Watching movies online a mortal sin?

I know that there are many websites that are legal to use (Netflix). My question is that is it a grave sin to watch movies online? From websites where you do not download the movie, you just watch it (ex. Letmewatchthis…com). Like on YouTube. Would watching a movie like this be considered a grave sin?

I assume that you are talking about sites that illegally allow you to watch without paying for the content.

This would be a kind of theft. Theft is one of those sins that could be mortal or venial depending on the details of the situation, in this case things like the value of what you are stealing and the harm done to the victim. For those of us who like clear-cut definitions this kind of ambiguity regarding when a sin is bad enough to be grave matter can be frustrating, but it’s the way it is.

I don’t think Jesus would ever consider what you were doing was a mortal sin.

Avoid using illegal websites both for ethical reasons and for the practical reason that such websites are full of viruses, malware, etc…

Although the OP does mention Youtube, which has both legal and illegal content on it. Makes things a bit tricky. :shrug:

I think much of the pirating of music, watching movies online without paying, etc. that goes on today does constitute theft. What is insidious is that it doesn’t feel like theft, because it is very detached, and you can find rather respectable people doing it as well. (People who would never steal a physical object from a store.) But what has changed other than the probability of getting caught?

It does look like a gray area in the case of YouTube. I would say that if you get the sense that whoever owns the rights to the movie would not want it on YouTube, then don’t watch it on YouTube.

Another interesting, slightly related question has to do with movie theatres…

Movie theatres make almost all of their profit on concession stands. They make almost nothing from ticket sales. Is it immoral to bring candy/sodas in from outside the theatre, where you can buy them more cheaply?

That makes things even more tricky, because I would argue that there are certain older properties that are no longer making money (ie can’t be bought on DVD, can’t be legally streamed on netflix or hulu or a similar service). These properties can often be found on youtube, and nobody will take them down because nobody cares enough to monitor the properties or tell youtube about the copyright violation (if more than a few thousand people cared, then the series would still be available legally). To all appearances, the creators either don’t mind or don’t care enough to notify youtube. At the same time, none of that changes the fact that the videos are violating copyright, and are therefore illegal.

That’s without getting into fan-edited videos, which really are a gray zone in terms of legality.

Movie theatres make almost all of their profit on concession stands. They make almost nothing from ticket sales. Is it immoral to bring candy/sodas in from outside the theatre, where you can buy them more cheaply?

Most places have rules against that, so I would say that’s a sin. If you use a service, you should abide by the rules of the establishment.

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I can see why it would be sinful to upload or download a movie to the Internet if you don’t have permission from the owner, but I wouldn’t call it sinful to merely WATCH it. It’s no different from walking into a bookstore and browsing a book without buying it.

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I can see why it would be sinful to upload or download a movie to the Internet if you don’t have permission from the owner, but I wouldn’t call it sinful to merely WATCH it. It’s no different from walking into a bookstore and browsing a book without buying it.

Because you’re still breaking the law, by gaining access to a product contrary to the owner’s consent. What’s more, you’re encouraging more people to take and post movies (etc) online, by providing the people who do so with an audience. As for browsing in a bookstore, browsing is meant to give you access to a small amount of the product for free, so that you’ll get a taste for it and hopefully think “wow, that was good. If the rest of it’s like that, it’s worth my dollar for sure!” But here’s the catch - you aren’t allowed to read the whole thing while browsing. After a certain point, it becomes clear that you’ve gone past the stage of trying to make sure of the product’s quality before buying and are now just trying to mooch. In addition, you only have the right to browse while in the store, because if you physically leave with the book without paying for it, you’ve committed theft. Online, you can access the entire product, without paying, from the comfort of your own home, which eliminates the strain that you would otherwise undergo while “mooch-browsing” (namely the stares from the shopkeeper, who would doubtless shoo you out if it became clear that you had no intention of buying and were just trying to read for free).

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I think it’s a sin to charge $20 for a large soda and popcorn. :thumbsup:

Breaking the law? I never heard of anyone getting in trouble for clicking on a YouTube video.

There might be a store policy against it, but there’s certainly not a law against reading an entire book in a bookstore.

Breaking the law? I never heard of anyone getting in trouble for clicking on a YouTube video.

People don’t necessarily have to get in trouble for a law to be broken. If every drug-dealer in the world suddenly became so hyper-competent that they could effortlessly evade capture every single time, that would still not make their activities legal, just unpreventable. An unpreventable crime does not cease to be a crime.

As to the whole “store policy” thing, I’m not sure if it really is legal to read an entire book without paying for it, even if you don’t leave the store. This, of course, is assuming the book isn’t extremely short, like a pamphlet, which can easily be read in its entirety in a few minutes. After all, you’re gaining access to content to which you have no legal right, since you neither created it nor purchased it legitimately, nor received it as a gift from someone who did. I wonder if store owners have to allow you to browse books, though - I mean, they will, because it’s good for business, but isn’t that, technically, a privilege that they choose to extend to their customers? Since they extend that privilege for the purpose of allowing you to taste a book, not to consume it in its entirety, I’m reasonably sure that they could refuse to let you continue reading it without purchase, since you are violating the purpose of the informal contract that allows you to “taste” the book.

I stress that I do not know for sure if this is the case - someone with more experience on US and Common Law would be welcome to correct my statements, if they are mistaken.

Just find out if a site has the right to show movies online, especially for free. If there is no mention of this, ask them by e-mail. If you get no reply, assume it’s not legal. Watching movies on youtube depends on who posted it. If it says MGM Digital then it’s OK but if it’s posted by:

reonta56_78
betasim588
Joeeee6
Reminit_re

Then the odds are it is totally illegal.

Ask your priest about this.

Peace,
Ed

Yes and no.

You Tube’s pretty good about copyright infringement. Stuff can linger on there for a short time before they catch it … but if there’s an issue they remove it, i.e. a complaint. Some stuff is allowed. For instance, the Star Wars movies are ALLOWED to be cut up and spliced so that fans can create fan trailers and Lucas has waived his rights to his copyrights in that instance. I have a huge video series on You Tube about a mystic and I did get permission from the owner to post it. There is a copyright on it. We don’t care if people download it though because the point is the message. You can watch snippets of Grease on You tube. That’s OK because it’s not the whole movie. To infringe on copyright it has to be a significant potion of the piece. Copyright law is complicated. I even had to remove a video series off You Tube because someone felt it was a violation of intellectual copyright. I didn’t even know what that was and we were pretty shocked upon getting a warning letter from an attorney. I conceded and removed the whole series. So, I know about You Tube and copyright!

Actually, I’ve found music copyright to be a real pain in the rear if you try to make religious videos of your own set to music. You have to get permission for both the lyrics and the song!!! And it’s impossible to contact anyone to get permission so usually people will just post a video with lyrics and if they don’t get a complaint, call it good. There are lawyers all over You Tube scouting for stuff, believe me! Don’t worry about You Tube.

So I’d it’s OK to watch anything on You Tube — because they’re strict and do respond to complaints. And people LOVE to complain. There’s no shortage of that.

There are some sites like … the owners of the Vampire Diaries (The WB). They offer most of the series online for free … though they skip episodes every so often to force you to watch it on TV. But hey … thats their right. So, you can look it up via channel and see if it’s free.

If you have to upload and install SPECIAL software to watch it … then that’s your red flag that it’s illegal download. Or if you get to a site that offers SEVERAL MIRROR WEBSITES to download. Those are flags that it’s illegal.

I know this because I’m a seasoned sinner.

I got hooked on Vampire Diaries once and had to watch them. I was obsessed. I eventually ended up signing up for a free trial of Amazon Prime and watching several episodes for free with their promo and paying for a couple to complete the season. Then I cancelled my membership. That’s a non-sinful way of getting around it. I don’t feel guilty about it either because I am a regular customer with Amazon and provide them with plenty of business already. So there! (I am now not hooked on Vampire Diaries anymore. I’m now into The Clone Wars on Netflix).— But have vowed not to get obsessed at the awesomeness of it all.

Netflix is awesome. Just sign up with them, streaming only. I think I pay around 10 per month??? That’s a good way to avoid sinning. I just got finished watching Fireproof!!! They have Passion of the Christ available on streaming. And other religious stuff, too.

Anyway, remember that most of the sin is in the intent.

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Music a problem? Impossible?

Contact the US Copyright Office. They’re nice people.

Phone: (202) 707-5959 or 1-877-476-0778 (toll free)
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday to Friday

Peace,
Ed

Evidence regarding movie theater profits?

Peace,
Ed

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