Copying? Stealing ? Wanner mag men copieren??
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Ben Olam Haba <email@example.com>
I want to know if its against the halacha to copy music from other people.
Some people claim its not, since you're not actually stealing something.
Firstly, according to Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal and other Poskim (including Rav Shmuel Wosner Shlita, Rav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg Shlita and Rav Yisroel Belsky Shlita) , you are prohibited from copying any item that has been created by someone else, if that person is selling it. This would apply to jewelry, art, Sefarim...andcopying Torah or music tapes as well. The reason is that doing so will cause the creator of the item to lose sales, and thus lose money due to your action and is Gezeilah (See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 4 Siman 40:19)
Therefore, many of today's Poskim pasken that if you bought the tape, CD or music download and you want to make an additional copy for yourself (let's say to keep one at home and one in the car) it would be permitted, as most people don't, and wouldn't, buy two copies, and making the second copy for yourself is not causing the creator to lose a sale. But to copy someone else's CD for your own use is prohibited.
The fact that a song is an "intellectual creation" makes no difference, and one who steals it is guilty of the sin of stealing. This is especially true if the music CD in question is specifically sold on this condition (as most are today) which in most cases can withhold certain "rights" from the buyer, thus one cannot claim that "I bought it, and it is now mine to with as I please, including copying etc.
Furthermore when there are copyright laws in effect which prohibit the copying of the music, it would also be prohibited Halachically based on the concept of "Dina D'Malchusa Dina- that a Jew must obey the civil laws of the host country he/she resides in" (See Shach Yoreh Deah 165:8)
Although certain Rabbanim have ruled that even for personal use (as a second copy) is prohibited, one may rely on the above Poskim and indeed make a copy for personal use.
However, one who relies on "Heterim" to initially copy a music CD or download is probably transgressing a "D'Oraisa" of Geneiva.
Is it really worth becoming a thief to save $14.99?