Is taking images off of websites and printing them out to hang ona wall mortally sinful?


I’m in a bit of a dilemna. I struggle with scrupulosity and this is really bothering me. I’m a college student and am moving into my dorm for this semester and I printed out a few dozen full size page images from Monastery Icons’ website of different Saints I look up to and serveral scenes from the Bible and stuff. I love monastery icons stuff but obviously as a college student can’t purchase stuff from them that often. Basically what I did was either go on google images or , find a Saint’s image I liked and right clicked on it, put it in a word document and printed it out and bam…had a whole stock of dorm wall decorations. I didn’t start thinking too much about it until now

Well now I’m wondering if I need to throw them all away and/or am I in sin? because I started researching this and read monastery icons’ terms of use and sure enough in black and white it says something about nothing on their website may be downloaded.

So now the scrupulous side of me is saying Oh no I have dozens of images of saints that are illegal and I’ve sinned(mortally?) The scrupulous side of me is saying that, but the easier side of me is saying “calm down, it’s not mortally sinful”

I guess my OCD/scrupulous side of me can’t see myself in my dorm room all semester with these images hanging on the wall w/o always thinking I’m in terrible sin for obtaining them illegally. And the worst part about all this is I’m a devout Catholic and just want to grow closer to God by having these images of saints on my wall who are all such an inspiration to me, but i don’t know if thats a valid reason to keep them or not



I think you will get varying answers on this but my belief is that it’s wrong to download and print content if the website says you may not do so. I would look for some royalty free stock images or creative commons images and use them, abiding by any requirements on the individual websites. An example of a requirement may be something as simple as that you cannot alter the image in any way or that you must ‘credit’ the image which you would do by typing the required information (it’s okay to use a fairly small font size, as long as it is readable) underneath the image before printing it.

Some websites may say you can download and use images for personal use only. I would consider printing an image and hanging it in your own room to be personal use, and I would think that would be fine.

Other members with more knowledge of copyright issues may be able to answer this better/more accurately but that’s what I would do.


No, it is certainly not a sin. Do you think that Christ would hold against you the inspiration you get from members of His Church Triumphant? There comes a point when all of this talk about copyrights is gobbledygook. Life isn’t all about money.


How about this. Where’s the grave matter in it? Where’s the grave damage? Did you do such a grave harm to the point that the website got hurt badly?

However, it is a sin to break the website’s terms of use and to violate copyright, but don’t worry, it’s a venial in this case. Just toss these images out.


They did not block copying therefore it is not a sin at all.



Legally, it depends on when the icon was made. A friend of mine got a calendar in Italy with beautiful pictures of religious art. All of the paintings had no copyright. The calendar was copyrighted, but they couldn’t stop someone from copying the pictures.


My son, who knows his way around the Internet better than I do, said it is “fair use.” The images are photographs, not copies of the icons. However, you shouldn’t sell them - they are just for your own use.

If you are at all artistic, get a b&w copy of a copyright free picture, then touch it up with watercolors or whatever. I’ve seen some lovely pictures done this way.


I’m just wondering if I’m overreacting and if this is one of those venial things that everyone does( like taking your own food into a movie theater when signs prohibit outside food)

Part of me is also worried since it wasn’t just a picture or two, it was a lot and I think that’s why the scrupulous side of me worries that it was mortal


One copy of each picture is fine.


I’m not sure it was a fair use in this case, but it could be. Fair use is a tough concept, as it goes on a case-by-case basis, with many cases no clear answers. That’s why sometimes intellectual property cases reaches the Supreme Court.


Well, life is about being able to pay the bills and justice.



This is Fair Use:



My heart bleeds.


You are kidding right? :ehh:


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