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).

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

Postby retrofuturist » 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. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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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?
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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.
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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.
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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
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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.

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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
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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.
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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]
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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.
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