Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
Digity
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Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby Digity » Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:19 am

I think downloading illegal content is stealing, but what if someone gives you something that was downloaded illegally? Is that considered stealing? You didn't commit the act of downloading it, but someone else did and sent it to you. Thoughts?

plwk
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Re: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby plwk » Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:29 am

Is it a choice for you to refuse it?

SamKR
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Re: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby SamKR » Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:41 am

It sounds similar to eating meat of an animal killed by someone else.
But still I think it is better to avoid illegal stuff even if downloaded by others.

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Ben
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Re: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby Ben » Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:53 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:55 am

It is the license to use the product that needs to paid for, not the binary data that its made of.

Someone once downloaded a cracked version of a software product that I asked him to buy a license for my use. I used it for ages, without knowing anything until I tried to upgrade it. The software vendor then told me that I was using a cracked version.

It was hard to explain how a monk came to be using illegal software — :embarassed:

Fortunately, he understood and donated a license to me because I had been helpful in the product's support forums.

It is not the same as the ethics of purchasing meat. Killing animals is wrong action and earning a living by selling meat is wrong livelihood according to Buddhism, but its not illegal, so buying meat is not the same as buying stolen goods at cut-down prices, or getting illegal downloads for free.
Last edited by Bhikkhu Pesala on Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

Digity
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Re: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby Digity » Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:09 am


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Ben
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Re: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby Ben » Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:15 am

If you didn't know it was downloaded illegally than I wouldn't worry about it.
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

SamKR
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Re: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby SamKR » Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:21 am


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James the Giant
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Re: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby James the Giant » Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:58 am

I remember being surprised when I read about this in the Buddhist Monastic Code.... I seem to remember it's one of the rare instances where the vinaya is less strict than our modern laws.
I can't remember it clearly... I might look it out tomorrow if nobody does tonight.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.

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Mr Man
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Re: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby Mr Man » Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:20 am

Hi Digity
I think you should look at why you even have the question.
:anjali:
Last edited by Mr Man on Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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James the Giant
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Re: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby James the Giant » Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:45 pm

Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.

Strive4Karuna
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Re: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby Strive4Karuna » Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:47 pm

What do you guys think about downloading tv shows that are not available for purchase? If it was available in DVD or Blu-Ray box format then yes I would say it is unethical. But what if it was never made available for purchase?

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Ben
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Re: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby Ben » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:57 pm

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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Cittasanto
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Re: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:59 pm



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

Buckwheat
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Re: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby Buckwheat » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:04 am

Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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BlackBird
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Re: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby BlackBird » Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:19 am

If you cannot buy the dvd, and the show's not on tv, I wouldn't see it as morally reprehensible to download it.
I happen to think there's quite a moral difference between internet piracy and real theft. But others of course have a different opinion.

It's not a black and white issue and imo downloading shows and movies etc is more like receiving stolen goods than it is actually stealing, since you're not depriving anyone of anything physical, and you're not the one who ripped it from the legitimate copy. So the person you're downloading it from has offered it to you freely and in most cases the ripper obtained the copy legally, so he didn't steal it either, what he did do was distribute a copy of said material to others which is a breach of most EULA's and in most countries is illegal. Some may agree with the above but argue that by doing so I'm depriving them of profits they would have otherwise have received, and my answer is no, because in most cases I wouldn't have bought it in the first place. If I find an emerging artist or production company that I feel needs the money, or deserves it I will be more than willing to pay for the goods.

So I don't think it's a good fit for the definition of "theft," and I personally wouldn't feel the need to renew the precept should I download something I know I don't have the copyright for. I don't feel bad, and it doesn't seem to affect my meditation the way other things might. I don't feel its a breach of sila, or at worst - Not a serious one, but that's just my view and it's not necessarily the right one.

People who are absolutists either in favour of piracy or against it I feel are closed minded on this issue.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." -

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Ben
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Re: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby Ben » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:25 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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Alex123
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Re: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:59 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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fivebells
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Re: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby fivebells » Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:57 pm


MoDi
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Re: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby MoDi » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:28 pm

I've always wondered about this, actually:

We own a TV, but we don't watch it. We also own a VCR and other recording devices.

Now, is it "stealing" if you download a show that you would get easily by just turning on the TV at a specific time? For instance, a basic channel that plays free TV. Is it considered stealing if you download that show, or is it just like you are using the internet as a VCR/TiVo/etc.?


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