Is downloading movies online or watching them online counted as stealing?

Answer: 

Many authorities maintain that movies or music that are copyrighted, and which are protected under the law, may not be downloaded for free.

This can be because of principle ownership of copyright, and according to others it derives from additional halachic principles, such as deriving benefit at another’s loss, the obligation to abide by the laws of the land, and others. The question of actual “theft” will depend on the respective rationale; many authorities do not consider copyright as being actual “ownership,” making it hard to speak of “theft” per se.

Yet, as noted most authorities are stringent, but some are lenient. One should certainly be stringent where the owner is Jewish.

Best wishes.

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