The recent arrest of Kim Dotcom, CEO of the website Megaupload, for copyright crimes reminds us that stealing is still stealing… even when it's described with innocuous terms like "file sharing." The site was used, "…primarily for trading unauthorized content including music, movies, and other copyrighted works," according to Joshua Friedlauder, vice president of the Recording Industry of America. Megaupload provided an online delivery system for pirated (read…stolen) movies and music and, for a subscription fee, enabled viewers to access these under the guise of file sharing. The company even promised to pay $10,000.00 to anyone who could pirate a movie for them that would receive 5 million views on their website.
Dotcom and many of his top associates are presently in custody awaiting trial on racketeering, money laundering, and other criminal charges. Mr. Dotcom (original name-Kim Schmitz) is celebrated by many on the internet as a Digital Robin Hood but this notoriety ignores the basic rule of morality contained in the 7th Commandment from God that said, "Thou shalt not steal." (Exodus 20:15)
A simple rule, easy to understand and apply:
- Taking something that does not belong to you is called stealing and is wrong.
- Using something that you know is stolen is wrong.
- Enabling thieves by buying their stolen goods at a discount is wrong.
3,000 years ago, when God gave the commandments to Moses, a man who took another man's animal for his own use was guilty of stealing and punished for it. Today, taking another's property, even if it's in the virtual world is still called stealing, continues to be wrong, and thankfully for our social well-being, merits the penalties prescribed by law.