Software piracy still wrong even if it has reasons?

Ok… Now I’m kinda worried, since I have a Nintendo DS and it has an R4, they’re sold over here with R4s a LOT, not sure if stores over here sell the original, but if they do, it’s kinda safe to assume that they’re going to be VERY expensive, and I cannot get the idea of treating them as “luxury” since I’ve lived my entire life with videogames, and I reeeeeally doubt I’d be allowed to ask for those when I can just download them on the internet :eek:

What about Winrar, because after a 40 day trial, it asks you to pay for it.
However, it does not need payment as a necessity to use it, and you can technically use it as much as you want. Only thing is that it has a pop up asking for payment.
Would it be a sin to keep on using Winrar?

Or what about WIndows Movie Maker, because I have a Vista copy of it because the WIndows 8 version is subpar for use. Technically Windows 8 version is free, but does that mean Windows 7 version is sinful to use???

I’ve been cleaning up my life in all respects, and it’d be helpful if I got some feedback to something such as Winrar/Movie Maker.

It’s true that the laws surrounding copyright and licensing are pretty arbitrary, and they vary between times and places. For example, it’s legal to make a personal backup copy of a DVD in Europe, but doing so in the USA is considered to be piracy (DMCA violation). The duration of copyrights and the recognition of foreign copyrights also varies from country to country.

Unfortunately, the Catholic Church has given no guidance as to what’s considered piracy and what isn’t. I would have to recommend that, in ordinary situations, you follow your own country’s copyright law. No, it doesn’t make sense that what’s “moral” depends on what country/jurisdiction you currently occupy, but in the absence of a better authority, this is the best we can do.

Due to the poor economic conditions that presumably exist in your country, your situation may not be an ordinary one. Like I said before, ask a holy priest (who lives in your own country) if it’s reasonable for you to copy specific kinds of media (such as games or software you need for your education). Obey his guidance.

The Church has given some guidance:

“Criminal behavior in other contexts is criminal behavior in cyberspace, and the civil authorities have a duty and a right to enforce such laws.”

“Many difficult Internet-related questions call for international consensus: for example, how to guarantee the privacy of law-abiding individuals and groups without keeping law enforcement and security officials from exercising surveillance over criminals and terrorists; how to protect copyright and intellectual property rights without limiting access to material in the public domain—and how to define the ‘public domain’ itself; how to establish and maintain broad-based Internet repositories of information freely available to all Internet users in a variety of languages;…”


Along with the Catechism:

Respect for the goods of others

"2408 The seventh commandment forbids theft, that is, usurping another’s property against the reasonable will of the owner. There is no theft if consent can be presumed or if refusal is contrary to reason and the universal destination of goods. This is the case in obvious and urgent necessity when the only way to provide for immediate, essential needs (food, shelter, clothing . . .) is to put at one’s disposal and use the property of others.191

"2409 Even if it does not contradict the provisions of civil law, any form of unjustly taking and keeping the property of others is against the seventh commandment: thus, deliberate retention of goods lent or of objects lost; business fraud; paying unjust wages; forcing up prices by taking advantage of the ignorance or hardship of another.192

"The following are also morally illicit: speculation in which one contrives to manipulate the price of goods artificially in order to gain an advantage to the detriment of others; corruption in which one influences the judgment of those who must make decisions according to law; appropriation and use for private purposes of the common goods of an enterprise; work poorly done; tax evasion; forgery of checks and invoices; excessive expenses and waste. Willfully damaging private or public property is contrary to the moral law and requires reparation.

“2410 Promises must be kept and contracts strictly observed to the extent that the commitments made in them are morally just. A significant part of economic and social life depends on the honoring of contracts between physical or moral persons - commercial contracts of purchase or sale, rental or labor contracts. All contracts must be agreed to and executed in good faith.”


I once discovered that my great-grandson was downloading several movies and music albums illegally. I took away his computer! Wrong is wrong is wrong. It is no different than walking into a store and stealing.

More than poor economic conditions, it’s poor adquisitive conditions, the original ones have several advantages.

I asked a priest
I think he told me it would not be that if it was needed and I had no other alternative.

…I didn’t ask him in the case of videogames and stuff tho.

I think I remember looking around in some stores yesterday, I think they all just had Nintendo 3ds with R4s, but today found a music store of a branch I thought extint and a videogame store with barely NDS games.

I might have to import stuff after all, I was so used to photosohp and yet it seems to be so expensive, and it might have to be a pilgrimage that would take longer than a year to be able to do so… :frowning:

For me, I try to treat situations like this as to what the owner of the product had probably intended. For this case, though, I think the intention was that once the free trial period was over, u would either stop using it, or buy the product. For myself, I just ended up buying WINRAR since it was cheap, and my conscience was gnawing at me. That said, I still really don’t want to say that one is necessarily sinning if they continue to use the product, since one doesn’t really know the full intention of the author for having left the functionality of the product intact even after the trial period (which is an odd thing to do these days, I think), and also if there was no agreement to “accept” to stop using the product when the trial was finished. If there was such an agreement (I can’t remember if there was with the trial version of WINRAR), then I believe one should stop since that’s what one agreed to do.

I might be wrong but it looks like the Windows 7 version of Movie Maker is for free on Microsoft’s website.


For Microsoft, they have them all in packaged “essentials” download which includes Windows Movie Maker. Only issue is that when downloading the acceptable version it uses Windows 7 version of movie maker instead of vista (as I have windows 7). There is no valid copy of the Vista version of Movie Maker for Windows 7.
So that’s the issue. :frowning:

Does the Catholic not condone any form of software or data piracy?
I mean, I have a bunch of wallpapers from fanart and pictures. However, I technically didn’t get permission to use these? Would use of these wallpapers be illegal, because I know fanart itself without permission of the creator is illegal (even if for personal use)? I honestly don’t know much about copyright laws so…

If you found the pictures on the internet, then there is no problem setting them as your wallpaper – if the authors didn’t want you to look at them, they wouldn’t have put them on the internet in the first place.

However, it often wouldn’t be legal for you to use them as part of your own projects, copy them onto your own website, or send them to other people.

Well it’s like this.
There is TV show character A.

Artist watches the show draws fanart of the character A.
He/she didn’t get permission from the show creator draw fanart of the copyrighted character. Hence the fanart is technically illegal. The picture is posted on a fanart sharing website.

Regular person takes the fanart and uses as wallpaper.

In this case, even if it’s illegal it is fine? Is it so insignificant that this would not be a sin?

Stealing is wrong, period. Are there times when, even though it’s wrong, it is justified? Yes. Imagine that times are tough and you are starving. There is a man who has plenty of bread but he won’t give you any. You can steal it and eat it, even if it’s wrong, because it’s more wrong to let yourself die of starvation when you could have done something about it, or at least that’s what my parochial school teachers said when I was little.

Have I ever gone hungry? Yes. Did I steal? No. Although I was uncomfortable, there were remedies (food charity) and I wasn’t in any real danger of starvation.

Is your software situation really as serious as starvation? If not, then it’s wrong to steal.

Can I contrive a situation where it might be OK to steal software? Perhaps. Here, I will try.

You are a part of a NEST (Nuclear Emergency Support Team) team. There is a nuclear bomb and it’s set to go off. You need to make a calculation, but you don’t have good enough software, so you order a passing mathematical physics professor to give it to you. He refuses; you pull out a gun and say “Give it to me, NOW.” Are you in the right? I think probably so, because the consequences if you don’t get the show on the road are a nuke going off in the city.

Is the above scenario very likely? No, I don’t think so. As I said, I was attempting to contrive a situation where stealing software would be OK.

Is your software situation as serious as defusing a nuke? If not, I don’t think you should steal; I think you should look for freeware or steel (:wink: :p) yourself to pay for it.

Has there ever been a time when something like my nuclear scenario could have happened? The answer is yes, but there is only a slight resemblance: when the West Hollywood bank robbery took place, the police were severely outgunned and, more importantly, severely out armored (the thieves were wearing double layers of bulletproof vests and using fully automatic rifles - according to the police, they were unstoppable). The police went to a gun store owner and asked for better weapons. In this instance, the gun store owner was compliant and offered no objection to lending out some of his weaponry to the police, but he could have, and at that point I think the police would have been within their rights to take what they needed, assent or no assent.

So, how often is theft of anything, including software, wrong? Probably about 99.9999% of the time. You can almost always get some form of freeware, cheap hardware off of ebay, write the software yourself (yes, take a few months or a year or something and write it yourself - and then tell everybody how you feel about software piracy), etc. Don’t steal, and don’t make excuses for stealing; it’s self-indulgent and it’s morally wrong.

And if you still feel like stealing, here, steal this: :twocents:

:wink: :stuck_out_tongue:

I think the inability to buy stuff from the intenet was mentioned, and I think, like, most if not almost everything that I could find around was pirated, could try freeware tho.

Many Linux distributions (such as Ubuntu) can automatically install a very wide variety of free scientific and technical software. Actually, for me, the selection is good enough that I can’t think of any commercial software that I strictly need to do my own work. I would start out by checking if software built into Linux distributions can meet your needs (learning Linux is also a very important job skill itself.)

However, extremely specialized commercial software is still required for some purposes, and some university classes require that everyone use a specific, commercial software package. Given the advice which you received from your own priest, who has been trained in moral theology and understands your particular situation better than anyone out there, I would feel comfortable copying the software if there was no reasonable alternative. (In my opinion, dropping out of a class or spending a year writing your own software, for example, are not reasonable alternatives. However, spending a week learning a new, free software package would seem reasonable to me, and this time spent will pay dividends later on.)

The way that the topic of stealing is treated in the Catechism is a little more subtle than this…

2408 The seventh commandment forbids theft, that is, usurping another’s property against the reasonable will of the owner. There is no theft if consent can be presumed or if refusal is contrary to reason and the universal destination of goods. This is the case in obvious and urgent necessity when the only way to provide for immediate, essential needs (food, shelter, clothing . . .) is to put at one’s disposal and use the property of others.

I’m not seeing the concept of something being “wrong but justified” here. If one needs to take someone else’s property to meet their essential needs, then not only is taking the property morally justified – taking the property isn’t even considered to be theft at all.

When it comes to non-essential needs, the Catechism doesn’t define “the reasonable will of the owner” in any detail, so I’m unsure of what can be said here, other than that the OP carefully follows the guidance given by his priest.

TBH, I dunno about Linux, I’m mainly a windows user and afaik, most (if not almost all) of the programs and documents used around are of a windows-based platform.

You previously mentioned you were studying Computer Engineering. Even if you don’t know much about Linux right now, you will need to learn it… having solid UNIX skills is essential for succeeding in this industry. Linux is also easier than Windows to be customized for old computer hardware, like what you’ll encounter in a low-income country, using distributions such as XUbuntu.

When it comes to software development, there are free tools available for Linux which meet or exceed the quality of the Windows-based tools. Most software developers nowadays prefer developing in a Linux-based environment. If you haven’t, you should look into it.

When it comes to circuit/design/simulation software, MATLAB, etc… I don’t know as much about these tools, but I think you’re more likely to need Windows-based commercial software when working in that domain.

It’s not a low-income country, it’s a country with low adquisite availability, and pretty much the most (if not almost all) that I could find around is pirated windows, I’ve seen very few using Linux, and most of it were Govt stuff anyways. And the sort of stuff that mostly interests me seems to be mostly made for windows use anyways…

Maybe could see if stuff about Linux could be learnt as a secondary thing, but the most stuff I’ve seen to interest me seems to be mostly of Windows use.

The talk about what “interests you” (assuming you’re not using the word incorrectly) confuses me, as your question was about pirating software that you need to do your work – as in, there’s no reasonable alternative to using that specific software.

If you want to be a successful computer/software engineer, then you should learn Linux – preferably sooner rather than later. I would be rather hesitant to recommend that my company hire someone with no significant Linux experience.

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