Halachically Speaking: Halachos For The Summer (Part 7)

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Copyright Issues

With the summer months upon us it is very common for one to listen to more music than normally, whether while walking, driving, or doing any other activities. Therefore, it is proper to discuss what one is allowed to copy and what is not permitted to copy as far as music CD’s and tapes are concerned. One should not that any thing is permitted. This that many people say I am doing it because everyone does it is not an excuse for stealing form producers. Many people are accustomed to copying music form his friend’s IPOD. This is 100% stealing and it is against halacha. Every C.D that is copied one steals from the producers at least five dollars. If you add up all the CD’s that are copied from many people the producers are losing a lot of parnasa. Someone sweats nights, days, and invests a lot of time and money to create an item that the public is interested in and now one copies it and he makes nothing!!! One wonders why some are very stringent and keep every custom even when it may have little backing in halacha are so lenient with this inyun which is based on the posuk in the Torah of “you should not steal.” (See Attached Kol Koreh).  

A C.D or tape that is not sold in the stores anymore and it is not possible to buy may be copied from ones friend. However, one must make sure that it is not available anymore. Today with the internet many CD’s that were once not available are still available. If one owns a C.D. or tape and he is cared that it may get lost copying it is permitted. If one had a C.D. or tape and it broke you may make a copy of it from your friend since you had a right to copy it before it broke. One who owns a CD or tape may make a copy of it for personal use. For Example he may make a copy for his car. It can be assumed that the one who buys a C.D would not buy a tape or C.D to have it in his car. Therefore, no loss is being caused to the distributor or producer. A C.D or tape may be copied and listened to for the pople in ones house as long as they still live in the house. Once they get married a copy may not be made for that child. If one hears a song on the Radio it is permitted to copy since the quality is not as good if one were to buy a CD or tape. Music that is offered on the internet may not be copied; it is only placed there for one to listen to. Some producers maintain that the forty-five second clips that are offered on the internet are permitted to copy. If one copied a C.D or tape and he was not allowed to do so one may listen to the tape in any case. There are some poskim who permit one to copy a C.D. or tape if no has no sincere intention of buying that C.D or tape. However, this rarely is practical since if one likes a song he will buy the C.D or tape. One must use sincere judgment before copying a C.D. in the aforementioned situation.

Compiled by Rabbi Moishe Dovid Lebovits who can be reached at[email protected]

Reviewed by Rabbi Ben-zion Schiffenbauer Shlita

All Piskei Harav Yisrael Belsky Shlita are Reviewed by Harav Yisrael Belsky Shlita