I am in a particular conundrum. I want to watch my favorite basketball team, but I am unable to because even though they are in another state and not aired on local TV, we are deemed to be in the local market. This renders me unable to pay to watch them. Is it stealing if I watch a free stream of the game online? I am not downloading and saving it for a later date. The NBA has an internet program that lets people watch games online for a price, but since they classify me as being in an area that locally broadcasts the games(even though they are not) I am “blacked out” from the only games I care about. I would love to pay for the right to watch but I have e-mailed the tech support and they cannot help me.
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Some will disagree with me but I don’t consider it a sin of theft. Merely watching something, even if it’s someone else’s property, isn’t theft in my book. But we’re obliged to obey just civil laws. So are the copyright laws protecting the content just? In this case, I would lean towards yes. But it doesn’t end there because you probably aren’t breaking any laws. You aren’t broadcasting or downloading the content. But the moral analysis still isn’t necessarily over. Are you cooperating in breaking a just civil law? Maybe the streaming site has ads to support the illegal streaming. By visiting their website you may be contributing to it. But I would argue that this is, at best, informal cooperation. You aren’t going to the website in order to support it. So IMHO, it’s not a sin.
My first reaction is to agree. You’re supposed to be able to watch, your local TV simply isn’t cooperating. The team and the NBA want you to be able to see this feed, or rather, their advertisers want your attention. :shrug:
But i agree with johnmann’s further potential downstream effects as well, and that, in the worst possible scenario, you could be in trouble. Highly unlikely, though.