Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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RinaB
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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by RinaB » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:57 am

I heard in switzerland downloading will remain legal.
If I live in switzerland and download copyrighted material, do I violate the 2nd percept?

It's still the same. Even if you are in other country that downloading is legal, still you did the same act that the religion does not permit us to do. Then with that, you still violated the 2nd precept. But I cannot blame you, dishonestly obtained products are widely available online. It is really difficult to remove it and I know there are a lot of people who patronize this kind of downloading (most especially songs) because of the fact that it is free and affordable. And I admit it is so hard to resist. But the US government now has made a bill with regards to this matter. The SOPA bill is intended to make these materials less obtainable, a fact that customers of the Congressional web connection appear to be reacting to by downloading more unlawful material.It is meant to make copyright protections in the United States better, but there are several opponents of the bill. Some of these opponents have found that Congressional online connections have been used to download illegally acquired products.Resource for this article: Congress supports SOPA while illegally downloading self-help books
Anything that we acquired for free wherein it is not supposed to be is illegal and not right. And if ever this bill will be approved, they should also keep an eye with their people in the government, then it will be fair for everyone.

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

Post by pilgrim » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:54 am

If I see a picture or file on the Net, I have a right to assume I can copy it unless the owner installs some software to inform me otherwise. Similarly, others have a right to take candid photos of me unless I tell them not to do so.

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

Post by Jaidyn » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:35 pm

Hi and welcome RinaB! Seems to be your first post.
RinaB wrote:
I heard in switzerland downloading will remain legal.
If I live in switzerland and download copyrighted material, do I violate the 2nd percept?
It's still the same. Even if you are in other country that downloading is legal, still you did the same act that the religion does not permit us to do. Then with that, you still violated the 2nd precept.
Does the religion (buddhism) not permit downloading? Why?
RinaB wrote:Anything that we acquired for free wherein it is not supposed to be is illegal and not right.
No, not illegal in switzerland. "Not right" Why? Because the religion does not permit it. How do you know buddhism does not permit it? The problem - as discussed earlier I think - seems to be that copying is not the same as taking something from someone.

Suppose we live in a world where you have to pay money if you want to use the word "flower" in your daily talk. What if some people used the word without paying. Would that be a violation of the 2nd precept? And what if there are countries not applying this pay-for-words-law; are their people "not right" when they use the word "flower" in their daily talk?

Regarding SOPA (you have probably already heard, but anyway):
It was Google co-founder Sergey Brin who warned that the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act "would put us on a par with the most oppressive nations in the world." Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, Twitter co-founders Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone, and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman argue that the bills give the Feds unacceptable "power to censor the Web." http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-57349 ... edictions/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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

Post by Jaidyn » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:17 pm

To complicate the situation even more, consider that file-sharing and copying is recognized as official religion in sweden :tongue:
Since 2010 a group of self-confessed pirates have tried to get their beliefs recognized as an official religion in Sweden. After their request was denied several times, the Church of Kopimism – which holds CTRL+C and CTRL+V as sacred symbols – is now approved by the authorities as an official religion. The Church hopes that its official status will remove the legal stigma that surrounds file-sharing. http://torrentfreak.com/file-sharing-re ... en-120104/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
;)

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Alex123
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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by Alex123 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:02 pm

Metta-4 wrote:How does stealing someone's intellectual property differ from stealing his/her material chattels? This is the question. In my opinion, no difference.
M4
There is a difference. When you copy, the original is left intact. If you steal material things, you deprive the owner of them. What is wrong is to profit from copying.
"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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Beneath the Wheel
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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by Beneath the Wheel » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:16 pm

You're right. You aren't actually causing a loss of goods, or income, but you are directly violating the wishes of the content's creator. Don't you think that is something you should be considering? The fact that by accessing someone's created work and doing so against their wishes, thereby causing them suffering, is something you should probably not be doing? It seems like a very simple matter to me.

The fact that the object being "taken" is non-physical certainly does not change the nature of the interaction, which is normally done in exchange for some amount of money. By failing to follow that method of exchange, you are taking something, whether that is a service, or software, that is not being freely and willingly given to you by the creator. Do you think it's ok to sneak into a movie theatre illegally? I mean after all, you're not actually TAKING anything from them right? You're not costing them any money. Is that ok to do?

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Alex123
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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by Alex123 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:27 pm

Beneath the Wheel wrote:You're right. You aren't actually causing a loss of goods, or income, but you are directly violating the wishes of the content's creator.
By not being a Christian, for example, you are violating wishes of Christians who want everyone to be Christian. Same for other religions who want everyone to be "saved" by converting into their faith.

The air I breath could have been breathed in by someone else.

What about Buddha criticizing other traditions? What about Buddha using their terminology (Brahmin, Arahant, Kamma, Nibbana and many others)?

Beneath the Wheel wrote:The fact that the object being "taken" is non-physical certainly does not change the nature of the interaction,
It is copied, not taken. And if the person would not have bought it anyways, it doesn't influence the author in any financial way, unless one sells it.

With best wishes,

Alex
Last edited by Alex123 on Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"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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Jaidyn
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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by Jaidyn » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:36 pm

Beneath the Wheel wrote:You're right. You aren't actually causing a loss of goods, or income, but you are directly violating the wishes of the content's creator. Don't you think that is something you should be considering? The fact that by accessing someone's created work and doing so against their wishes, thereby causing them suffering, is something you should probably not be doing? It seems like a very simple matter to me.
What wishes are not to be violated? How do we discern? Is it because a person created a work that the wish should be respected? I guess there are lots of cases when a teacher in buddhism act in a way not conforming to peoples wishes. There seem to be a relevant difference for this discussion, but I can't articulate it, so, in the end, I am not sure about it. Maybe it is as insane to copyright intellectual property as it would be to copyright the use of certain words in daily language. A person with influence dictating others may wish that no one use certain words.

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Beneath the Wheel
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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by Beneath the Wheel » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:41 pm

Alex123 wrote:
Beneath the Wheel wrote:You're right. You aren't actually causing a loss of goods, or income, but you are directly violating the wishes of the content's creator.
By not being a Christian, for example, you are violating wishes of Christians who want everyone to be Christian. Same for other religions who want everyone to be "saved" by converting into their faith.

What about Buddha criticizing other traditions? What about Buddha using their terminology (Brahmin, Arahant, Kamma, Nibbana and many others)?
I really don't see what you're getting at here. we're talking about people selling a product, and consumers choosing to acquire that product for free against the wishes of the person who created it. I don't know what kind of mental and moral gymastics you're engaging in to try and justify this behavior, but I think we can both agree that it doesn't involve religious conversion, Nibbana, or the conquest of the native americans as suggested earlier in this thread.

Beneath the Wheel wrote:The fact that the object being "taken" is non-physical certainly does not change the nature of the interaction,
It is copied, not taken. And if the person would not have bought it anyways, it doesn't influence the author in any financial way, unless one sells it.

With best wishes,

Alex
Yes, "if" the person would not have bought it anyways. That certainly is a big "if". The fact of the matter is there are plenty of times where the person would have paid for the software/music/etc, but decided not to as a free copy was acquired illegally. If you can't see how that is depriving the creator of compensation and going against their wishes, then I'm not sure how else to put it.

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Beneath the Wheel
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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by Beneath the Wheel » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:45 pm

Jaidyn wrote:
Beneath the Wheel wrote:You're right. You aren't actually causing a loss of goods, or income, but you are directly violating the wishes of the content's creator. Don't you think that is something you should be considering? The fact that by accessing someone's created work and doing so against their wishes, thereby causing them suffering, is something you should probably not be doing? It seems like a very simple matter to me.
What wishes are not to be violated? How do we discern? Is it because a person created a work that the wish should be respected? I guess there are lots of cases when a teacher in buddhism act in a way not conforming to peoples wishes. There seem to be a relevant difference for this discussion, but I can't articulate it, so, in the end, I am not sure about it. Maybe it is as insane to copyright intellectual property as it would be to copyright the use of certain words in daily language. A person with influence dictating others may wish that no one use certain words.

I think there is a reasonable area of freedom surrounding "fair use" of certain things (like words, or common concepts) that can't be held as intellectual property, though I'm no expert in the area. But I do see your point.

And I want to apologize if I seemed harsh toward Alex in my last post. I didn't mean that to come across as any kind of personal attack though it does possibly look that way. My samma vaca, as always, can use more attention.

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

Post by Clarence » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:46 pm

saltspring wrote:Did anybody here make copies in the 1980's or 90's using cassete or VHS tape? I hope not. Three Hail Mary's and two Our Father Who Art in Heaven's for all the Buddhist stone casters in the crowd.
I am surprised noone responded to this. Nowadays, one can stream most tv-series and movies for free through the internet. I have been thinking about this a bit and think that comes very close to using VHS tapes. Back in the day, and probably still today, noone would think it was stealing to tape a tv-show for a friend. Since I pay for cable, through which I will see all those shows (only later), I think the library friend had a good point when he said he was only cheating time. :tongue:
Last edited by Clarence on Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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mikenz66
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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:59 pm

I think this answer is most appropriate:
Kare wrote:Ask yourself: Is this given by someone who has the right to give it? Or am I taking something which is not given?
The precepts is something we undertake voluntarily as part of our training. Obsessing over the "letter of the precepts" seems to me to be completely missing the point. My advice is that if you have a doubt about something being against the precept, avoid it.

And legality or not seems to me to also miss the point. Killing (some beings), (some) sexual misconduct, lying (in many circumstances) and getting (somewhat) intoxicated is legal in most places...

:anjali:
MIke

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

Post by BubbaBuddhist » Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:13 pm

This thread is most interesting. We now know those who can manufacture justifications for stealing when it suits their agenda and those who possess moral integrity.

*Keeps hand on wallet in case someone wants a CD they can't afford.* :guns:

M4
Author of Redneck Buddhism: or Will You Reincarnate as Your Own Cousin?

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

Post by pilgrim » Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:55 am

Just because an act is illegal, it does not make it immoral, just as there are immoral acts which are not illegal. There are laws which I disagree with and care little about.

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

Post by Jaidyn » Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:53 am

mikenz66 wrote:And legality or not seems to me to also miss the point. Killing (some beings), (some) sexual misconduct, lying (in many circumstances) and getting (somewhat) intoxicated is legal in most places...
Yes, laws in a country does not have precedence over the Buddhist moral and will not excuse actions. However, I find it hard to ignore the local laws entirely in this debate, as they declare what things can be regarded as objects for possession. If an object cannot be regarded as "possessable", then it cannot be stolen. However, it may be that the “creators/owners” own wish is the only thing that matters to judge if it is theft or not, but then some people may have insane wishes like “do not copy my dressing style”. Would copying a dressing style be a violation? We know teens are having such problems: “she copies my dressing style ... and she is a dork”. The style is informally declared owned and the teen does not wish it to be copied. I would say it is a violation, but it can not be a violation if 70% of the school adopts the style and the particular teen still wish to wear it exclusively. Or can it? A parallel may be drawn to copying music... if 70% copies the music ...
Metta-4 wrote:This thread is most interesting. We now know those who can manufacture justifications for stealing when it suits their agenda and those who possess moral integrity.


No, we do not know who does “manufacture justifications” to steal when it suits their agenda. We do know that people are trying to “manufacture understanding” and we know that current understanding can be used as justifications to steal, but current understanding must not necessarily lead to justifying actions like stealing. You declare “We now know those who can [do bad things]” but I doubt your ability to judge that by looking at a thread.

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