Is it a sin to watch copyrighted television shows and movies on Youtube?

Hmm, my wife told me about it, I’ll have to ask her where she heard it.

This is a sin I definitely need to work on >_>

What about stuff like anime, where’s there’s no way to purchase a version you can watch and understand. Would you consider fan-dubbing illegal? What if you intend to purchase a series once it releases in the US, assuming it ever does?

Also, what about things you legitimately cannot find anywhere? For instance, I spent a great deal of time trying to find a copy of The Langoliers, to no avail (at least not one that hadn’t had the prices gouged on it, stupid ebay…) After putting in a good faith effort to obtain it legally, would you still consider it a sin to download it? The same is true of a few musical artists I like who’s stuff is simply not sold in the US.

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I would say it is stealing, but you are at reduced culpability since you are simply using the product of someone else’s sin. Kind of like buying stolen merchandise off someone. I’d suggest going to confession if you feel really guilty about it and then invest in a DVR. :smiley:

Sorry, but partaking in or taking possession of something that is stolen in the knowledge that it is stolen is still theft. One would be an accessory to the crime and handling stolen goods is punished just as hard in law. There can be no justification for it.

I’ve asked three priests, on three separate occasions, if it is a sin to watch (not download) videos that might be in copyright violation. All three have told me that it is not a sin on my part because it is not my job to make sure everything I watch is in compliance with copyright law. That is the responsibility of whoever posted the video. Hope this helps.

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No sin, since you don’t know it was illegally posted.

Don’t make assumptions. Whatever happened to the concept of innocent until proven guilty?

And if everything is a sin, then nothing is a sin. This overscrupulosity diminishes and trivializes the impact of grave sin.

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I would agree with the Priests. Besides, how do we know videos on YouTube aren’t posted by the artist themself? Many musicans have their own YouTube channels.

I’ve seen TV shows on YouTube were the were uploaded by someone sitting in front of a TV with their phone recording the show. IMO, that’s no more different than the user inviting you into their home to watch said show.

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I’m sorry, but those priests are wrong.

To partake in something knowing that what you are partaking is there by illicit or illegitimate means is clearly wrong.

Obviously if you don’t know, then you aren’t sinning.

But it is usually reasonably obvious whether a video on the internet has been posted officially or not: usually the account doing the posting on Youtube will be obviously owned by the rights holder and its description will make that clear.

For example, CNN will post officially as ‘CNNInternational’. An unofficial uploader of something produced by CNN would be ‘fredbloggs1324’ or ‘funnykitten847’ or any number of random names that people choose.

It’s easy to tell if something is legitimate. If it doesn’t look ‘kosher’… it probably isn’t.

I’m sorry but I’m going to have to go with what the priests told me. It isn’t my job to make sure something is in copyright compliance.

Sounds like passing the buck to me.

All you need to do is be observant and use common sense. I’m not asking you to take a sworn affidavit from each account holder who uploads a video.

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And all I’m saying is responsibility doesn’t fall on me but on the person posting the video. How on Earth am I supposed to make sure they are in copyright compliance? Commonsense doesn’t answer that question for me. For all I know, they are in full compliance with copyright law, no matter how illegitimate they look. It is simply not my job and if that is passing the buck, so be it. I’m sorry but that is my take on it.

Common sense dictates that a video of, say, the entire Jurassic Park movie uploaded onto Youtube is not there licitly, whether the rights-owner of the movie has reported it or not.

I’d have thought that would be obvious, but plainly not.

There are several movies and documentaries that are uploaded legitimately on YouTube; I’d not be surprised to the Jurassic park series up there; especially if it’s in a single piece, since you have to arrange that with youtube.

I promise you that I have seen - and reported to the MPAA - several full movies on Youtube that were clearly not uploaded by their original rights owners.

You can tell by the name and description of the account doing the uploading. A corporate entity uploading its own copyrighted (or permissible) material will clearly be identifiable as such. It really doesn’t take much common sense to be able to identify the ‘pirates’ (or even the woefully naive or ill-informed) from the legitimate accounts.

It is still not my moral responsibility to do any of that. Commonsense is a poor guide to reality but if I’m lacking in it, so be it.

A street vendor sells you a watch. It looks like a Rolex but isn’t - it’s a forgery, a counterfeit. It’s sold at a knock-down price. Do you think it’s a good thing to buy that watch and give the outward appearance of wearing a legitimately bought-and-paid-for product of high value? Or are you lying by doing so?

(Leave aside the rights and wrongs of paying a lot of money for stuff, and whether that in itself is moral)

Appearances matter. The sum total of what we do matters. The effect we have on other people as a result of what we do matters.

In this case, if we can reasonably suspect that a movie is available on a website and it’s not there legitimately or legally, and we go ahead and watch it anyway then we deny the rewards of labour due to the people who made that film by watching it for free instead of buying it on DVD as we should.

It amazes me the lengths that some people go to in order to wriggle out of their moral responsibilities.

Just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

Just because someone else did something wrong does not mean that we are entitled or permitted to benefit by it.

You’re confusing looking at the watch with buying it. If I were to download a movie without the copyright owner’s permission, I’d be stealing and your analogy would be accurate. However, that is not what is actually happening.

I don’t reasonably expect anything but assume in Christian charity that someone is not a thief. I am not wriggling out of my moral responsibility. You’re claiming I have a moral responsibility that does not exist.

What about instances in which we have no viable way of providing the manufacturer with compensation, despite our best efforts to find one?

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You mean if a movie is uploaded - illicitly / illegally - and there’s no way of recompensing the rightful owner?

Simple. We ‘walk on by’, having recognised that if the uploader had actually been following good moral rules, we’d never have been able to see it in the first place. We lose nothing.

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No, I mean, what if a person has searched for a regular method to obtain the movie, but has been unsuccessful. (i.e. can’t find it for purchase at a trustworthy retailer). Having made a good-faith effort to obtain a legitimate copy, I hold that the person’s moral obligation has been fulfilled and he is able to seek the video through other means. Of course, should he ever come across the video legitimately he should purchase it, but until that time, I’d say he is not doing anything immoral, since he literally has no method (within reason) of purchasing a legitimate copy.

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Sorry, but that doesn’t wash. I might as well say that I’ve searched high and low for a car that I can afford, but having found none, I can therefore steal one (or even insist on paying only what I can afford and just driving off the forecourt in a more expensive vehicle without paying the proper price).

If there’s no moral way of obtaining something you want, then you don’t get to obtain it by immoral ways. Simple as that. You just have to put up with it.

I accept that that’s not a very popular point of view. But I’m not concerned about being popular. I’m concerned about my soul.

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