Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
User avatar
Kim OHara
Posts: 4968
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by Kim OHara » Mon Oct 23, 2017 5:47 am

Sovatthika wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 3:32 am
forcibly liberating a slave in the united states would have been considered theft, but it would have been a very kind thing to do
(1) That's a very long way from copying a movie. :jawdrop:
(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.

:coffee:
Kim

User avatar
Kim OHara
Posts: 4968
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by Kim OHara » Mon Oct 23, 2017 5:50 am

Sovatthika wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:06 am
see it, hear it, etc., i mean. i'm surprised to see a lot of people here describing kamma as a positive obligation (rather than a negative one); to me, it is something you don't do.
It's not an action, it's a consequence.
There's no 'obligation', any more than there's an 'obligation' to abide by the Law of Gravity.

:coffee:
Kim

User avatar
Dhammarakkhito
Posts: 1115
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:31 am
Contact:

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:09 am

yeah those points i made might have been irrelevant

but yeah the owner hasn't been deprived of their content (movie, song, book, etc.); violating the law and stealing (taking what has not been given) is not the same thing.
they might not be getting as much money (some content is released free and indirectly the company gains thru free advertising) but they still have their work. you run into absurdity trying to hold up this ethic. is taking a picture of a piece of bread taking the bread? no. 'do you need to download...' irrelevant
when you start with a bad interpretation of a precept and hold up unnecessary standards you make it harder to follow the precepts
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

https://www.facebook.com/noblebuddhadha ... 34/?type=3

http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://sites.google.com/site/santipada ... allytaught

User avatar
Dhammarakkhito
Posts: 1115
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:31 am
Contact:

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:22 am

analyze what is being taken. can you take data?
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

https://www.facebook.com/noblebuddhadha ... 34/?type=3

http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://sites.google.com/site/santipada ... allytaught

User avatar
Kim OHara
Posts: 4968
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by Kim OHara » Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:55 am

Sovatthika wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:09 am
... when you start with a bad interpretation of a precept and hold up unnecessary standards you make it harder to follow the precepts
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.

:thinking:
Kim

User avatar
Dhammarakkhito
Posts: 1115
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:31 am
Contact:

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:42 am

from 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
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

https://www.facebook.com/noblebuddhadha ... 34/?type=3

http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://sites.google.com/site/santipada ... allytaught

User avatar
Kim OHara
Posts: 4968
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by Kim OHara » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:21 am

Sovatthika wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:42 am
from 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
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.
I will leave you to enjoy the workings of kamma, if you are right, or suffer them, if I am.

:namaste:
Kim

User avatar
Dhammanando
Posts: 4029
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Ban Sri Pradu Cremation Ground, Phrao District, Chiangmai

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by Dhammanando » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:48 am

Sovatthika wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:42 am
but worldly law is not dhammic law.
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.

binocular
Posts: 5453
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by binocular » Mon Nov 06, 2017 12:44 pm

Sovatthika wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:22 am
analyze what is being taken. can you take data?
If you can have it, then it can be taken.

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16306
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 6:37 pm

binocular wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 12:44 pm
Sovatthika wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:22 am
analyze what is being taken. can you take data?
If you can have it, then it can be taken.
Brilliant!
:clap:
Mike

User avatar
Dhammarakkhito
Posts: 1115
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:31 am
Contact:

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:26 pm

it would be fitting then if i knew the origin of adinnaṃ like if it comes from a sutta, like did something happen for that to be lain down as a rule
kim, please don't make this personal. in my opinion you are both psychoanalyzing and inviting kammic retribution on another forum member. i'm just as interested in knowing what does/does not break precept and take practice very seriously. you just haven't provided a substantial argument in my opinion
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

https://www.facebook.com/noblebuddhadha ... 34/?type=3

http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://sites.google.com/site/santipada ... allytaught

User avatar
Dhammarakkhito
Posts: 1115
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:31 am
Contact:

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:54 pm

i was essentially going to say this, that copyright infringement isn't actually considered stealing by US law, but then i found myself reading well more about us law than i thought would benefit me so i gave up pursuing that
i was also going to say that copyright enforcement requires breaching the first amendment
but does the precept say 'do not violate the law of the land', no, it says dont take what is not given
do give and take change meaning with regard to the law? maybe if you compare primitive communist society to modern capitalist one. of course, earlier humans may not have even had a concept of theft
Attachments
Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 14.48.18.png
Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 14.48.18.png (236.86 KiB) Viewed 934 times
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

https://www.facebook.com/noblebuddhadha ... 34/?type=3

http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://sites.google.com/site/santipada ... allytaught

User avatar
Dhammarakkhito
Posts: 1115
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:31 am
Contact:

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:23 pm

i have read now what i believe is the totality of ven dhammanando's argument

>you should consider the law of the land regarding taking what is not given, provided the context of the situation is not clear enough
>the law determines what is someones property
>intellectual 'property'
>wouldn't you feel bad if someone deprived you, via ip violation, of the money you'd have earned

well, in so many cases they wouldn't have gotten any money anyway because the person didn't deem the content worth paying for; if there were no way of 'taking' it (continually referring to it as such begs the question), then they would have just not consumed it

but that's beside the point

the ven has gone from the object that would be taken, the information, and switched to another object, the money that the royalty company would pay, which is not even being taken by the file sharer
the money still belongs to the royalty company as it was never taken by the file sharer; it didn't belong to the aggrieved party to begin with, it was only agreed to be paid to them upon certain conditions. one hasn't even prevented the company from giving to the aggrieved, the preventing of which would be a demerit. there is really nothing i can even identify as inherently unwholesome about file sharing.
Attachments
Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 16.24.05.png
Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 16.24.05.png (115.33 KiB) Viewed 924 times
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

https://www.facebook.com/noblebuddhadha ... 34/?type=3

http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://sites.google.com/site/santipada ... allytaught

User avatar
Javi
Posts: 472
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:40 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by Javi » Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:07 am

Interesting thread, I'm definitely more weary of infringing copyright after reading it! However I cannot say I agree that it violates the precept on stealing - even if it is possibly unskillful as many have argued.

Just wanted to share Venerable Sujato's blog post on this issue

https://sujato.wordpress.com/2015/05/20/copy-this/

He tends to fall on the side of the debate which says it is not stealing, but he also promotes open source software use and does not actually go as far as promoting copyright violation.

Also, keep in mind that he was a musician for some years so he knows what it is like to be on the side of the creator of content
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.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

binocular
Posts: 5453
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by binocular » Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:07 am

Ven. Thanissaro once mentioned in a Dhamma talk that even just thinking about someone without their permission constitutes stealing.

It can sometimes be difficult to define whether a particular activity breaks a precept or not. But one can have a sense that a particular activity breaks the spirit of the precept. Which, for me, personally, suffices.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests