Morality of Watching Copyrighted (?) Material on YouTube

Hey Y’all,

I really enjoy watching and listening to Venerable Fulton Sheen, and I wanted to know if watching him on youtube is morally okay. I’m not sure the posters on youtube have permission to be posting the videos. Does anyone know anything about this?

Thanks and God Love You!


Fulton Sheen’s TV programs are still under copyright. Therefore the TV station or production company that owns them owns the rights to them. They are for sale through various Catholic bookstores and video companies (for example Ignatius Press) and should be legally obtained.

You are correct to be suspicious of You Tube. Many things have been pirated on there.

You as a viewer are under no obligation to inspect the copyright of everything posted on the internet. To view something in this situation is certainly not immoral.

If you enjoy the program, then why not buy a dvd or two?

The classic definition of piracy is selling a copy of something that you do not own the rights to. Watching a video on youtube, regardless of whether it is breaking a copyright, is not piracy.

Any YouTube clips that are from an official source is okay to view (but not copy). So if the publisher or owner of the copyrighted material posts a clip, you are free to view. Occasionally, they will even post the whole video.

So which is it? Is it morally acceptable to watch material on YouTube that is possibly (or even likely) copyright? Is it a sin to watch it or a sin to copy it and sell it? This seems like a very gray area and I don’t have a clear answer.

Reminds of something else somewhat related. I know that any videos or drawings/pictures of certain copyrighted characters technically make them fall under copyright laws of said company who holds the copyright (so it’s illegal). I wonder if having these pictures as backgrounds are sins then, since it’s illegal?

Really seems to be a grey area. :confused::confused:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit