(1) That's a very long way from copying a movie.
(2) Most of the things we do carry some mixture of kamma and we need to assess the balance. In that case, the good of freeing the slave would (IMO) more than outweigh the bad of stealing.
(1) That's a very long way from copying a movie.
It's not an action, it's a consequence.
When you try to distort the plain intention of the precept to suit your own desires, you are demonstrating that you don't want to follow the precept.
What you say is perfectly plain. It shows that you are determined not to see the harm done to creative people by depriving them of due payment for their work. If you don't want to see, nothing I say will change your mind.Sovatthika wrote: ↑Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:42 amfrom my perspective, what i contend is rather plain
nothing is being taken.
therefore not breaking the precept
it's an unfortunate convention for ip infringement to be called theft, but
worldly law is not dhammic law. this is very important
there doesn't have to be anything noble or good in file sharing for it not to be theft
I think you're oversimplifying. There are some Buddhist moral precepts that are wholly independent of what any worldly law might decree (e.g., the first, fourth and fifth); there are others that are not. The second precept is of the latter sort. Although it cannot be equated with worldly law, nor can it be wholly separated from it, for the key term "what is not-given" (adinnaṃ) is (in part) to be understood with reference to what the laws of the land decree as counting as property.
If you can have it, then it can be taken.
Bhikkhu Sujato wrote:You’d think that it wouldn’t need stating, but evidently it does: Buddhism is about letting go, copyright is about holding on.
Even if we can accept a case for certain forms of copyright in certain spheres of life, how should that apply to Buddhism? After all, Buddhism not merely survived, but flourished for thousands of years before copyright came on the picture. Perhaps some historical perspective is in order.
The first question, which can be dealt with swiftly, is whether copying is stealing under the Buddhist precepts. The answer is no. Stealing in Buddhism requires that the owner be deprived of something. Copying is not taking. You could argue that the creator is indirectly deprived of income, but that is irrelevant. There are plenty of ways to indirectly deprive someone of income; I could set up a rival business, for example. I might even do that out of malice, to deliberately harm you. That may not be a nice thing to do, it might even be illegal, but it has nothing to do with stealing. Of course, breaking copyright is against the law, which is a separate matter; but it is not breaking precepts.
Incidentally, many monastics, like most people in developing countries, use pirated software all the time. If copying was stealing, they’d risk falling into an expulsion offence. However, even though there is no expulsion offence for using the software, it is still often illegal. This is one of the many reasons why monastics should use Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), such as Linux. This also highlights one of the often-overlooked details of copyright history. Software is an unusual industry in that extensive copying has existed as long as the industry has. People have been using millions of pirated copies of Windows and other software as long as they have been around. Yet software companies are thriving, and making record profits.
For the Buddhist tradition, as indeed for most ancient traditions, there is no notion of intellectual property. People borrowed and copied all the time. Buddhist texts are full of cases where monks or nuns are quoting verbatim passages from the Buddha or others, and there is never an issue of ownership. That’s because the Dhamma is not about ownership. It’s about helping people let go of suffering.
The Dhamma was felt to be, if anyone’s, the Buddha’s. The Buddha encouraged his students to teach the Dhamma in their own language; so that, from the earliest days, the Dhamma existed in multiple translated forms, all of which were considered to be the words of the Buddha. When the texts were later translated into Chinese and Tibetan, they continued this tradition, regarding these texts as “the word of the Buddha” in exactly the same sense as the “original” scriptures (which were themselves translations from one Indic dialect to another).
However, in modern times agreements such as the Berne convention ruled that translations should be considered to be original creations. I think this is a mistake. I’ve done original writing, and I’ve done translations, and they are very different kinds of things. You can, for example, get a computer to do translation, albeit poorly, but no computer can write a meaningful original article.