I was out to dinner on the weekend and the topic of copyright laws and downloading music came up during conversation. A friend asked me if downloading music was a sin in the Catholic Church and I really didn’t know the answer.
“Thou shall not steal” is a pretty powerful statement and its hard to avoid that downloading something on the ‘black market’ internet sites is morally questionable.
So, is it wrong for a Catholic to download music?
Is downloading music really considered stealing? Personally, I think artists and corporations get enough money from concerts, and I’d never download Kiwi music or talent. But that’s besides the point.
In days gone by we used to record our favourite music on cassette tapes, so why is downloading any different?
Is there a difference between theft (you take an item A from a person B. The person B does not have the item A, while you do) and piracy (you take an item A from a person B. Both of you now have the item A)?
The other perspective is:
“Piracy is not raiding and plundering Best Buys and FYEs, smashing the windows and running out with the loot. It’s like being placed in a store full of every DVD in existence. There are no employees, no security guards, and when you take a copy of movie, another one materializes in its place, so you’re not actually taking anything. If you were in such a store, you’d only have your base moral convictions to keep you from cloning every movie in sight. And anyone who knows how to get to this store isn’t going to let their conscience stop them, especially when there is no tangible “loss” to even feel bad about.”
And thus begins the debate…
Saint Peter of Nicomedia, pray for us.