If I used a video 2 mp3 converter online (vidtomp3.com/) to download it, then put it on my iPod to pray while I am driving, is this a sin? I spend a lot of time driving, and I usually have prayers on my iPod.
No- it’s not a sin. Unless you were deliberately distributing it on a commercial scale.
The fact is, there is little money made from selling recorded music today. A lot of musicians circulate music freely, by the internet, and few people would hope to make anything like a living out of selling recorded music. In fact, listening to things for free helps the artist, because it circulates their work.
If something is freely available to download on the internet, from a basically legitimate source, there cannot be an ethical problem- because it is fair to assume that something openly available is legal.
The record industry is dying- because of the proliferation of free circulation (e.g. netlabels, etc.), and also the ease with which artists can duplicate their own product and sell it themselves.
It is indeed about intention, but it is also about what is actually being done, taking into account circumstances as well that affect the material action. For instance, if I am torturing people with the intention of unwinding after a long day, then my intention is fine but my object is not. If I am playing tennis with the same intention but I am in church, no dice again - what I am doing is actually sacrilege.
One ought to consider at least two things in downloading music in the way described… Is it reasonable to think that the owner of the content has allowed it to be distributed on a platform when they know it can be easily downloaded for free? Would the downloader pay the market price for the content if he were not able to download it for free?
If the answer to the first one is “yes,” then it seems odd to see the taking of that good (which is not able to be exhausted in quantity!!!) as stealing. If “no” (like someone random uploads a new major film onto YouTube) but the answer to the second question is “no” too, then it seems that only the taking and spreading of the content would be wrong, inasmuch as those to whom it is distributed may have actually been willing to pay the market price. Honesty is required.
If the OP called the head honchos at EWTN, what is it reasonable to think they would say?
Theft us theft regardless of the intent/content.
Is the music/video open-source (free) or are you using a program that actually strips protected content?
If you’re not sure, check to see if you could pay a minimal fee for the download (buy a debit card from a store $25 for a fee of about $4] which usually have at least 4 years expiration date), and download all the music/videos you wish.