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Tuesday, September 13, 2005



“Free” what a delightful word, especially when used as adjective.
When used as adverb it gets a little trickier.
While I haven’t been hiding in a cave the last few years, the possibilities of the peer-to peer industry have just recently sunk in by me.
A friend needed a program that edits digital pictures and images, whose price was prohibitively high.
He asked me if I could get a hold of a copy of this program for him. He insisted that he was only interested in that particular software and no alternative cheaper photo editor (like window’s paint, which amateur me uses) would do.
I said I was going to ask someone who’s into these things and said my goodbyes.
When I got home, I launched a peer-to-peer (P2P) program on my computer.
Until now I had never looked up anything but a few oldies from time tot time.

While I’m familiar with the ethical questions surrounding file sharing, I usually rationalize that I only download songs I wouldn’t buy anyway and so no one actually ‘loses’ any money.

Still thinking about my friend’s request I typed the name of the program without much thinking, and to my surprise it showed up in the results window. I double clicked the name of the program, wondering if this would work seen the enormous size of the file.

A couple of days later it was fully downloaded and I called up my friend to let him know I was able to get him the requested software.
He was very happy, and said I just saved him a 1000$.
I was puzzled, but then he explained and said that since he thought I couldn’t find it, he had made up his mind to go out and buy the program.
He thanked me and left.

I was somewhat distraught, at his reaction because I realized that someone (probably not anyone that lacks food or other comforts) but someone still ‘lost” money because of the download.
In this case my usual reasoning didn’t work. And it got me thinking about the subject.

Lately the file sharing world has been very turbulent, and certain statistics suggest that downloading has caused significant losses for the record companies.
Those pro-filesharing argue that the companies suffering from the P2P trend, had been using their monopolistic position in the music industry to ‘rob’ the CD buying public for years.
This sound more like an excuse than an honest claim to me. (But it sounds very true nevertheless.)

However I still think that if you have no intention to buy CD’s from artist X or Y, or if you like old stuff impossible to find in music stores be it on- or offline, why not?
I’d like to know if anyone is familiar the Jewish take on this.
I wrote this question to the Aish rabbi, and he just answered that it wasn’t right, but he wrote no elaboration on the subject nor on his ruling.
An acquaintance I met the other day, asserts that his Rosh Yeshivah said it’s ok if one has no intention whatsoever to buy the product.
I have my doubts however, whether he phrased the question correctly…

Maybe this a good analogy to the issue at hand:
When you stand outside a building in which a concert is taking place, sometimes you can hear the music loud and clear. Technically you have the right to bring a chair, sit there and enjoy, even though you didn’t pay for a ticket.

Did anyone read or hear a Jewish outlook on this question?

try limewire its much better
i think that according to halacha you wont be allowed to put music on the p2p but once its there why should it be prohibited to download?
Thanks for the tip. Y.Y.
I need some music for my pod.

It seems as if we all know its wrong, yet we still do it. huh?
My father is like not a Poisek or anything, but he told me I could take copy software and music because its a 'dovor sh-ain bo mamash' , you arent taking something tangible. Its just 0s and 1s floating on a medium.

Maybe its not menslic, like if its a Yeed and you are hurting his parnosa. But if its a large Goyish corporation, first of all nothing physical is being taken and second, many shitas hold that its m'dorobonim not to take less than a sheva prutah from any one goy, in the case of a corp. of millions of non-Jewish shareholders. So this might be a doubt with a D-Robonim where we are lenient. Its not even a Chilul Hashem, because the corp. doesn't know who is logging on at any given time to access the software or music.

But like, DONT do anything based on what I am saying. Ask your Rov..
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rite on semgirl
there is another halacha called
zeh n'haneh v'zeh lo chaser
While I do it many times myself ( and yy limewire screwd up my computer once) there is also the halacha of dina dimalchusa dina, and if they can come after you in court, which they do, it would seem to be a problem.

And zhe neheneh vizeh lo chaser, just look at how much money the record companies have lost since p2p started.
real me.. cmon.. gimme a break.. you should know that mnias harevach (failure to make a profit) is not called hefsed ..out and out loss..
YY- I put Kazaa in the title ‘cause I knew it's the most notorious one, but I actually use another program, much safer and no spyware.

Shevy -Careful with limewire! For music use soulseek it's a very light program and easy to use.

Semgirl - Interesting view, it's true that out of principal I don't download
songs from Chassidic artists.
These poor guys have such a limited target audience as it is.
While it’s true that what we download is intangible, there are Halachos that protect intellectual property. Question remains if they apply to this case.

The Real- In theory they only sue if you offer popular songs for download, not if you leech(p2p for taking but not giving) only.

BTW I’m impressed with your knowledge of Halachic principles! Kol Hakavod to all of you.
i got limewire pro
its 100% LIGHT
and turbo fast downloads up to 200 kbps
it only has a one time charge of i think $18
Would I then be able to take a artscroll sefer, copy it and sell it?

Zhe nehneh vizeh lo chasser.

I haven't really looked into it, but I would be interested in seeing a igros Moshe on intellectual property.
if you sell it its diffderent
I don't think Artscroll and songs are 100% the same.
While I see your point, like semgirl mentioned; a book and copies are tangible; an mp3 or a track on a CD are not.
I would not be stealing the book, just whats written in the book.

And why should there be a ddifrence between my selling or giving it out, the problem is not how I profit from it, its how the other person loses from it.
I am in shock, people. How machmir are you lot on safek derbanan chumra stuff, or ridiculous shemen kitniot? but possible gezelah deoraitah is fine? coz it's mutar to steal from a goy? coz I wouldn't buy the cd anyway? coz there's no such thing as intellectual property rights in yiddishket? sorry for the ranting, but I am in total shock.
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