Unintentionally listening to copyrighted videos

My dad often listens to full episodes of news shows illegally uploaded to YouTube. Sometimes I overhear it and start listening. I usually try to stop myself from doing this, but sometimes I fail. Is this sinful, and if so, is it venial or mortal? I have told him it’s wrong to watch these, but he disagrees and I don’t want to argue with him.

No one is guilty of a unjust thing done “by accident”.

It is not your place to correct your father, I’d advise speaking to your priest.

Unless you are the owner of the uploaded show, you have no idea if it was illegally uploaded to Youtube. A lot of people on this forum like to assume they know when something is illegally uploaded to Youtube or other website, but the issue is a lot more legally complicated than it would appear and also, Youtube has a notice-and-takedown procedure that the rights owner can (and often does) use to have the uploads removed if they’re truly illegal. It is a choice on the part of the rights owner whether they want to do that or not. If the rights owner doesn’t have the video removed, it may be that they don’t do that for a reason - some rights owners might feel they don’t have a good legal case to get a show (especially news show) removed, some might just be happy to have a bigger audience watching their news.

What you are actually saying is that your father is watching news shows that you are somehow assuming are illegally uploaded, and you have decided they’re definitely illegal and he’s committing a sin etc.

The problem with this is:

  1. You’re assuming the show is illegally uploaded. You may very well be wrong.

  2. You’re correcting your father over something that’s not even clearly a sin (see 1). It’s not your place to correct your father, especially in such an unclear case.

If I were your father, I would disagree with you too.

I agree that you should talk to your priest.


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