Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
User avatar
greenjuice
Posts: 126
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:56 pm

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby greenjuice » Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:56 am

Taking what is not given is the wording of the precepts. Yes, when you illegally download something, it is not given. But it is really taking? Goes for all intellectual property conundrum. Imagine if someone would to "steal" your car from your garage while you're sleeping by using some new technology that could copy the car. You wake up, get ready for work, go into your garage, get in your car, start it up and drive to work. You notice nothing, a day just like any other. Now, the state could proclaim the the use of this new car-copying technology to be theft, and people would get accustomed to charging other people for copying their cars, and if someone were to copy someone's car without the owners permission, he would be charged with theft. But from a common-sense perspective- was there theft? And from a Buddhist perspective- was something taken? Someone stealing your car while you sleep, you waking up and finding your car in absolutely the same condition as you left it, my personal opinion is that there's nothing there.

User avatar
Weakfocus
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:07 pm

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Weakfocus » Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:17 am

If a person, a company or an organization does not want you to take a copy of their creation without paying, and you download their content with torrents or filelockers, you are denying them some revenue. Of course, it is entirely possible that if downloading was not possible you would not buy the content anyway. A very convenient, hypothetical case. But it does not change the reality that the percept has already been been violated the moment you download the content.

Further, by using filelockers and torrents you are also helping others engage in unskillfull activity and contributing to violation of their percepts, too. Therefore to me it is unquestionably a violation of the percept.

Not that I am perfect and do not break any percepts....I have plenty of music and video content which I downloaded with torrents. Mayhaps some day I will evolve to the point I will not need that content (and/or will have enough cash to buy content), but today is not that day.

User avatar
greenjuice
Posts: 126
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:56 pm

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby greenjuice » Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:24 pm

I am denying them revenue they expect to gain in exchange for giving me permission to use my own property in a certain way, without taking anything from them. It's not real property, it's just made up by the legal system. I have already explained- there is nothing taken. The only thing that is happening is the intellectual property rights holder trying, by threat of law, to limit what I can do with my own property even though by that use of my own property I don't hurt him or take anything from him.

Buckwheat
Posts: 955
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:39 am
Location: California USA

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Buckwheat » Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:06 am

greenjuice wrote:...there is nothing taken...


Suppose there is a play at the local theater. The admission is only $5, but you're too lazy to pay. You sneak in the back door and nestle in with the rest of the crowd watching the show for free. As the show did not sell out, you did not deny anybody a seat. You simply watched the show for free. Nothing was taken.

Does this violate the 2nd precept?

If it does not violate the 2nd precept, then why was your heart racing as you entered the back door?
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

User avatar
Paul Davy
Site Admin
Posts: 16478
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Paul Davy » Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:13 am

Greetings,

Buckwheat wrote:If it does not violate the 2nd precept, then why was your heart racing as you entered the back door?

Non-sequitur... racing hearts have nothing to do with the 2nd precept.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"Whether I were to preach in brief, Sāriputta, or whether I were to preach in detail, Sāriputta, or whether I were to preach both in brief or in detail, Sāriputta, rare are those who understand." (A I 333, Sāriputtasutta)

Buckwheat
Posts: 955
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:39 am
Location: California USA

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Buckwheat » Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:34 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Buckwheat wrote:If it does not violate the 2nd precept, then why was your heart racing as you entered the back door?

Non-sequitur... racing hearts have nothing to do with the 2nd precept.

Metta,
Retro. :)

The part of my statement that you quoted as non-sequitur was not part of the logical argument, but an addendum added in attempt to make an emotional connection. The racing heart is evidence of guilt for the fact that one is stealing admission to a show... guilt for knowing that you are taking what is not freely given.

Do you have any evidence that the Buddha would permit similar behavior under the second precept?
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

User avatar
greenjuice
Posts: 126
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:56 pm

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby greenjuice » Mon Nov 18, 2013 5:47 pm

In the theatre case, one is entering another's property without their permission. In the case of intellectual property rights, it the IP holder that prevents another to use his property in a certain way even though the IP holder's person or property is in no way affected by that use.

E.g. if I buy a book, it is my property. Thereby, I should be able to do anything I want with it- I can read it, put it under a piece of furniture that that isn't stable, I can burn it, toss it into tresh, give it as a gift or sell it. If I copy it and give it as a gift or sell it, I am in no way affecting the writer or his property, just as when burning the book or tossing it in the tresh. It is only the legal system that fictionally says that the ideas can be property, and orders me to give money to the writer if I want to copy and sell a book that is my property. IMO, it would be more proper to say that enforcement of intellectual property is robbery, then to say that "copyright infringement‎" is stealing.

Buckwheat
Posts: 955
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:39 am
Location: California USA

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Buckwheat » Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:33 am

The only thing that makes any property yours (intellectual or physical) is your ability to claim it and fight for it. The legal system gives a community standard for determining what is or is not one persons property so that we may settle things more civilly instead of resorting to fisticuffs.

greenjuice wrote:E.g. if I buy a book, it is my property.


This is not true. Read the contract, written with the publishers info, that you agreed to by paying for use of the book. It is not "your property" but a copy of something that you are being politely allowed to enjoy under certain restrictions for a small compensation. That is an agreement you entered into by choice by purchasing the book. If you don't like those terms, contact the publisher and negotiate new terms, but good luck with that.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

Shaswata_Panja
Posts: 195
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:49 pm

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Shaswata_Panja » Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:58 am

I would suggest those who engage in illegal downloading will never be able to make a good living as a musician, actor or software developer

even in Youtube, see those films and documentaries that have been uploaded by offical channels or producer's channels..else DONOT engage seeing them

User avatar
Doshin
Posts: 99
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:01 am

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Doshin » Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:48 am

Buckwheat wrote:
greenjuice wrote:...there is nothing taken...


Suppose there is a play at the local theater. The admission is only $5, but you're too lazy to pay. You sneak in the back door and nestle in with the rest of the crowd watching the show for free. As the show did not sell out, you did not deny anybody a seat. You simply watched the show for free. Nothing was taken.

Does this violate the 2nd precept?


The wording of my second precept is:
"train to abstain from taking what is not freely given"

If the staff at the theater knew I had entered without paying, they would probably show me the door. In other words I would have taken something (access to the theater), which the owner would not have given me (without paying); i.e. I would have taken something, not given to me.

_/\_
Knowing about dhamma, does not imply knowing dhamma

Shaswata_Panja
Posts: 195
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:49 pm

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Shaswata_Panja » Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:43 pm

see what the free content culture is doing?

Today writers are starving to death and the quality of writing in major online outlets have taken a dive, tomorrow it will be musicians, then it will be software developers and then it will be actors, actresses and directors

we need to honour the people who provide us with mind food and just not iphone, ipads and laptops...what good they would be without such great content??

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/27/opinion/sunday/slaves-of-the-internet-unite.html?src=me&ref=general&_r=0

User avatar
greenjuice
Posts: 126
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:56 pm

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby greenjuice » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:31 pm

Buckwheat wrote:The only thing that makes any property yours (intellectual or physical) is your ability to claim it and fight for it.

Then no theft can exist.

The legal system gives a community standard for determining what is or is not one persons property so that we may settle things more civilly instead of resorting to fisticuffs.

Something being legal doesn't mean it's correct.

This is not true. Read the contract, written with the publishers info, that you agreed to by paying for use of the book.

Then no book is ever sold.

Shaswata_Panja wrote:see what the free content culture is doing?

Today writers are starving to death and the quality of writing in major online outlets have taken a dive, tomorrow it will be musicians, then it will be software developers and then it will be actors, actresses and directors

Boo hoo.

Buckwheat
Posts: 955
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:39 am
Location: California USA

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Buckwheat » Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:15 am

greenjuice wrote:
Buckwheat wrote:The only thing that makes any property yours (intellectual or physical) is your ability to claim it and fight for it.

Then no theft can exist.


greenjuice wrote:
The legal system gives a community standard for determining what is or is not one persons property so that we may settle things more civilly instead of resorting to fisticuffs.

Something being legal doesn't mean it's correct.


greenjuice wrote:
This is not true. Read the contract, written with the publishers info, that you agreed to by paying for use of the book.

Then no book is ever sold.


greenjuice wrote:
Shaswata_Panja wrote:see what the free content culture is doing?

Today writers are starving to death and the quality of writing in major online outlets have taken a dive, tomorrow it will be musicians, then it will be software developers and then it will be actors, actresses and directors

Boo hoo.
[/quote]
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

Sylvester
Posts: 2147
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Sylvester » Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:33 am

On a somewhat related note about intellectual property and the Vinaya, there is this essay -

http://blogs.dickinson.edu/buddhistethi ... -final.pdf

Very briefly, the monastic injunction against theft could plausibly be interpreted to apply only to chattels. Ven Pandita makes the argument that based on several origin stories, the diversion of "potential" gains will not count as theft that entails Defeat. He classifies the breach of the economic rights (he calls them the monopoly rights) in Copyrights as deprivation of potential gains, based on the judicial mechanism of assessing damages.

Not sure if the analysis applies to the 2nd Precept, although both the Vinaya and the 2nd Precept discuss adinnādāna.

D1W1
Posts: 300
Joined: Sat May 30, 2015 5:52 am

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby D1W1 » Mon Oct 19, 2015 2:51 am

Something related to this thread, maybe a good source of information:

Does illegal downloading or viewing of copyright material violate the second precept?
http://buddhism.stackexchange.com/quest ... second-pre

steve19800
Posts: 226
Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:20 am

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby steve19800 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 10:26 am

Hi guys,

As you can see, there are many different views regarding downloading material from internet. I think if we try to understand them, both stealing and not stealing do make sense.

I'm wondering how do you guys come to a conclusion? Do you just follow the precept based on what you think is right or something else? Is there any source/Sutta that can help us understand more about this?

User avatar
Dhammanando
Posts: 3057
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Wat Pa Santigiri, Chiang Rai

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Dhammanando » Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:47 am

steve19800 wrote:I'm wondering how do you guys come to a conclusion?


With any contested moral issue, when things seem to be getting overly complicated, the ethic of reciprocity (aka Golden Rule) will usually suffice to cut through the sophistry and dictate a felicitous conclusion. In the present case I think we all know perfectly well that if our livelihood depended upon receipt of royalties for our creative work, then we would feel robbed if people were making use of our work in a way that bypassed paying us our due. How then can we treat others like that?
* * * * * * * * * * * *

First hermit: Still there’s one thing about being a hermit, at least you get to meet people.

Second hermit: Oh yes! I wouldn’t go back to public relations.
— Monty Python, The Hermits


(I shall be offline from 27th June until November)

User avatar
pilgrim
Posts: 1267
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 2:56 pm

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby pilgrim » Tue Nov 03, 2015 1:11 pm

Laws making downloading illegal are commercial laws, not precepts. These laws can be changed at any time. My precepts are not determined by officials in government. Furthermore, these laws only protect some kinds of copying not all as some forms of unprotected copying are perfectly legal. Again precepts should not be at the whim of who the govt decides to protect.

User avatar
Dhammanando
Posts: 3057
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Wat Pa Santigiri, Chiang Rai

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby Dhammanando » Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:04 pm

pilgrim wrote:Laws making downloading illegal are commercial laws, not precepts.


True, but only trivially so. Secular laws in general are not sikkhāpadas.

pilgrim wrote:These laws can be changed at any time.


Earnest observance of the second precept cannot be separated from considerations of secular law. Whether the law in question be longstanding or ephemeral is irrelevant. Why? Because one of the necessary factors of transgression with this precept is that what is taken must be the property of another. If all the other factors are fulfilled but it turns out that what was taken was ownerless, then the precept is not transgressed. But what determines what counts as "property of another"? The texts define it as "that which another may use or dispose of as he pleases without incurring either the punishment of Kings [i.e. secular rulers of any sort] or the blame of the wise."

pilgrim wrote:My precepts are not determined by officials in government.


In the case of the second precept it is certainly determined in part by the secular powers, excepting only those cases where there is a conflict between what would be deemed punishable by Kings and what would be deemed blameworthy by the wise. In these cases obviously the judgment of the wise gets prioritised, in the same way that in the monastic Vinaya the requirement that bhikkhus "conform to the wishes of the King" is abrogated in cases where the King's wishes are unrighteous.
* * * * * * * * * * * *

First hermit: Still there’s one thing about being a hermit, at least you get to meet people.

Second hermit: Oh yes! I wouldn’t go back to public relations.
— Monty Python, The Hermits


(I shall be offline from 27th June until November)

User avatar
ihrjordan
Posts: 777
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:42 am

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Postby ihrjordan » Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:57 pm

Maybe the problem isn't with those copying freely from someones conceptual idea meant to make a profit...but instead it's the creators fault for thinking that ideas could be owned and turned into profit...copywriting and trademarking are tools to limit information to only those that can afford it, I highly doubt the Buddha would have been for the limiting of information and knowledge to a select few


Return to “Sīla”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine