Watching movies online-stealing?

As many of you know, there are hundreds of movies available online at just the click of a button for free.
Do you think this is wrong to watch them, or is it stealing as you are not paying for, well, anything?

At the library you get it free, as well as on tv, so why is this any different?
The people who uploaded the video payed for it as well.

1 Like

It depends on whether the site you get the movie from is a legal one. In other words, one that actually owns the movie - not a purchased copy of it - or the actual rights to the movie.

If you are watching a movie from a site where someone just put it up from a DVD they owned or they pirated it off of a legal site, then yes, it is like stealing.

Brenda V.

1 Like

Whilst there is major debate amongst people that downloading is not stealing and it’s only sharing, bottom line it is stealing…why? Because the copyright holders of the material claim it to be stolen, they do not want their stuff distributed freely, whatever their incentive is, whether they be greedy or not, it belongs to them (“render to Caesar what is Caesar’s”) So the music you download for free is infact stealing or the movies you download for free unless of course the copyright holders approve of it.

P2P programs are legitimate but 90% of what is downloadable from the P2P program isn’t. There are a lot of movies that are free though and a lot of music.

Youtube for example has RCA Records as one of it’s users, thats a recording company and they have put up some videos, it’s under their copyright and they can choose to give it wherever.

  1. Download music and movies off P2P is stealing
  2. Youtube asks the questions “do you own the copyright to this” - most users do not own copyrights to what they upload, hence its illegal and considered stealing.

The internet has made it so easy for people to break the commandment thou shalt not steal, the safety in numbers theory seems to work here, just because everyone else does it, it must mean it’s ok? No.

Beaware of what you do

1 Like

Would you consider it a sin to watch a movie on the internet. How can watching something be stealing?

Well strictly speaking, before the internet came about, to watch a movie, one had to either go to a friend’s house to watch it, or the movies or buy the movie themselves.

In the first case, someone has bought the movie, and viewing a movie at someone else’s home is considered private use, which is acceptably by copyright laws. The movie cinemas has a licence to playback films for payment, if you buy the movie, you have the right for private home use.

When it is on the internet, due to someone uploading it, and that someone doesn’t have copyright holdings of the movie or permission, he starts to give it freely around to others, who has not purchased it. The case against this by p2pers is that everyone is a ‘friend’ and the concept is similar to someone coming to your house and watching it. Which is of course rubbish. Upload something onto youtube and of the 100,000 that view it, how many exactly do you know? Probably none.

Eitherways COPYRIGHT claims that distributing it without their permission IS violation, and obviously if you do not buy the movie, but watch it online due to someone else uploading it, the point is, you have not paid for watching it, it is similar to going and shoplifting from the local DVD store.

Movie publishers expect payment, and how else would they be making money if people are uploading and letting everyone else watch it without payment? Whether they are greedy or not is not the point, the commandment thou shalt not steal applies here. Render to them what is theirs.

Whether you download the movie onto your computer or just watch it, the end result is the same, you viewed it without paying. I am not condemning anyone, I have done this for years, but recently I got rid of 1400 songs that I did not pay for. And pretty much all the movies and games I did not buy, I still have more to get rid of because I have a lot of pirated stuff from the years.

1 Like

I was wondering the same thing myself. What I want to know is, is it stealing to watch a tv show, movie, movie short etc. on Youtube. Technically Youtube is public domain but, it is possible to be sued for watching an illegally uploaded video. It’s one thing to download a movie from a random site but, what about Youtube?

Let’s not split hairs.

You can now buy a movie that can be streamed to your computer. You paid for it. The company that owns the rights to that movie got paid. No problem. However, if they find that movie on a site that offers it for free, and without their permission, and you download it, that’s stealing.

Thieves think that because they can copy books or music or whatever and turn it into digital bits, it’s fair game. The answer is No. If we want to call ourselves civilized, we need to follow rules.

Here’s a quote from a publisher:

“Until copyrights and trademarks are respected that will also have an impact. Most people are honest but some people feel they have the right to steal this material. What they don’t realize, if it continues, that they’ll eventually put creators out of this business because they can’t afford to not get paid for their work. Obviously the publishers feel the same way. We put a lot of effort and work into the projects we do, and that’s not appropriate for people to steal them. Unfortunately we have a society where a certain segment feels that it’s fine to steal material.”

We have to avoid this out of respect for our neighbor and his desire to make a living.


1 Like

How is youtube public domain? Who told you this? Viacom sued youtube.


Youtube often removes content for copyright violation. However, they seem to wait for the copyright holder to file a complaint.

It boggles my mind the justification people try to use when it comes to downloading something for free and think it’s not stealing.

It is intelectual property. Whoever owns it has to give you permission to watch it. When you buy a DVD you’re not just paying for the disc and the fancy packaging, your paying for the permission to watch the movie on it. Watching it through a torrent on a p2p site IS IN FACT STEALING.

One of my friends had a copy of the movie “300” before it was even in theatres. He didn’t physically steal a tangible object but that doesn’t make it legal.

1 Like

what about watching an episode of a tv show on youtube

my priest says its not stealing, that its only stealing if you make money from it

1 Like

The reason a TV show gets a copyright is so that no one else may distribute it or copy it. By putting a TV show online without the permission of the copyright holder, you violate their control of where their TV show will be broadcast.

Hope this helps,

Using that logic, it would also be “stealing” to do something like record a televised movie on VHS and then play it in front of an auditorium full of people. Looks like many of my former teachers should have been put behind bars. :rolleyes:

I think there are laws prohibiting playing movies or programs in a classroom without prior permission. I think you or the school has to apply for something to have permission. I could be wrong, but I thought I saw something like that while reading up copyright laws. It’s insane, in my opinion, for some things (some mechanics were sued for copyright violation for playing the radio or a cd too loud. I don’t recall the outcome of this).

1 Like

At the end of a football game: “This telecast is copyrighted by the NFL for the private use of our audience. Any other use of this telecast or any pictures, descriptions, or accounts of the game without the NFL’s consent is prohibited.”


Which does nothing to address my point…

Another example:


All you’re doing is showing examples of copyright laws which everyone knows already. What does that have to do with the question of whether or not breaking those laws is the same as stealing?

I think it would be nice if the Church spoke about copyright laws in a detailed way. Some things are pretty easy to realize that it is stealing (like illegally downloading a son/album), but things like posting a photo of a movie still or of a character on the internet are a bit hazier for me. Is that a sin (figuring it is objectively innocent) to post a photo?

1 Like

I see piracy is completely different to stealing.

Theft removes the original. Piracy makes a copy.
Imagine your car gets stolen, but it’s still there in the morning.

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