Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Sekha » Sun Jan 01, 2012 1:04 am

what about watching youtube videos, some of which are put online without the consent of their author, but it is impossible for the user to know which ones?
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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Beneath the Wheel » Sun Jan 01, 2012 6:28 am

In that case, I would suppose that, since the precept is being "violated" unknowingly, there shouldn't be as much of a problem. I would assume this is the same as accidentally stepping on a bug - since the action is not being undertaken with such a thought or intention in mind.

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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Jaidyn » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:27 am

I thought copyright was theft... :tongue:

Someone was thinking similar thoughts: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index ... 621AAldL1h

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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Moth » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:52 am

I used to download everything, now I refrain. Personally, I would argue that it is sharing but for me the risk is not worth the reward. It also prevent me from wasting a lot of time watching movies and listening to music, which are just sense desires and distractions. Ultimately I believe it is to your benefit to avoid it. The feeling of being certain in your own morality is more valuable than any torrent.
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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Jaidyn » Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:08 am

I heard in switzerland downloading will remain legal.

Swiss Govt: Downloading Movies and Music Will Stay Legal

One in three people in Switzerland download unauthorized music, movies and games from the Internet and since last year the government has been wondering what to do about it. This week their response was published and it was crystal clear. Not only will downloading for personal use stay completely legal, but the copyright holders won’t suffer because of it, since people eventually spend the money saved on entertainment products.
[...]
The overall conclusion of the study is that the current copyright law, under which downloading copyrighted material for personal use is permitted, doesn’t have to change.
http://torrentfreak.com/swiss-govt-down ... al-111202/


If I live in switzerland and download copyrighted material, do I violate the 2nd percept?
:thinking:

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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Ytrog » Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:54 pm

Jaidyn wrote:I heard in switzerland downloading will remain legal.

Swiss Govt: Downloading Movies and Music Will Stay Legal

One in three people in Switzerland download unauthorized music, movies and games from the Internet and since last year the government has been wondering what to do about it. This week their response was published and it was crystal clear. Not only will downloading for personal use stay completely legal, but the copyright holders won’t suffer because of it, since people eventually spend the money saved on entertainment products.
[...]
The overall conclusion of the study is that the current copyright law, under which downloading copyrighted material for personal use is permitted, doesn’t have to change.
http://torrentfreak.com/swiss-govt-down ... al-111202/


If I live in switzerland and download copyrighted material, do I violate the 2nd percept?
:thinking:

The precepts are moral in nature not juridical.
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Jaidyn » Mon Jan 02, 2012 4:31 pm

Ytrog wrote:The precepts are moral in nature not juridical.


So, do I violate the Buddhist moral percept by allowing myself actions - downloading copyrighted material - which are juridically correct in this country? If I am living in switzerland.

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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby daverupa » Mon Jan 02, 2012 4:46 pm

Jaidyn wrote:
Ytrog wrote:The precepts are moral in nature not juridical.


So, do I violate the Buddhist moral percept by allowing myself actions - downloading copyrighted material - which are juridically correct in this country? If I am living in switzerland.


I think you can only know your intention, so look to that - Buddhist morality is centered thereon.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Mon Jan 02, 2012 4:54 pm

How does stealing someone's intellectual property differ from stealing his/her material chattels? This is the question. In my opinion, no difference.

M4
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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Jaidyn » Mon Jan 02, 2012 4:58 pm

daverupa wrote:
Jaidyn wrote:
Ytrog wrote:The precepts are moral in nature not juridical.


So, do I violate the Buddhist moral percept by allowing myself actions - downloading copyrighted material - which are juridically correct in this country? If I am living in switzerland.


I think you can only know your intention, so look to that - Buddhist morality is centered thereon.


1. Then I can, hypothetically, say that a few downloads are by bad intentions. Thoughts may go like this: "this is really great material, I should really be paying for this, these people must have put a lot of effort into this, and I enjoy it without paying for it at the same time as the creators try to make a living by this product".

2. On the other hand, there are things downloaded that, from the downloaders point of view, are just mediocre: things that are not enjoyed very much but just interesting enough to be downloaded, but not good enough that the downloader would ever want pay for it.

For me nr. 1 is bad intention. Nr. 2 is not. Still there is probably always greed involved in both cases, but nr 2 does not count for theft, if we would consider 1 to be theft.

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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby RinaB » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:57 am

I heard in switzerland downloading will remain legal.
If I live in switzerland and download copyrighted material, do I violate the 2nd percept?



It's still the same. Even if you are in other country that downloading is legal, still you did the same act that the religion does not permit us to do. Then with that, you still violated the 2nd precept. But I cannot blame you, dishonestly obtained products are widely available online. It is really difficult to remove it and I know there are a lot of people who patronize this kind of downloading (most especially songs) because of the fact that it is free and affordable. And I admit it is so hard to resist. But the US government now has made a bill with regards to this matter. The SOPA bill is intended to make these materials less obtainable, a fact that customers of the Congressional web connection appear to be reacting to by downloading more unlawful material.It is meant to make copyright protections in the United States better, but there are several opponents of the bill. Some of these opponents have found that Congressional online connections have been used to download illegally acquired products.Resource for this article: Congress supports SOPA while illegally downloading self-help books
Anything that we acquired for free wherein it is not supposed to be is illegal and not right. And if ever this bill will be approved, they should also keep an eye with their people in the government, then it will be fair for everyone.

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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby pilgrim » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:54 am

If I see a picture or file on the Net, I have a right to assume I can copy it unless the owner installs some software to inform me otherwise. Similarly, others have a right to take candid photos of me unless I tell them not to do so.

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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Jaidyn » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:35 pm

Hi and welcome RinaB! Seems to be your first post.

RinaB wrote:
I heard in switzerland downloading will remain legal.
If I live in switzerland and download copyrighted material, do I violate the 2nd percept?


It's still the same. Even if you are in other country that downloading is legal, still you did the same act that the religion does not permit us to do. Then with that, you still violated the 2nd precept.


Does the religion (buddhism) not permit downloading? Why?

RinaB wrote:Anything that we acquired for free wherein it is not supposed to be is illegal and not right.


No, not illegal in switzerland. "Not right" Why? Because the religion does not permit it. How do you know buddhism does not permit it? The problem - as discussed earlier I think - seems to be that copying is not the same as taking something from someone.

Suppose we live in a world where you have to pay money if you want to use the word "flower" in your daily talk. What if some people used the word without paying. Would that be a violation of the 2nd precept? And what if there are countries not applying this pay-for-words-law; are their people "not right" when they use the word "flower" in their daily talk?

Regarding SOPA (you have probably already heard, but anyway):

It was Google co-founder Sergey Brin who warned that the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act "would put us on a par with the most oppressive nations in the world." Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, Twitter co-founders Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone, and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman argue that the bills give the Feds unacceptable "power to censor the Web." http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-57349 ... edictions/

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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Jaidyn » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:17 pm

To complicate the situation even more, consider that file-sharing and copying is recognized as official religion in sweden :tongue:

Since 2010 a group of self-confessed pirates have tried to get their beliefs recognized as an official religion in Sweden. After their request was denied several times, the Church of Kopimism – which holds CTRL+C and CTRL+V as sacred symbols – is now approved by the authorities as an official religion. The Church hopes that its official status will remove the legal stigma that surrounds file-sharing. http://torrentfreak.com/file-sharing-re ... en-120104/


;)

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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Alex123 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:02 pm

Metta-4 wrote:How does stealing someone's intellectual property differ from stealing his/her material chattels? This is the question. In my opinion, no difference.
M4


There is a difference. When you copy, the original is left intact. If you steal material things, you deprive the owner of them. What is wrong is to profit from copying.
"dust to dust...."

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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Beneath the Wheel » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:16 pm

You're right. You aren't actually causing a loss of goods, or income, but you are directly violating the wishes of the content's creator. Don't you think that is something you should be considering? The fact that by accessing someone's created work and doing so against their wishes, thereby causing them suffering, is something you should probably not be doing? It seems like a very simple matter to me.

The fact that the object being "taken" is non-physical certainly does not change the nature of the interaction, which is normally done in exchange for some amount of money. By failing to follow that method of exchange, you are taking something, whether that is a service, or software, that is not being freely and willingly given to you by the creator. Do you think it's ok to sneak into a movie theatre illegally? I mean after all, you're not actually TAKING anything from them right? You're not costing them any money. Is that ok to do?

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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Alex123 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:27 pm

Beneath the Wheel wrote:You're right. You aren't actually causing a loss of goods, or income, but you are directly violating the wishes of the content's creator.


By not being a Christian, for example, you are violating wishes of Christians who want everyone to be Christian. Same for other religions who want everyone to be "saved" by converting into their faith.

The air I breath could have been breathed in by someone else.

What about Buddha criticizing other traditions? What about Buddha using their terminology (Brahmin, Arahant, Kamma, Nibbana and many others)?


Beneath the Wheel wrote:The fact that the object being "taken" is non-physical certainly does not change the nature of the interaction,


It is copied, not taken. And if the person would not have bought it anyways, it doesn't influence the author in any financial way, unless one sells it.

With best wishes,

Alex
Last edited by Alex123 on Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"dust to dust...."

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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Jaidyn » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:36 pm

Beneath the Wheel wrote:You're right. You aren't actually causing a loss of goods, or income, but you are directly violating the wishes of the content's creator. Don't you think that is something you should be considering? The fact that by accessing someone's created work and doing so against their wishes, thereby causing them suffering, is something you should probably not be doing? It seems like a very simple matter to me.


What wishes are not to be violated? How do we discern? Is it because a person created a work that the wish should be respected? I guess there are lots of cases when a teacher in buddhism act in a way not conforming to peoples wishes. There seem to be a relevant difference for this discussion, but I can't articulate it, so, in the end, I am not sure about it. Maybe it is as insane to copyright intellectual property as it would be to copyright the use of certain words in daily language. A person with influence dictating others may wish that no one use certain words.

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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Beneath the Wheel » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:41 pm

Alex123 wrote:
Beneath the Wheel wrote:You're right. You aren't actually causing a loss of goods, or income, but you are directly violating the wishes of the content's creator.


By not being a Christian, for example, you are violating wishes of Christians who want everyone to be Christian. Same for other religions who want everyone to be "saved" by converting into their faith.

What about Buddha criticizing other traditions? What about Buddha using their terminology (Brahmin, Arahant, Kamma, Nibbana and many others)?


I really don't see what you're getting at here. we're talking about people selling a product, and consumers choosing to acquire that product for free against the wishes of the person who created it. I don't know what kind of mental and moral gymastics you're engaging in to try and justify this behavior, but I think we can both agree that it doesn't involve religious conversion, Nibbana, or the conquest of the native americans as suggested earlier in this thread.


Beneath the Wheel wrote:The fact that the object being "taken" is non-physical certainly does not change the nature of the interaction,


It is copied, not taken. And if the person would not have bought it anyways, it doesn't influence the author in any financial way, unless one sells it.

With best wishes,

Alex


Yes, "if" the person would not have bought it anyways. That certainly is a big "if". The fact of the matter is there are plenty of times where the person would have paid for the software/music/etc, but decided not to as a free copy was acquired illegally. If you can't see how that is depriving the creator of compensation and going against their wishes, then I'm not sure how else to put it.

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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Beneath the Wheel » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:45 pm

Jaidyn wrote:
Beneath the Wheel wrote:You're right. You aren't actually causing a loss of goods, or income, but you are directly violating the wishes of the content's creator. Don't you think that is something you should be considering? The fact that by accessing someone's created work and doing so against their wishes, thereby causing them suffering, is something you should probably not be doing? It seems like a very simple matter to me.


What wishes are not to be violated? How do we discern? Is it because a person created a work that the wish should be respected? I guess there are lots of cases when a teacher in buddhism act in a way not conforming to peoples wishes. There seem to be a relevant difference for this discussion, but I can't articulate it, so, in the end, I am not sure about it. Maybe it is as insane to copyright intellectual property as it would be to copyright the use of certain words in daily language. A person with influence dictating others may wish that no one use certain words.



I think there is a reasonable area of freedom surrounding "fair use" of certain things (like words, or common concepts) that can't be held as intellectual property, though I'm no expert in the area. But I do see your point.

And I want to apologize if I seemed harsh toward Alex in my last post. I didn't mean that to come across as any kind of personal attack though it does possibly look that way. My samma vaca, as always, can use more attention.


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