Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

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

Postby Alex123 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:11 pm

MoDi wrote: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.?


Interesting thing. Why is watching a certain movie on tv is legal, or renting it from library, yet downloading it is not?
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Re: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby BlackBird » Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:07 am

MoDi wrote: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.?


This is exactly why it's such a grey area.
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Re: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby Buckwheat » Sat Jun 08, 2013 6:21 am

Alex123 wrote:
MoDi wrote: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.?


Interesting thing. Why is watching a certain movie on tv is legal, or renting it from library, yet downloading it is not?

Because it violate the user agreement. If I create something I can choose to share it or not. I can also choose to share it with certain restrictions, and as a society we have decided that is a legitimate thing to do. The television show is only freely given with the condition that you watch the commercials. If you do not watch the commercials, then it was not freely given.

If you wish to change the system, then you may advocate for changes via the political process in you nation of residence, but if you do, then there will probably cease to be any programs to steal in the first place.
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Re: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby Vern Stevens » Sat Jun 08, 2013 7:24 am

Based on my own conscience, I will not receive something I know to have been stolen or pirated. I appreciate the creation of the content that I enjoy and it seems appropriate to compensate the creators and/or distributors of that content.
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Re: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby dhammapal » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:18 am

Here are some thoughts based regarding the bhikkhus' vinaya:
Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The modern world contains many forms of ownership and monetary exchange that did not exist in the time of the Buddha, and so contains many forms of stealing that did not exist then either. Here are a handful of cases that come to mind as examples of ways in which the standards of this rule might be applied to modern situations.

Infringement of copyright. The international standards for copyright advocated by UNESCO state that infringement of copyright is tantamount to theft. However, in practice, an accusation of copyright infringement is judged not as a case of theft but as one of "fair use," the issue being the extent to which a person in possession of an item may fairly copy that item for his/her own use or to give or sell to another person without compensating the copyright owner. Thus even a case of "unfair use" would not fulfill the factors of effort and object under this rule, in that — in creating a copy — one is not taking possession of an item that does not belong to one, and one is not depriving the owners of something already theirs. At most, the copyright owners might claim that they are being deprived of compensation owed to them, but as we have argued above, the principle of compensation owed does not rightly belong under this rule. In the terminology of the Canon, a case of unfair use would fall under either of two categories — acting for the non-gain of the copyright owners or wrong livelihood — categories that entail a dukkata under the general rule against misbehavior (Cv.V.36). They would also make one eligible for a disciplinary transaction, such as reconciliation or banishment (see BMC2, Chapter 20), which the Community could impose if it saw the infringement as serious enough to merit such a punishment.

Copying computer software. The agreement made when installing software on a computer, by which one agrees not to give the software to anyone else, comes under contract law. As such, a breach of that contract would be treated under the category of "deceit," described above, which means that a bhikkhu who gives software to a friend in defiance of this contract would incur the penalty for a broken promise. As for the friend — assuming that he is a bhikkhu — the act of receiving the software and putting it on his computer would be treated under the precedent, mentioned above, of the bhikkhus receiving fruit from an orchard groundkeeper not authorized to give it away: He would incur no offense. However, as he must agree to the contract before installing the software on his computer, he would incur a penalty for a broken promise if he then gave the software to someone else in defiance of the contract.

Credit cards. The theft of a credit card would of course be an offense. Because the owner of the card, in most cases, would not be required to pay for the stolen card, the seriousness of a theft of this sort would be determined by how the thief used the card. NP 20 would forbid a bhikkhu from using a credit card to buy anything even if the card were his to use, although a bhikkhu who had gone to the extent of stealing a card would probably not be dissuaded by that rule from using it or having someone else use it for him. In any event, the use of the card would be equivalent to using a stolen key to open a safe. If the thief hands the credit card to a store clerk to make a purchase, that would count as a gesture telling the clerk to transfer funds from the account of the credit card company. Because such operations are automated, the clerk's attempt to have the funds transferred would count not as an act of deceit but an act of taking. If the credit card company's machines authorize the transaction, then the theft occurs as soon as funds are transferred from one account to another. The seriousness of the theft would be calculated in line with the principle of the "prior plan" mentioned above.

In a situation where the funds, if transferred, would entail a paaraajika, then if the machines do not authorize the transaction, the bhikkhu trying to use the card would incur a thullaccaya for getting the clerk to attempt the transfer. If the clerk, doubting the bhikkhu's right to use the card, refuses to attempt the transfer, the bhikkhu would incur a dukkata in making the gesture of command.

Similar considerations would apply to the unauthorized use of debit cards, ATM cards, phone cards, personal identification numbers, or any other means by which funds would be transferred from the owner's account by automated means.

A forged check drawn on a bank where the scanning and approval of checks is fully automated would fall under this category. If drawn on a bank where an employee would be responsible for approving the check, the entire case would come under false dealing, discussed above.

Unauthorized telephone or Internet use would count as theft only if the charges were automatically transferred from the owner's account. If the owner is simply billed for the charges, he/she could refuse to pay, and so no theft would have occurred. This would count, not as a theft, but as promise made in bad faith, which would incur a paacittiya. If, however, the case seemed serious enough, and the paacittiya too light a punishment, the Community could impose a disciplinary transaction on the offender.

Impounded items — such as a repaired automobile kept in a mechanic's shop — would apparently be treated in a similar way to smuggled goods.
From: Chapter 4 Paaraajika Buddhist Monastic Code I
by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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

Postby daverupa » Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:24 pm

Buckwheat wrote:If you do not watch the commercials, then it was not freely given.


This would mean that leaving the room during a commercial break in order to make a sandwich and use the latrine entails theft.

I can imagine a dystopian setting where people subject themselves to hours and hours of commercials in order to earn entertainment credits.

It's a strange argument.
    "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: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby Vern Stevens » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:52 pm

Buckwheat wrote:The television show is only freely given with the condition that you watch the commercials. If you do not watch the commercials, then it was not freely given.


If you are making a legal argument, precedence already disagrees with you. Some links you might consider;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Corp. ... udios,_Inc.

Last year these cases came up specifically addressing "skipping commercials" (specifically by way of Dish Network's Hopper DVR);

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/201205 ... ment.shtml

So far, the road for the plaintiffs (at least some of them) has not been easy;

http://www.martindale.com/business-law/ ... 635518.htm

So, it is not legally clear cut yet that skipping commercials violates any user agreement at this point.

Additionally, I don't recall any TV set I've ever purchased coming with a user agreement dictating that any and all TV commercials displayed while watching a show must be watched. Of all the times I've watched TV, I've never seen such a demand broadcast on a network either. Can you point to such user agreement?

I think you have to look for a different argument against downloading TV shows that the downloading person did not record themselves for personal "fair use".
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Re: Someone gives you something that's downloaded illegally?

Postby dagon » Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:10 am

Where the issue of copyright becomes even more gray for someone trying to follow the Darmma is that most adverts seek to induce you to act in ways that lead you off the path.

i guess that the right answer in that case is not to watch TV -easy for someone who turned the idiot box off before even considering following the path that Buddha showed us because of his enlightened compassion.

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

Postby Buckwheat » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:19 am

Vern Stevens wrote:
Buckwheat wrote:The television show is only freely given with the condition that you watch the commercials. If you do not watch the commercials, then it was not freely given.


If you are making a legal argument,


No, I am not making a legal argument. Only acknowledging that the reason the TV executives funded the production of the show was to sell advertising to make money. Legally, this is a business model based on antiquated technology, and how this plays out over the next couple decades is a mystery to me. But I can clearly see that the person funding the TV shows intends for me to watch the commercials so that they can continue selling more commercials in the future. Of course, for movies my statement would require replacing the term "commercials" with the term "theater tickets".

Disclaimer: I skip commercials all the time on the DVR. I do not mean to judge others. I am only pointing out that our collective actions may have consequences that we won't enjoy.
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