard contrary opinions, it is because someone is incorrect and masking a sin.

It is stealing - when you download something that is not your’s and you have not paid for this, then you are stealing someones talent - which they should get paid for.

You can rationalize all you like…but you are still in the wrong.

Do yourself the favor and pay the 99cents for a legal copy and feel proud that you have given the artist their fair share.

But in the case of these downloaded movies, someone HAS paid for the DVD, then ripped it to their computer, and shared it. It’s exactly the same as if they are showing it to you at their house. They paid for it, they’re sharing it, you’re watching it.

At any rate, it’s not like they’re benefiting from sharing it online.

I meant opinions contrary to MINE. Next time try to understand what a person has said before jumping to conclusions.

yeah - you stated that downloading for personal use is ok. It’s stealing. Did I misread that?

Way to close an argument…

Not at all. It is the truth. You asked a question - I stated the truth.

You can say that all you want, but until you back up your points with reasonable arguments, I won’t take you very seriously.

OK - it’s up to you. I will be spending my 99 cents because my sister heads an international patent law firm in Boston. I’ll listen to my very wise older sis. You feel free to do what ever.:wave:

Though, those poor saps being prosecuted for such personal downloading would have sided with you at one point.

You asked a question and did not like the true answer. No matter.

I don’t do it myself, of course, as I prefer to pay for what I obtain. But technically there’s nothing legally or morally wrong with file sharing. At least IMO.

Depends on if its copyrighted material.

downloading music that is not supposed to be downloaded for free is stealing…to define it better, you must understand who owns the music and its rights…the average person who uploaded the cd (or movie) to an unauthorized site, or allows you to download it from their own site, is usually NOT the owner of those rights…if you’ve ever read the fine print on a CD or movie you have bought you’ll see the contract you and the studio/record company have which typically restricts you from doing anything that mass distributes the media…so unless you are getting it free from the owner of the media, it is stealing (since it came from an unauthorized source). with that said, you can buy music, let someone borrow a CD or movie, etc…but duplicating (which is any form of copying) the media at any point is almost always prohibited unless you bought it from an authorized site for your own personal use… so remember, thou shalt not steal! :wink:

keep in mind that if the record company or motion picture company doesn’t make money then you are denying the artists, musicians and support staff that toil for your enjoyment, since that is how they get paid!

“technically” and “opinion” are not on the same realm.

Technically there is something ‘legally’ wrong with it under certain conditions/circumstances (i.e., if the material is copyrighted, if the ‘friend’ uploads it to a site which is under investigation for pirating, if the ‘friend’ uploads material by producers/artists openly known to object to having their material distributed in this manner, etc.). Laws are rather technical in their wording, so one cannot brushstroke a broad opinion of all file sharing as being right or wrong.

Morally, that’s not a matter of opinion either, as it is based upon the moral ‘law’ God inscribed into our hearts and onto stone tablets. Thou shalt not steal. Thus, once your investigation into the civil ‘legalities’ of participating in filesharing sites hits the first barrier of going against even one civil law, the decision you make to ignore or honor that law is on you. Moral law dictates you are to honor that law providing that law does not go against God’s law. To disregard the law - by your own intellectual reasoning - despite what you know about “Thou Shalt Not Steal” - puts you in the position of committing a mortal sin. Mortal because you know the civil law, you know God’s law, you know the consequences of choosing to disregard God’s law, and then you actually choose to follow through by disobeying that law.

God does not split hairs on matters such as these. Satan loves to rationalize every sin into being less of an offense than it really is. Do not succumb to his lies. Do your homework. Investigate the laws in your city, in your state, at your university (if you’re using university resources to access these file sharing sites) with regard to the particular site you or your friend are considering. IF everything you read confirms the files being uploaded can legally be downloaded, then your conscience is clear and you can participate. IF you find a single legal objection, I’d refrain until a civil ruling is made on the charge. Better safe than sorry.

If your friend wants the song that badly, let him pay $.99 for it, or better yet, do him a favor and buy it for him as incentive to stop risking his soul over a $ .99 song or a $1.99 movie (or whatever the going rate for paid movie downloading is).

Record companies and other such middlemen are overdoing it. They blame piracy using wishy-washy rhetorics about the artists suffering, but in fact, they also campaign to lower the royalties. They basically want profit at the expense of the artists and the customers.

If they could, they would deny the right to back-up copy. If they could, they would even remove the ability to buy a CD once and instead introduce a periodic payment. If they had a way to ban the ability to listen to music at a friend’s, they would do it. They’ve already criticised it. They seem to believe each and every family member should buy the song to listen to it. If they could, they would remove the ability to lend a CD to your friend even if you keep no copy for yourself for the time of lending it (and obviously take no money for it). They have had problems with copyrighted songs audible in people’s family recordings, such as when people record birthday celebrations. Reading about one such situation, I actually learnt that Happy Birthday is copyrighted. In fact, they would probably ban you from tuning a song if you didn’t own a CD or if someone could hear you.

I always prefer to give them the benefit of doubt - not as in believing in their good faith, but as in staying away from what they don’t want to give if it’s possibly legal for them. But I don’t have much respect for the laws they lobby in. Those are a parody of law. One should distinguish between laws based in morality, ethics, social values, and laws based on corporate interests and corporate money and corporate pressure. It’s not the same.

So if 1 and only 1 person buys a movie or cd and then post it on a p2p network, for everyone to download it is ok:rolleyes: The difference with watching it at a friends house is that you do not have it in your hands. It is still their copy. once you download it to your PC, you have your own illegal and immoral copy. There are now two copies. One is legal (The person that bought it) and one is illegal, the one on your PC.

If you are watching a streamed copy over the internet, then while I would still believe it to by immoral, I could understand the point of view where it wouldn’t be. This is because you don’t have a copy. That would be the equivalent of watching it a friends house. Downloading a copy that you can watch over and over again would be the equivalent of walking into Best Buy and sticking the movie under your coat and walking out, but much easier and less risky.

People will use any justification that they want to make themselves feel good. It is wrong. I won’t do it, and I won’t condone anyone else to do it.

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