Details on Stealing

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Karma Dorje
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Re: Details on Stealing

Post by Karma Dorje » Wed Jun 01, 2016 8:56 pm

zengen wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Not for a Dharma practitioner who has taken the precepts, because in that case you are aware it is wrong livelihood to sell alcohol.

For a non-practitioner, I'm not sure.
Then by your reasoning, non-virtue is committed by a Dharma practitioner, but for a non-practitioner who is unaware, non-virtue is not committed.
If someone takes a vow not to do something and then does it, they commit an offense. If they have not taken such a vow, they do not commit an offense. The action of the non-practitioner may bring harm, but the effect is much more serious for one with the vow because if involves willful harm.
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Re: Details on Stealing

Post by Kim O'Hara » Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:23 pm

Reviewing this thread after not having followed it from the beginning, I find that zengen's position has been more ethical than most but hardly anyone has supported their opinions properly and the debate has degraded into childish squabbling. An assertion is not an argument, nor is a smiley.
We can do better, people!
I have removed a couple of the sillier examples but I encourage everyone to be more thoughtful and back up their claims as much as possible.

Copyright law is a topic which we have discussed repeatedly here - see https://www.google.com.au/?client=safar ... ht&start=0 - and the consensus agrees with both law and common sense, i.e. copyright law isn't perfect and is unenforceable, but it is the best way we have of paying creative people for their work, and breaking copyright is stealing.

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Re: Details on Stealing

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:41 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:Reviewing this thread after not having followed it from the beginning, I find that zengen's position has been more ethical than most but hardly anyone has supported their opinions properly and the debate has degraded into childish squabbling. An assertion is not an argument, nor is a smiley.


More ethical? I'm guessing that not everyone would share that opinion. Why even mention that?

We can do better, people!


On that we can agree.


Copyright law is a topic which we have discussed repeatedly here - see https://www.google.com.au/?client=safar ... ht&start=0 - and the consensus agrees with both law and common sense, i.e. copyright law isn't perfect and is unenforceable, but it is the best way we have of paying creative people for their work, and breaking copyright is stealing.

:namaste:
Kim
I'm married to attorney..there is anything but "consensus" on the ethics of copyright law and IP stuff, I already posted some arguments against things like the PLR systems for authors that exist in some countries. The last 20 years has been *full* of very ethically questionable decisions by copyright holders as well, look up patent trolling if you'd like one example out of many of how IP and related concepts get abused.

I'm glad to keep it above the belt but I don't need to be told I have an opinion that I guess violates what you claim is "consensus" (and actually posting multiple sources for the things I talked about, btw), further, I don't need to be given a conclusion of what the "consensus" is on a hotly debated subject in the first place, that seems a bit paternalistic.
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Re: Details on Stealing

Post by Karma Dorje » Thu Jun 02, 2016 3:41 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote: I'm glad to keep it above the belt but I don't need to be told I have an opinion that I guess violates what you claim is "consensus" (and actually posting multiple sources for the things I talked about, btw), further, I don't need to be given a conclusion of what the "consensus" is on a hotly debated subject in the first place, that seems a bit paternalistic.
Not just paternalistic but false! I went back and read through the results of Kim's search. No such consensus emerged. On the contrary, there were far more voices critical of copyright than supportive and it was never established even once that copyright violations break the 2nd Precept.

Let's be clear here. No one can accuse me of not supporting translators and writers by buying their works. I do it because I appreciate what they do, not because I am afraid of breaking a precept.
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Re: Details on Stealing

Post by Kim O'Hara » Thu Jun 02, 2016 6:06 am

My previous post blurred the lines between my Admin role and my personal opinions. I apologise for that.
I do not apologise for, nor retract, the opinions about copyright law which I expressed in that post.
I am going to stand aside from moderating this thread from now on, but I will leave it locked for the attention of someone else on the team.

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Re: Details on Stealing

Post by Ayu » Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:29 am

Thread unlocked.

It would be wonderful, if everybody takes the time to read eachother's arguments and if the certain controversial statements would be supported by sources.

:thanks:
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Re: Details on Stealing

Post by seeker242 » Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:10 pm

I think it would be prudent to recognize that legality and ethics are often two different things. Just because something is legal does not make it ethical and just because something is illegal does not make it unethical. If that weren't the case, then Buddhist ethics would be dependent on the whims of ignorant politicians! But of course it's not dependent on that. The idea that it's unethical simply because it's illegal is not correct with regards to Buddhist precepts. Buddhist precepts are concerned with what is ethical or what makes bad karma. If find it hard to believe that simply watching a youtube video, that may or may not be technically illegal to view according to the whim of ignorant politicians nonsensical copyright laws, and with no way to discern it's legality, to be making bad karma. That being said, I've never heard of anyone being arrested or charged with a crime simply for watching a youtube video!
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Re: Details on Stealing

Post by Grigoris » Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:30 pm

I believe that if a video is uploaded to youtube WITHOUT the artists (or the recording companies) prior consent that it is a from of stealing (taking something that is not offered).

It is a form of stealing for the uploader.

I believe that for the watcher it is a bit of a grey area.

If they know the video is illegally uploaded, then they will have a share of the consequences. If not...

If somebody downloads videos that they know have been uploaded illegally, then I feel it is also a form of stealing.

If they downlod videos that have been uploaded legally (and use the downloads for personal purposes) then I believe this is not stealing.

If they download videos (even legally uploaded ones) for the purpose of making profit from them (denying the producers and artists of their share), then this is also stealing.

These are my personal opinions, based on the fact that the precept is about taking something that has not been offered.

Yes, it is a grey area since there was not really such a thing as intellectual property laws back in the Buddhas day. That said, I don't know how much it would have been accepted, back then, to take somebody elses ideas and "sell" them as your own. I think you would have received a tongue lashing, at the very least.
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Re: Details on Stealing

Post by Simon E. » Thu Jun 02, 2016 1:11 pm

pael wrote:Is it stealing if you watch episodes of TV series on Youtube? How about taking lost coin from floor of supermarket? Latter is taking thing not given, former is freely given by recorder of episode. Definition in Buddhism for stealing is taking thing not given.
In my view, we run into problems if we see the precepts as rules that can be broken on the one hand, or adhered to on the other.
We are required to use our little grey cells and our consciences when deciding ethical matters. We are not monads, we are part of a community.
Nothing (or little) is set in stone. Or marble. Or sandstone.
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Re: Details on Stealing

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Jun 02, 2016 4:22 pm

Ayu wrote:Thread unlocked.

It would be wonderful, if everybody takes the time to read eachother's arguments and if the certain controversial statements would be supported by sources.

:thanks:

I'm not sure what you or Kim consider "controversial arguments", but I've supported a number of the things I've posted with sources, first of all. Secondly, the people who are equating "illegal" with "unethical" in terms of copyright law are frankly showing their ignorance of what copyright law is like generally, by thinking it is "controversial" to believe that listening to an album on youtube isn't breaking precepts. Have you guys not followed the news for the past 20 years or so with this stuff? it is anything but an ethically settled area, and assuming there is some "default position" on it frankly shows major ignorance of the subject.

So I'm not sure exactly what you want sources for that your aren't seeing.

As has been mentioned multiple times, there are plenty of artists who don't mind/care that their stuff is up on youtube and never request it be taken down, pretending that copyright law somehow represents automatically the interests and wishes of the artists involved is far removed from reality.
SD wrote:Yes, it is a grey area since there was not really such a thing as intellectual property laws back in the Buddhas day. That said, I don't know how much it would have been accepted, back then, to take somebody elses ideas and "sell" them as your own. I think you would have received a tongue lashing, at the very least.
Perhaps, but that's the problem, something like uploading an album to youtube illegally is not actually selling anything, nor presenting it as one's own.
SD wrote:I believe that if a video is uploaded to youtube WITHOUT the artists (or the recording companies) prior consent that it is a from of stealing (taking something that is not offered).
For you tube videos and uploading, I might be inclined to agree..but I think that direct filesharing is a more clear cut version. Music on youtube is analogous to radio or something. How is listening to music depriving someone of something any more than checking out a CD at the library is?

A lot of artists feel that they are basically ripped off and screwed by streaming services like Last.fm and Pandora, is it stealing then to use those services? Under this line of logic, it would be.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/ ... ing-corpse
https://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/ ... tent-world

In fact, so far i've seen far greater rumbling and complaints from musicians about streaming services than about youtube, and ironically, these streaming services are the new cash cow of the labels.

Another question, are Youtube playlists which follow album order of individual songs (many of which are up legally) a negative thing, or is it just complete albums that have been uploaded? If you say the former, then literally you are saying that someone doing something analogous to making a cassette tape of the radio in the 80's is "stealing".

I think it crosses over into second precept territory when people are actively amassing collections of files in order to avoid paying for them, which ties in...and even if it doesn't, it isn't ethical or healthy to do that. Listening to something being stealing...I find that argument pretty hard to buy.

All that said, if people deeply appreciate art, music, books they should financially support it if they can, without question.

IF people *really* care about doing that with music they should support places like Bandcamp etc. where you can simply pay the artist directly for their music, IMO.
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Re: Details on Stealing

Post by Grigoris » Thu Jun 02, 2016 4:57 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Music on youtube is analogous to radio or something. How is listening to music depriving someone of something any more than checking out a CD at the library is?
Not quite, for two reasons: Radio station pay licence fees so that they can broadcast music. Back in my public radio days we (the dj's) would buy the records we played, unless we had some sort of deal with a record label. Now it is true that many lesser known bands would give their records to radio stations in the hope of air play and a positive review, but here you may notice that the recorded music was given to the broadcaster.

That is why I stressed the idea of whether the artists and producers willingly allow the music to be uploaded.
A lot of artists feel that they are basically ripped off and screwed by streaming services like Last.fm and Pandora, is it stealing then to use those services? Under this line of logic, it would be.
If the artists has signed a contract with these services then it is the artists fault for not closing a better deal. This opens another Pandora's Box though because my personal opinipon is that selling a product/service for more than it is worth (ie profiting from a product or service) is a form of stealing. But then that puts the workings of the entire system of capitalism under scrutiny.
Another question, are Youtube playlists which follow album order of individual songs (many of which are up legally) a negative thing, or is it just complete albums that have been uploaded? If you say the former, then literally you are saying that someone doing something analogous to making a cassette tape of the radio in the 80's is "stealing".
Again: if the person is profiting from this then it is stealing as far as I am concerned. I am sure the artists put their music there for personal enjoyment and not so that you or I can financially profit from it.
IF people *really* care about doing that with music they should support places like Bandcamp etc. where you can simply pay the artist directly for their music, IMO.
I agree.
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Re: Details on Stealing

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Jun 02, 2016 5:19 pm

sd wrote:Again: if the person is profiting from this then it is stealing as far as I am concerned. I am sure the artists put their music there for personal enjoyment and not so that you or I can financially profit from it.
I don't know what you mean here SD, no one is selling other people's music on youtube, just posting it. And again, it gets really dicey because lots of songs are up with the artist permission completely legally, then get put into a playlist, etc.
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Re: Details on Stealing

Post by Ayu » Thu Jun 02, 2016 5:52 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Ayu wrote:Thread unlocked.

It would be wonderful, if everybody takes the time to read eachother's arguments and if the certain controversial statements would be supported by sources.

:thanks:

I'm not sure what you or Kim consider "controversial arguments", but I've supported a number of the things I've posted with sources, first of all. Secondly, the people who are equating "illegal" with "unethical" in terms of copyright law are frankly showing their ignorance of what copyright law is like generally, by thinking it is "controversial" to believe that listening to an album on youtube isn't breaking precepts. Have you guys not followed the news for the past 20 years or so with this stuff? it is anything but an ethically settled area, and assuming there is some "default position" on it frankly shows major ignorance of the subject.

So I'm not sure exactly what you want sources for that your aren't seeing....
Yes, I'm sorry. "Provide sources" is my newest fashion, the "dernière crie". After writing it, I saw, in this topic it is not possible to have quotes on everything.
People used the term "IMO" instead, which is also labeling a source: my opinion. I think, this also can take some heat out of this discussion.
If you understand, that it is not important that everybody shares the same opinion, discussing would be easier, I suppose.
Ultimately, this is a topic were everybody has to judge for himself about his own ethics.
And the law we will not change here. :smile:
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Re: Details on Stealing

Post by Grigoris » Thu Jun 02, 2016 6:01 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:I don't know what you mean here SD, no one is selling other people's music on youtube, just posting it. And again, it gets really dicey because lots of songs are up with the artist permission completely legally, then get put into a playlist, etc.
I am talking about downloading uploaded music, burning copies and selling it. It was quite a profitable industry here in Greece during the late 90's.
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"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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Re: Details on Stealing

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Jun 02, 2016 6:02 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:I don't know what you mean here SD, no one is selling other people's music on youtube, just posting it. And again, it gets really dicey because lots of songs are up with the artist permission completely legally, then get put into a playlist, etc.
I am talking about downloading uploaded music, burning copies and selling it. It was quite a profitable industry here in Greece during the late 90's.
Ah ok, well yeah, that's flagrantly stealing. The OP (and a big chunk of the debate) has been about simply listening to albums/songs on youtube, and all that that entails.
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Re: Details on Stealing

Post by tingdzin » Fri Jun 03, 2016 11:49 pm

If there is any danger that an action done just for one's own entertainment might violate a precept, it might be more valuable to one's own practice to simply avoid that action. In this way, endless argument, legalistic wrangling and mental disturbances could be avoided

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Re: Details on Stealing

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:40 am

tingdzin wrote:If there is any danger that an action done just for one's own entertainment might violate a precept, it might be more valuable to one's own practice to simply avoid that action. In this way, endless argument, legalistic wrangling and mental disturbances could be avoided

I agree with this fully, the best thing is to simply stop trying to consume and collect things constantly IMO, if I can do that, there is less to worry about in terms of... technical requirements and grey areas,
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Re: Details on Stealing

Post by Kim O'Hara » Sat Jun 04, 2016 6:08 am

Sherab Dorje wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:I don't know what you mean here SD, no one is selling other people's music on youtube, just posting it. And again, it gets really dicey because lots of songs are up with the artist permission completely legally, then get put into a playlist, etc.
I am talking about downloading uploaded music, burning copies and selling it. It was quite a profitable industry here in Greece during the late 90's.
The dead-trees equivalent was going strong in Ho Chi Minh City when I visited a few years ago: kids were hawking pirated novels and guidebooks around the tourist areas.

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Re: Details on Stealing

Post by Footsteps » Tue Sep 06, 2016 8:00 pm

In regards to assessing things like lost currency(and other useful resources that may have a bearing on an individual's survival), etc. through the light of taking what is not given:

It is important to assess whether or not the "lost" item is truly a lost item, or if it is a gift from the universe or benefit beings. This can only be measured by discernment. However, such gifts can be accrued through devotion, necessity, and merit.

Here is an illustration:

Elijah was commanded to hide himself. If Providence calls us to solitude and retirement, it becomes us to go: when we cannot be useful, we must be patient; and when we cannot work for God, we must sit still quietly for him. The ravens were appointed to bring him meat, and did so. Let those who have but from hand to mouth, learn to live upon Providence, and trust it for the bread of the day, in the day. God could have sent angels to minister to him; but he chose to show that he can serve his own purposes by the meanest creatures, as effectually as by the mightiest. Elijah seems to have continued thus above a year. The natural supply of water, which came by common providence, failed; but the miraculous supply of food, made sure to him by promise, failed not.

If Elijah were not aware that the food delivered him from the ravens were a gift, and were he to share the same opinions on stealing as some have professed throughout this thread, Elijah would have assumed the birds accidentally had dropped the food, and were he to eat it, it would equate to theft. But this is not so. Elijah did not steal discarded food from the birds, he received the food from the birds as a gift.

If one improves their ability to communicate both with nature and the higher realms, they may commune directly with plants, animals, ecosystems, land, and water formations. On occasion, these natural entities may offer gifts. In many cases there are conditions put on these gifts. Often times they are given for the sole purpose that the aspirant use that gift, as it's gift may be beneficial to the aspect of nature that gave it to the individual. The same can be said of the higher realms. Sometimes these gifts are a simple as keeping the aspirant alive, that he or she may able to provide benefit to other entities when times of detriment threaten that aim.

Finding discarded money is a good way of assessing this discernment.

Did you see the money fall out of the individual's pocket? If so, the individual has not given the money. Witnessing the act exposes the person to whom the object belongs, demonstrates that there is no intent to give, and signifies that the money should be returned.

Is the money in a wallet with some form of identification? This tells us the money was not intentionally given and better helps us to allocate the proper owner to return the missing possessions.

Was the money found in a strange, auspicious, or noteworthy place? In this case, the money was left as an offering for non-physical beings, left as an offering for the poor or those who shall discover it, or haphazardly lost in an auspicious manner that binds it to the need of the circumstance of the finder.

Was the money discarded in a place where it had obviously fell from someones pocket, but with no people around to assess the potential identity of the person with the lost object? In this case, the person may have bode non-attachment to the money after realizing it was gone, perhaps along with the desire that it be recovered by somebody who can benefit from it. In this case, the money has been given and taking it does not constitute taking what has been given. If the individual was unaware of loosing the money or was aware, but did not seek to reclaim it, or failed in seeking to reclaim it, perhaps this particular money has been allotted to other purposes. As the discarded money has the potential to do more good(benefitting beings) when put to use, rather than going unused, it follows to use the money, as long as it is out of positive aim or necessity. If unsure, donate the money to a worthy cause.

Or if you are in a real bind and need $500 to get out of a certain situation, and $500 drops out of the sky into your lap, with no effort on your part, this would be a gift, rather than a stolen object.
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Re: Details on Stealing

Post by Vasana » Fri Jun 29, 2018 7:52 am

What is the general stance on things like not paying for a service like public transport? Another grey area or clear-cut?
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