is this a sin?

i usually learn all my piano music off youtube and videos that people post of instrumental song versions or tutorials. is this a sin since they might not have the performance rights to be posting their videos? i’m just learning for myself, not performing

I don’t know much about performance rights. That’s a legal issue. It’s true that we ought to follow the laws so long as they are not immoral or lead us into immoral situations. But I kind of doubt that there’s any laws against that…?

Look, in the Catholic faith, we are called to reform our lives. But when something seems fishy to you (like a radical Christian group saying don’t wear makeup, it’s the devil!) that’s probably because it’s not right.

What’s so amazing about Catholicism, is that those things we culturally are aware of as good, actually are good. We don’t demonize proper sex between married people, we don’t demonize makeup, we don’t demonize laughing… or learning lessons from youtube! People who demonize this sort of thing probably shouldn’t be trusted because it’s contrary to what makes sense.

That doesn’t always apply, of course, and there are grey areas… but when something smells fishy, 95% of the time it probably is fishy.

(edit: that being said, as I am not familiar with the law regards to people uploading their music on YouTube, I don’t know if their action is perfectly legit. But I think there is no law preventing you from watching their video and learning)

you’re supposed to have performance permission to use others music for anything than personal use. that being said, there’s no way to know if people have the rights of not for youtube. my gut instinct tells me probably not since most people don’t actually know that or just give them the benefit of the doubt that they might have it

You aren’t required to do an in depth check to make sure every video you use to teach yourself stuff doesn’t violate copyright law. If it obviously WERE the case that it was illegal, then you would have a point, but just because it is not obviously the case that it’s NOT illegal doesn’t mean you have to worry about it.

This sort of thing smells a little bit like scrupulosity, given a couple of the other posts you’ve made, by the way, so it might be worth seeking a spiritual director.

It is illegal for the uploader, not the viewer. Google made a settlement with the movie studios, music labels, and other big businesses that viewers cannot be prosecuted for viewing any content on Youtube. Uploaders do not have this protection. This was only for Google and Youtube though. If you were viewing videos on another video sharing site, you might be at risk. However, since Youtube is the biggest video sharing site, this exemption for viewers is basically the de facto standard for all similar sites, at least the legit ones (companies that don’t encourage piracy).

We know just because something is legal, doesn’t mean it isn’t sinful, but there is nothing inherently sinful in viewing these videos that would still make it illicit. For example, murder is always a sin whether it is legal or not. Violating performance rights is not intrinsically evil. Whether it is a sin or not depends on whether the action is illegal or not. Not illegal, not a sin.

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