Is it a sin to download by torrent?

I mean, to use sites like The Pirate Bay, KickAss,… to download movies, or videogames, or another thing?

Note: I’m not american, so law in my country could be different.

You are bound to obey the laws of your country. As a Christian, it would behoove you to also obey the laws that protect the creator of the art (music, film, etc.) that you want to view. Stealing is simply not cool.

Downloading pirated digital content is theft.

As far as I know torrent downloads themselves are not necessarily immoral or illegal, but the kind of use you’re referring to almost certainly is.

Piracy is comparable to theft in the sense that it’s receiving benefit for services without paying the owners their dues, and generally against the law. Yes, it’s sinful.

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Oh!! Seriously?! Is it MORTAL sin?

Oh!! Seriously?! Is it grave matter?

Yes, it is grave.

It is potentially grave, especially if your only pirating to avoid paying for it. Gravity might be lessened if your unable to get a copy via a more proper method. Although, I’d recommend siding with caution.

Watching a pirated movie doesn’t have the same gravity as stealing food from a hungry person, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely innocent either. Whether it’s mortally grave? I can’t tell you; all that can be said is that it can be mortally grave - the level of gravity can be altered by many circumstances. Having said that, it’s a sin - and all sin should always be avoided.

EDIT: Please note that torrenting legal content (not exactly what your talking about, but just so we’re clear) is perfectly fine. Many mods use to be distributed via torrents, which would offer faster download speeds. These were provided for free by their authors, and are perfectly legal, meaning that there is no moral issue with this. Some people get caught up on torrenting and not what is being torrented.

Depriving a workman of their pay is one of the sins that cry out to heaven.

I have family in the TV/Film industry and in the music business. Piracy takes money out of their pockets.

How would you like it if my godson came and stole part of your paycheck?


If you know anything about copyright law, you know there are moral shades of gray to this matter because intellectual property law is largely composed on economic principles rather than moral principles. (The tax code is another example of this.)

However, the bottom line is that pirate downloading is generally illegal unless the item you are downloading is either in the public domain or you have been given permission to have a download of it (some artists allow and encourage sharing of their work to a certain extent). As for the gravity of the sin, either ask your priest or use your conscience. There is no way we can all sit here and be the morals police for a complicated issue; figuring out the legal issues for IP law is often pretty complicated without having to throw moral ones into the mix.


We are bound to obey natural law.
Secular laws may conflict with natural law.

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I would say that if you would have paid to see the movie or buy the DVD then it is stealing. Donate the equivalent money to Church or a charity.

Showing it to others makes what is likely a venial matter more grave.

Conversely if the movie is well dated I see little immorality. The industry itself becomes morally questionable when they have already received good profit over the years and they are now essentially making money out of fresh air.

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Yes, I find it bothersome if I have already paid to have some work in one or two formats and then they want to charge again, often exorbitantly, because it is a new format.

Not to mention the cases where little or no money is going to the actual artist or even to the company that sponsored the initial work.

Or the cases where a work is simply very old/ obscure and unavailable anywhere else.

Because of my work I have encountered dozens of variations of such themes, most of which are beyond the average downloader, but at the same time I cannot in good conscience encourage anyone to violate the laws of their country (which again, vary country to country).

If your goal is to get something without paying for it, and you don’t have the permission of the artist to do this activity, then it’s bad.

If you are in one of these other more complicated situations, where you perhaps have paid for the work and even paid multiple times, then like I said, reason it out, and know that you may still be breaking the law of the land.

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If you started a “Pirate Party” locally, I don’t know how it would interfere. Doing so might be complicated. If you have downloaded copyrighted material related to the industry where they offer inexpensive rights purchases I think you know the answer. Still, I grew up in a time when a child was using Limewire or something and his poor mom with a low paying job was sued by the industry for like $7,000. They dropped the case because it was horrible based on her circumstances. It’s really funny how that works.

The justice system is wacky when it rewards the wealthier party at the expense of the poor, isn’t it?

Check out this article and tell me what’s up with it?:

Like, is that the law or just the RIAA making Thomas Jefferson turn over in his grave because they are acting like the King of England pre-Revolution?

Surely this only applies to just laws though. Of course I agree that most anti-piracy laws are just, I just want to make a distinction.

That’s right. The law of the Roman Empire was that you had to sacrifice to the Roman Gods, but the True God would never bind a Christian to do that.

Regardless of what the law is in your country, it IS stealing and therefore a sin!
You are ALSO COVETING what belongs to another.

Please define stealing…
You will find the matter is not as b&w as your post suggests.

2401 The seventh commandment forbids unjustly taking or keeping the goods of one’s neighbor and wronging him in any way with respect to his goods. It commands justice and charity in the care of earthly goods and the fruits of men’s labor. For the sake of the common good, it requires respect for the universal destination of goods and respect for the right to private property. Christian life strives to order this world’s goods to God and to fraternal charity.

“Wronging him in ANY way” is pretty darned clear.

Yet if 2401 were as clear as you assume then the next 4 pages would not be needed to explain the phrases:

respect to his goods…

For the sake of the common good, it requires respect for the universal destination of goods and respect for the right to private property…

Which is clearly not making an absolute out of private property.

I particularly draw attention to items 2403, 2404, 2405, 2408,2424.

Applied reason is needed in many cases to decide when the reasonable will of the owner is not in fact reasonable and so alleged theft/wronging is not always wronging or theft.

The issue is far more nuanced than your simplistic view appears to allow for.

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