Is it a sin to watch?

I think I already know the answer to this question, but just for confirmation I’ll ask anyway…

My friend downloads movies off the internet and saves them on a hard drive (not exactly sure how, but I doubt he’s paying for them). Is it a sin for me to watch these movies?

Thanks in advance. :slight_smile:

If it is illegally downloaded, it is a sin, remember “thou salt not steal?”

He’s probably getting the movies through (bit)torrent sites. The way I understand it a movie file is like a puzzle, you get the puzzle piece by piece, and as you do other people (leeches) also take (rather “copy” as you still have them) pieces from you in a beautiful spirit of sharing! I’ve heard no formal condemnation by the CC but I’m pretty sure it’s stealing. But, it’s one thing to steal money from a poor widow, it’s quite another to steal from Twentieth Century Fox.

How so?

Stealing a dollar from one who has just two dollars is depriving him one half of his belongings.
Stealing a dollar from a multi-millionaire may not be even noticed by him.
Both are stealing, however, and, therefore sinful. Both must be avoided

What roads 152 says. There is a gradation in the seriousness/gravity of several sins of the same nature. Also, someone will correct me if I’m wrong, but I think if someone thinks something is a sin (when actually it is not) and does it anyway, it “counts” as a sin.

That’s a really bad description of the torrent protocol.

The trash spawned by Hollywood these days can’t be stolen, because it’s not worth stealing. It’s probably a sin to watch it, full stop, but it seems like it would be a sin to pay for it too - damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Even if the show was alright to watch, if you were to spend the money, you’re spending it to give profit to a corporation that promotes sin and immorality both on the screen and in real life, by sponsoring homosexual rights/pride **** and donating to the organisations responsible for it (almost all corporations do: but some things, like food, one must buy, if one does not farm, but, other things, like shows, one does not have to buy, and can deprive the pushers of the degenerate Hollywood morality and the homosexual agenda of the profit necessary to continue furthering their goals). This - the knowing funding of the pushers of corruption, lust, fornication, adultery, buggery, and the liberal and homosexual agendas - must be at least as great a sin as the questionable characterisation of “stealing” any kind of computer file (as they are just long strings of zeros and ones, and numbers can not be copyrighted nor stolen).

Now, as to downloaded TV shows, 10 years ago there was no way to watch old TV shows - then people started uploading their home-recorded copies to the internet. Then the companies got greedy - just as they did when they tried to ban tape recording of radio music in the 80s before the age of CD players, and who honestly thinks taping music is a sin? - and started putting huge price tags on them, such as $299.99 for the 10 seasons of Stargate: SG-1, which was free to watch on basic cable television during its first run in any case. (The issue the companies have is more with losing advertising than anything to do with the programme: cable networks and production houses tried to sue TiVo out of existence when it first came out because it could skip commercials.) In that case, I see nothing wrong with the download, and the film might actually be worth watching, and, if you were to spend the money, you’re spending it to give profit to a corporation that promotes sin and immorality both on the screen and in real life, by sponsoring homosexual rights/pride **** and donating to the organisations responsible for it (almost all corporations do: but some things, like food, one must buy, if one does not farm, but, other things, one does not have to buy, and can deprive the pushers of the degenerate Hollywood morality and the homosexual agenda of the profit necessary to continue furthering their goals).

In fact, the entire characterisation of downloading as “stealing” is a bunch of marketing nonsense (zeros and ones, remember? and that doesn’t even scratch the surface of mathematical, let alone legal and ethical, permissions) thought up by the MPAA and RIAA - as evidenced by the fact that they tried to sue people for stealing half a decade ago and were laughed out of court, as even technologically illiterate lawyers and judges couldn’t be convinced it was stealing. They’ve had more luck with the DRM lobby, but that’s neither here nor there and has no bearing on the topic at hand. It’s just a bunch of marketing nonsense - just like the taping of music from the radio would have been considered “stealing” by memetic programming of popular culture in the 1980s (“Home Taping is Killing Music”), as would copying computer files for archival use in the 1990s (“Don’t Coppy that Floppy”): the “piracy scare” of the 2000/2010s (“You can download but you can’t hide”) is another groundless tactic in the same vein.

I’m a long-time member of the EFF and a philosopher and theologian to boot - I’ve had time to work my arguments out. This one that I mentioned above I just came up with off the top of my head, and it’s weaker than a lot of them, but I still like the premises of it. It goes further than just being neutral, but actually pro-downloading if it can deprive the Hollywood Babylon of Fornication, Adultery and Buggery of funding.

Edit: I just wondered if I could adapt Liberation theology for the “higher” needs of life, i.e. education (and entertainment), which today both are mainly provided through electronic channels, with much of the same issue as the torrenting of films.

What is a really bad description, you mean my puzzle analogy?

The bolded statement is actually funny, but untrue. Just because a movie is indecent or sinful doesn’t give anyone a free-pass to view it without paying for it. Reruns of a TV show are another issue. Here I’m talking movies fresh out of movie houses and available on torrent sites. How is it different from taking (without paying) a DVD from a video rental store and bringing it back the next day?

… my dear friend ,

… as i see it : if you copy a show on dvd or music on cd for private use straight from the tv or radio for example then they say it’s ok and no sin , this sounds no different to me at all , if your selling their product / s then you really should buy the product and get approval to sell it , it’s all about intellectual property theft they complain about with all this stuff though , well everything that comes from man or man produces is intellectual property so where do you draw the line ??? , i don’t subscribe to man making his own rules and laws and trying to say if you break them you break gods law , it does not always work like this at all , a good way to see all this is to imagine people in the garden of eden with no money and sharing absolutely everything they have with every other human being – none would even think of intellectual property theft or even theft at all , they just share all , and that is our guide to how we should be , but i know god says don’t steal here and now , and this is true but lets be a liittle sane about the whole thing and remember reality which is the garden of eden if we want to know what we should do , and there are no rules or laws at all in the garden of eden ,only the apple test – that’s it , we need rules and laws because our world and us are now good and evil , but in the beginning it was not so , evil is nothingness and a delusion here , and that’s all it is , it’s real in this delusion or non - reality but not in reality at all , hope you get what i’m saying dear friend , no sin here ,

… may god bless and love you :thumbsup::slight_smile: ,

… john …

Yeah: the “puzzle” bit has only to do with how the torrent finds peers in the distributed hash table.

My argument actually wasn’t based on the content of the films (which is certainly sinful to produce and watch), it was based on the non-film-related immoral activities the production houses condone and promote and fund (homosexuality and fornication, adultery, drug abuse) with the profits one gives them if one buys a film, or sees it in the cinema.

It’s not actually stealing (zeros and ones!), but even if it was, the theft would be no worse of a sin than the paying for the promotion of the homosexual agenda, drug abuse, prostitution and fornication and adultery that not only the movies portray, but the corporations fund.

Stealing a rental DVD is theft, not because of the movie contained on the DVD, but because of the medium itself - the DVD. The stuff on the DVD is just binary data that a programme in your DVD player turns in to a picture. Stealing a blank DVD is the same as stealing a written DVD in every way, and the content of a DVD can not be stolen, any more than a number can be owned. Theft implies ownership.

As I noted partially, any “equal rights employer” must to a degree fund the homosexual agenda, fornication, cohabitation, adultery (as they can’t fire people who engage in any of the above) but some things must be purchased: some are extraneous. What’s funny is that a company, with an employee in a non-safety-sensitive position, can not fire an employee for being adulterous, lustful, a Sodomite, nor most other things, but they can fire an employee for using a drug once, let alone being addicted to drugs. And I must say that fornication and adultery are doing far more harm to this society than drug addiction, although they’re often interlinked (as heroin addicts tend to not be the most stable people, as I know from personal experience - not the fornication, the drug addiction), it can’t be reasonably argued that drug use turns a non-fornicator in to one except in the small minority (even amongst the heavily addicted) who turn to prostitution (and it seems that prostitution is much less damaging to society than teenage promiscuity, pregnancy, disease, and abortion, although both are equally immoral).

I digress.

The property stolen is owned by the company.

“Zeros and ones” is not even an argument. The property doesn’t fit the common law definition of theft (deprivation of use), but it is illegal (mala in prohibitum). The essence of the sin is the personal action: taking something that is not yours. All the justifications and rationalizations just cover the fact that your friend did something wrong. Your participation in it makes you culpable.

Khalid: it is central to Catholic morality that doing evil to promote good is unacceptable. We are to act with charity toward the sinner and show good by reason or example. When we steal or coerce someone’s actions through deceit or force, we remove the choice that God gave them and sin ourselves.

The status of downloading “theft” as malum prohibitum relies on someone maintaining a valid copyright to what was stolen (and court decisions). It can not be argued that “copyright infringement” of digital documents is malum in se (…I just blew my own case out of the water there by thinking, “what of state secrets stored on a disk?”… and following that train of thought).

One can no more copyright an .avi file than one can copyright pi, the natural logarithm, or the extremely long mersenne prime numbers on which modern-day cryptography is based.

I’ll concede the point as argued above based on the Catholic principle of “do no evil, even to prevent evil” for now (as I’m lacking an argument to replace the faulty one at the moment that satisfies both philosophical and Catholic legal proscriptions, and the goal isn’t to shift the goalposts but to work within the strictures given), and change my decision to, "It’s a sin to watch the film if one must pay for it, because one is funding immoral behaviour. If it is also a sin to watch the film without paying for it, because it is an “intellectual property violation,” it is a sin to watch the film in any case."

Is somebody stealing a movie if they paid to see it once, and then decide to download it? Or own a copy on disc, and then download it?

This gets in to not “philosophy” insomuch as it gets in to philosophies of, viz. law, ethics, and maybe even mathematics (although I admit the general use of the term “philosophy of mathematics” is quite different in meaning, having to do, usually, with something in the ballpark of axiomatic set theory). Or, indeed, the validity of any copyright on reproducible data, especially as on modern DVDs and Blu-Rays, the data is already encrypted on the disk, making the data different than anything that was actually copyrighted, assuming that all copyrights were valid (although possibly making it a crime to crack the encryption).

Note: I am debating as much for the sake of debate as anything else, as, as I’ve found on these fora, and not disappointed even here, there’s a step above average American intelligence at play. Generally the two sides of the debate (as regards downloading film) are “downloading is illegal!” (parroting the MPAA and RIAA) and “downloading is a human right for freedom against the oppressive western tyrannies - it’s a duty, dude maaan.” (parroting the standard hippy line for everything in the past fifty years). Generally no intellectual debate, and certainly no one who knows even a bit of English common law.

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