I used to have illlegally downloaded music and games. I long ago realized it is wrong, and deleted them all. am I chayiv to pay for the benefit I got from them? is it better to? (according to those who say it is assur). does it make a difference if it was non-jews/non-religious jews?
You don’t have to pay for them, because whether it was taken from a Jew or a non- Jew. The reason is because when you erased the program that is considered returning the program to its owner. You also don’t have to pay for usage because a thief doesn’t pay for usage, as the item was in his possession for the duration that he stole it.
CH:M 263-3, Poskim.