Question:

I was on a photo-sharing website called smugmug and saw a nice picture and i wanted to save it for personal use. (the photographer was a yid) and the picture was copyrighted. Because I’m tech-savvy i know there is a certain way to get the picture, if you the link and copy it to google drive… Shortly after I felt bad and erased it. So I have 2 questions, 1. is this mutar. 2. Although i erased it do i have a chiyev to ask the photographer for mechilah?
Thank you. kol tov

Answer:

  1. It is controversial if it is permitted to copy pictures etc., for personal use without the owner’s permission, some poskim permit it, but others (R’ Eliyashiv, R’ Moshe, R’ Belsi zt”l) forbid it.
  2. The general rule regarding making mechila, is that we only have to ask mechila if the other person was negatively affected from our action. Therefore if the owner did incur a loss, because neither you nor others actually used the picture, there is no need to ask him mechila. See sources

Sources:

Chofetz Chaim Hilchos Lashon Hora 4-12, Also see Pele Yetz (Teshuva), Ashrei Ish O:CH 3 vchap. 20-8 in the name of R’ Eliyashiv, Kovetz Halachos (Yom Kippur) 25-11.

Tags: copyright Teshuva

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