Listening to music on Youtube

I read on multiple (old) CAF threads that it would be a sin to listen to music that was put on Youtube that violates copyright laws, and that we ought to report to Youtube someone who violates those laws (since youtube doesn’t deal with that stuff unless they are notified (I think?)). But I’m a little confused about that. It’s the right thing to assume the best and that the person has a right to post the video. We also don’t have anyway to know that someone is posting a video illegally. I mean, maybe if they are asdfoiasjfd010103u4 it would be obvious, but then again, probably over half of all songs that are on youtube are from qwpoeruqw4738. So isn’t it a bit unreasonable to expect someone to contact Youtube about every suspicious person who posts a video?

What ought to be done?

I read on multiple (old) CAF threads that it would be a sin to listen to music that was put on Youtube that violates copyright laws, and that we ought to report to Youtube someone who violates those laws

Youtube, Google, MPAA and the RIAA already police youtube for unauthorized copyrighted content. You don’t have to do anything. It is all done with computer algorithms.

Who cares? My priest looked at me with the utmost sincerity and concern just a few days ago and said, “don’t be so hard on yourself my son. If we are hard on ourselves chances are we are hard on others.” Think about that. And always ask these questions to a priest, not here, if you want to get an actual answer instead of just opinion.

Go with God -


As far as I am aware, it is not possible for ordinary people to report alleged copyright violations to YouTube. Only the authorized copyright holders may issue DMCA Takedowns. So there is nothing for you to do if you stumble across a violation.

I’ve been thinking about this and I would guess that most people who post videos on youtube are just random people. Isn’t it implied that they don’t have the right to post the (music) video because of copyright laws? :shrug:

You can watch or download videos on youtube for home use; you just can’t distribute them. You can’t be responsible for whether or not they are available legally. That’s Youtube’s job.

Actually you cannot download them for any use. That is against YouTube’s Terms of Service. There are apps and plugins which purport to do this but using them means you are in violation of your legal contract which you agreed to upon your use of the site.

I’ll focus in on this part of my original post. On another thread about this a poster made a statement that I’ll pretty much copy/paste: Is it sinful to watch a video because perhaps by viewing the video you may be encouraging copyright infringement?

Earlier in that thread there was a statement from a lawyer that said watching videos that violated copyright laws would be like reading a book in a bookstore and then not buying it. Would that be sinful?

You’re right. Unless the music was posted by EMI music or some recognized company, then BoB67299 is most likely not the copyright owner.

Here is what you should do straight from youtube:

Copyright means right to copy. If the person does not have the right to copy the music, then it’s against the law. Reading a book in a bookstore? Really? In the past, I got: “Hey, are you buying that or not? This ain’t no library ya know.” And that’s why libraries exist, so you can read a book for free.


Ok, but apparently the ruling for listening to the music, assuming you weren’t the one to put up the video, is that it isn’t stealing.

So maybe a better analogy would be this: say you go to a friend’s house and your friend is going to watch a movie. You are almost certain your friend stole the film. He is going to put on the movie anyway, and there is nothing you can do to stop him (to report someone for copyright violations you have to be the person who owns the rights, correct?). Even if you disapprove of his stealing, would you be implicitly endorsing his activity, and thus endorsing sin, if you yourself watched the movie (listened to music)?

If you witnessed illegal activity, what would be the right thing to do? As a priest said, “If you don’t own it, why do you have it?”

Illegal copying of our books online is reported to the company I work for on a regular basis. I don’t hang out with pot smokers where I live because it’s illegal and I don’t want to endorse what they’re doing.


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