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Niko wrote:

Hello.

My name is Nikodem (Nick) and I am 18 years old. I am from Vilnius, Lithuania. I am not sure if you have heard about it but I am a member of the Neocatechumenal Way.

Here is my problem:

I have non-original (pirated maybe the correct word?) operating system on my computer and a lot of other media of that kind: music, films, etc.

I think it is a sin but my family, who are practicing Catholics, and several priests see no problem with this. What really amazed me is the priest during Confession said it's not a sin.

  • What should I do?

Niko

  { Is anything wrong with having a pirated version of an operating system and software? }

Bob replied:

Nick,

While it is possible that this does not involve a mortal sin, (hence the carefree attitude of your parents and priest), software piracy is considered stealing, even if it doesn't cause direct harm to the owner. He still loses the profits he is entitled to. Therefore it is sinful, even if only a venial sin in God's eyes. Your conscience is your guide in this case, and you know better.

Perhaps you can make restitution by discarding any frivolous materials (movies, etc.) that you do not rightfully own. Eventually you will need to upgrade your system and programs and at that point you could purchase legal copies.

Your willingness to do the right thing will not be overlooked by our Lord who sees and acknowledges your efforts to please Him.

God bless.

Bob Kirby

Mary Ann replied:

Hi Niko,

Generally, one should follow the advice of one's Confessor, because he knows the circumstances, both yours and that of your society and nation.

Second, if you did not do the pirating but are using a computer that had stuff already on it, which is not uncommon, then I would continue using those things that you need to use, and not use those things that you don't, like the films.

If you did the pirating, I would start looking for a way to buy the programs cheaply, and I would delete the music and films. The moral problem about the operating system is ameliorated by this fact:

Some companies sell you the car without essential parts and then try to say that the parts you buy can only be used in the car you had when you got the parts.

I believe this is immoral. The companies say they are licensing the use, not selling. If that were so, the license could be transferred, and it would cost a lot less.

Mary Ann
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