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Details on Stealing

Posted: Sat May 28, 2016 6:16 pm
by pael
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.

Re: Details on Stealing

Posted: Sun May 29, 2016 4:11 am
by Karma Dorje
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.
When you watch a TV show on Youtube, you arent actually taking anything. Something found that has no clear owner is also not stealing. There can not be a fully completed action unless you identify an owner and deprive the owner of an object. Copying is obviously not stealing, but it still may not be ethically unencumbered in that you may be jeopardizing the livelihood of the author/producer.

Re: Details on Stealing

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 6:31 am
by zengen
Karma Dorje wrote:When you watch a TV show on Youtube, you arent actually taking anything.
No, some videos posted on youtube violate copyright law. Be careful of the videos you watch on youtube.
Karma Dorje wrote: Something found that has no clear owner is also not stealing.
If you take the dollar, it's stealing. Someone dropped the dollar. It's not your money. Who gives you the right to take the money? What if the owner comes back to look for his dropped dollar, but then somebody took it?

Re: Details on Stealing

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 8:32 am
by Karma Dorje
zengen wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:When you watch a TV show on Youtube, you arent actually taking anything.
No, some videos posted on youtube violate copyright law. Be careful of the videos you watch on youtube.
Yes, notice they violate "copyright law" not property laws. Go ahead and watch what you like. The bigger issue may be wasting time better spent practicing. It certainly isn't stealing.

Re: Details on Stealing

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 8:41 am
by Karma Dorje
zengen wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote: Something found that has no clear owner is also not stealing.
If you take the dollar, it's stealing. Someone dropped the dollar. It's not your money. Who gives you the right to take the money? What if the owner comes back to look for his dropped dollar, but then somebody took it?
Rights are not given. Privileges are given.

The provenance of the coin is uncertain hence the action can not be fully completed. Would taking the coin be unencumbered? I don't think so. Would it be a break of the vow? I don't believe so either. I would not notice a missing dollar let alone go look for it. For the vow to be broken the item must be of non-trivial value.

Re: Details on Stealing

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 1:32 pm
by Soma999
I think this is a big matter of intention. This is not a question relative to the law, but to consciousness, and to impeccability.

Still, i feel saying "oh, it's just a dollar, no problem, no one will see it" is dangerous. It's all the little, so little, very little negative acts that accumulate that create a fall. The big stealing, well it's quiet easy to avoid. But all the little stealing "i forgot to give 2 dollars there", "they give 3 dollars instead of two, i will not say it"... is negative. All those little act, all combined, is a hole. Impecability is also about all those little acts.

Carelessness is very dangerous. Impecability is a means to destroy this.

Also, stealing is vast. When someone gossip, they can also "steal the reputation", and also the future of someone, and destroy opportunity in their life. That is stealing, and much more dangerous than downloading the latest superproduction.

Consciousness should be considered. If an independent movie or album is hacked, this is less money for people who creates new things and help new ideas to be known, and that's not good.

Respecting this vow is not about respecting a dogma, but being a better person, and contributing to create a better world.

Also, honesty is linked with the siddhi of finding treasure. A treasure can be a great idea, an important information, a very good encounter that makes your life flourish, and not only in regards of propserity, but also with health, joy and peace of mind.

Really, by being honest, the one you are giving the most is yourself.

Re: Details on Stealing

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 5:06 pm
by zengen
Karma Dorje wrote: Yes, notice they violate "copyright law" not property laws. Go ahead and watch what you like. The bigger issue may be wasting time better spent practicing. It certainly isn't stealing.
It's stealing intellectual property.

Re: Details on Stealing

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 9:20 pm
by Karma Dorje
zengen wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote: Yes, notice they violate "copyright law" not property laws. Go ahead and watch what you like. The bigger issue may be wasting time better spent practicing. It certainly isn't stealing.
It's stealing intellectual property.
No, it's copyright violation. A completely different body of jurisprudence. The whole idea that copyright violation is theft was a deliberate reframing on the part of advocacy groups for content providers that realized that they were losing the war against file-sharing because "sharing" was something that few people could get upset about. It's great propaganda, but it's not accurate.

It has absolutely no precedent in Buddhism. The idea of owning a thought or pattern of thoughts is completely alien to Buddhist thought. Buddhism spread throughout South Asia and Asia by copying of texts. There was no notion of copyright, nor even really one of attribution. If a theme was particularly well addressed by a particular writer or scripture, later writers would often incorporate this text into their own without any kind of reference or attribution. For that reason, you won't find any precedent in Buddhist ethical thought for current ideas of patent and copyright.

Re: Details on Stealing

Posted: Tue May 31, 2016 2:00 am
by zengen
Soma999 wrote:Also, stealing is vast. When someone gossip, they can also "steal the reputation", and also the future of someone, and destroy opportunity in their life. That is stealing, and much more dangerous than downloading the latest superproduction.
I never saw it from that angle. Gossip can really hurt a person, and can result in very negative karma.

Re: Details on Stealing

Posted: Tue May 31, 2016 2:04 am
by zengen
Karma Dorje wrote:It has absolutely no precedent in Buddhism. The idea of owning a thought or pattern of thoughts is completely alien to Buddhist thought.
That's right, but Buddhist ethics should adapt to the current time. Intellectual properties should be considered.

Re: Details on Stealing

Posted: Tue May 31, 2016 6:59 am
by Karma Dorje
zengen wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:It has absolutely no precedent in Buddhism. The idea of owning a thought or pattern of thoughts is completely alien to Buddhist thought.
That's right, but Buddhist ethics should adapt to the current time. Intellectual properties should be considered.
You can consider it all you like, but all copyright is is a business model. No amount of consideration will turn producing additional copies of an item into stealing an item in the sense that is intended by the vows and explanations given by Shayamuni Buddha. There are good reasons to reward the authors of original works. There is no value in trying to stretch the meaning and intent of the actual Buddhist teachings simply to accommodate a business model that has only existed for a couple hundred years and likely won't last a hundred more, however.

Re: Details on Stealing

Posted: Tue May 31, 2016 7:03 am
by Karma Dorje
zengen wrote:
Soma999 wrote:Also, stealing is vast. When someone gossip, they can also "steal the reputation", and also the future of someone, and destroy opportunity in their life. That is stealing, and much more dangerous than downloading the latest superproduction.
I never saw it from that angle. Gossip can really hurt a person, and can result in very negative karma.
That's why gossip is proscribed separately as a harmful action of speech. It is not stealing, which is done with the body.
The teachings of morality are quite simple and clear. Why muddy them by letting one's personal metaphors run riot?

Re: Details on Stealing

Posted: Tue May 31, 2016 1:25 pm
by seeker242
pael wrote: Definition in Buddhism for stealing is taking thing not given.
I believe it's a bit more complex than that. The Buddhist monastic code by Thanissaro Bhikkhu has a 25 page explanation on this particular rule alone! Starts at page 50. :) If you are not acting "in the manner of a thief" then there is no breaking of the rule. For example, no one would consider anyone to be "a thief" from picking up some money that is found just laying on the floor. Now, if you saw someone drop some money and you snuck up behind them and quickly picked it up, that would certainly fall under "acting in the manner of a thief" IMO :smile:

The code defines the act of stealing in terms of four factors. Object, perception, intention, effort.

1) Object: anything belonging to another human being or a group of human beings.
2) Perception: One perceives the object as belonging to another human being or a group of human beings.
3) Intention: One decides to steal it.
4) Effort: One takes it.

It is said that a 4 factors must be met in order for it to be a broken precept. And the severity of the offense depends on the the value of the object taken.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... o/bmc1.pdf

There is even a section on copyright infringement. Thanissaro Bhikkhu does not consider copyright infringement to be a violation of the precept against stealing, because it fails to meet all of the above criteria, but rather a violation of the monks general rules of misbehavior. Simply watching a TV show, that may or may not fall under a copyright claim, would be even less so.

As for youtube. Youtube removes content that is posted in violation of copyright. If youtube is not removing it, then one could easily assume that viewing it is being allowed. And if viewing it is being allowed, then certainly there is no issue with any stealing!

Even though Thanissaro Bhikkhu is a Theravada monk, the no stealing precept seems to me to be very similar, if not the same, among the various traditions.

Re: Details on Stealing

Posted: Tue May 31, 2016 5:15 pm
by zengen
seeker242 wrote: As for youtube. Youtube removes content that is posted in violation of copyright. If youtube is not removing it, then one could easily assume that viewing it is being allowed. And if viewing it is being allowed, then certainly there is no issue with any stealing!
A lot of the content on youtube violate copyright. Youtube doesn't remove them. It's too much work for youtube to do that. If by law you're not supposed to watch the content, and you watch it, then you are in fact stealing. Doesn't matter if it's non-tangible good. My advice is to look for official channels on youtube.

Re: Details on Stealing

Posted: Tue May 31, 2016 5:50 pm
by Karma Dorje
zengen wrote:
seeker242 wrote: As for youtube. Youtube removes content that is posted in violation of copyright. If youtube is not removing it, then one could easily assume that viewing it is being allowed. And if viewing it is being allowed, then certainly there is no issue with any stealing!
A lot of the content on youtube violate copyright. Youtube doesn't remove them. It's too much work for youtube to do that. If by law you're not supposed to watch the content, and you watch it, then you are in fact stealing. Doesn't matter if it's non-tangible good. My advice is to look for official channels on youtube.
You have yet to provide any textual support from the tradition that substantiates your point of view. Buddhist ethics is grounded in the words of the Buddha, not the opinions of Buddhists. Incidentally, copyright law applies to the person uploading. There is no sanction for the person watching.

Re: Details on Stealing

Posted: Tue May 31, 2016 7:32 pm
by zengen
Karma Dorje wrote: You have yet to provide any textual support from the tradition that substantiates your point of view. Buddhist ethics is grounded in the words of the Buddha, not the opinions of Buddhists. Incidentally, copyright law applies to the person uploading. There is no sanction for the person watching.
Say you listen to some music illegally uploaded to youtube. You don't have to buy the song. You just listen on youtube. That's stealing. It needs no textual support. Just common sense.

Re: Details on Stealing

Posted: Tue May 31, 2016 7:42 pm
by Karma Dorje
zengen wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote: You have yet to provide any textual support from the tradition that substantiates your point of view. Buddhist ethics is grounded in the words of the Buddha, not the opinions of Buddhists. Incidentally, copyright law applies to the person uploading. There is no sanction for the person watching.
Say you listen to some music illegally uploaded to youtube. You don't have to buy the song. You just listen on youtube. That's stealing. It needs no textual support. Just common sense.
So let me rephrase your reply to make it clearer: You. Got. Nothing.

Re: Details on Stealing

Posted: Tue May 31, 2016 7:44 pm
by zengen
Karma Dorje wrote:So let me rephrase your reply to make it clearer: You. Got. Nothing.
It's common sense. I don't need to flip through pages to convince people.

Re: Details on Stealing

Posted: Tue May 31, 2016 7:52 pm
by Grigoris
If I am not mistaken, it only becomes a problem when you try to make money off the copy. For example: copying your favorite cd and giving it to your current crush is not an infringement. Copying a cd and then selling it is an infringement.

Re: Details on Stealing

Posted: Tue May 31, 2016 8:06 pm
by Johnny Dangerous
zengen wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote: You have yet to provide any textual support from the tradition that substantiates your point of view. Buddhist ethics is grounded in the words of the Buddha, not the opinions of Buddhists. Incidentally, copyright law applies to the person uploading. There is no sanction for the person watching.
Say you listen to some music illegally uploaded to youtube. You don't have to buy the song. You just listen on youtube. That's stealing. It needs no textual support. Just common sense.

Actually no, it's not even remotely common sense.

Many artists for example are just fine with their stuff being on youtube, even if media companies who might have partial ownership are not. So it is hard to say when something is "freely given" or not. The easiest way is whether or not you are spending an unusual amount of effort to obtain something you otherwise would have to pay for. For instance, busing bittorrent or similar to obtain something, in order to specifically avoid paying for it.

Randomly coming across something which has been "made free" by the machinations of internet culture can hardly be compared to making the effort to find something for free. By assuming they are the same you are ignoring the most important part of the equation - intention.

A lot of times I think Buddhists are all the sudden a little crazy about how "stealing" would work in the digital world, we have a lending library at my Dharma center, I have lots of Dharma friends who've given me PDFs, so i've read more Dharma books than I count without paying for them, while of course paying for others. Are these activities stealing..no, they are not.

Sorry, but equating a crazy field like copyright law with whether or not something violates the Second Precept is a little ridiculous.