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Is "pirating" really illegal? Answered

I mean, really. I'm not selling the pirated stuff i'm just using for my own entertainment. is that legal?



Best Answer 9 years ago

Define "pirating". Downloading a copy of a copyrighted work (music, film, software etc) that is available commercially is illegal. Providing copies of commercially available copyrighted works for others to download is illegal. Making a copy of a copyrighted work you legitimately own for backup is usually legal, and doesn't take anyone's revenue so is morally justifiable. (I have only ever torrented one commercially available game, and that was because I had already bought a copy but the disc got scratched and would no longer work- I think of it as using a backup copy someone else made for me :P)

You probably won't get caught (probably) but that doesn't make it legal.What you're doing isn't as bad as downloading, copying, and mass distributing for profit, but you're still taking something without paying for it. Its like stealing a CD from a store, except almost too convenient.

It's not like stealing at all, which is why the laws surrounding it are different. If you steal something, it's no longer where it was, but is now in your possession, for you and only you to use. If you copy something without license to do so, you have obtained it without proper payment, but the original is still in place. And, of course, it's only illegal to copy things where the creator has not provided license to do so. If the creator of a piece of work has licensed it under, for instance, the Creative Commons "Non-Commercial Share-Alike with Attribution" license, then you can copy it as much as you like, as long as you don't try to make money from it, and you give credit to the original creators. Creative Commons allows copyright owners to articulate their rules for copyright under existing law (CC is compatible with Title 17, United States Code), and often allows them to (counterintuitively) make more money, because revenue lost from copying is made up from in new sales from all the free advertising. Just ask Jonathan Coulton, Janis Ian, everyone at the Funny Music Project (The FuMP)...the list goes on.

Yes, the original is still there, but the fact that you got it without payment is what makes it stealing. It doesn't matter if the original is still in place or not because when you copy something from the Internet the original is not left in place for someone else to buy, its left in place for the next person to come along and steal it. It also doesn't matter if the funds are made up in the future through other means, its still stealing. As for the licenses, the question was "Is pirating illegal" the key word in the question being "pirating" not "copying". Pirating is just another word for stealing. In other words the real question is "Is stealing illegal" and yes, yes it is.

Not in the eyes of the law--that's why copyright violations are part of an entirely separate part of the U.S. Code (Title 17).  Now, since you're not going to change my mind, since my opinion is based on fact, I suggest we agree to disagree.  End of line.

Pirates were hung quite frequently back in the day. So, yes, its probably illegal.


9 years ago

usually, but if you own a copy, you can download/make a copy for archival purpoese (music anyway...) other things depend on different circumstances

Yes it is illegal. Think about it in the reverse for a second. Imagine you made a computer game. It took you a couple of years, and you risked a lot of money on it. Then instead of buying your hard work, people simply copy it, without giving you any money. How do you think you would feel about that? The people who make the entertainment (or anything), have a right to decide how to distribute it. If they choose to sell it for money, then that is their right. If you use it without paying, then you are defying their rights, and are stealing from them.