WWJD with technology – Piracy

What would Jesus do with technology? Might seem like an odd question, but as one of His followers, it’s definitely one I think over often. I’m starting a blog series today that will touch on the 5 technology topics that I think He would have addressed, and hopefully provide some scripture that backs up why I believe so. Honestly, through the work of the Spirit (just as much God as Jesus us), I think we need to meet these issues head on and start to see the world change for the better.

TOPIC 1 of 5 – PIRACY

I know, I know. This isn’t a black and white issue to many of you. Piracy, defined as the copying of works without the permission of the rights holders, happens on so many levels and in so many areas of technology. I would have had to admit to being a pirate maybe ten years ago. I was just leaving college, didn’t have too much money, and was heading into a graphic / web design career. I didn’t have thousands of dollars to spend on the Adobe suite of products. So what did I do? Accepted a bootleg copy of the software, used a pirated serial number, and started to get to work. Then God allowed me to read some scripture and discuss the issue with others. I woke up. Stopped lying to myself. And what do you know, ended up saving enough money to buy my own legal copy!

You might tell yourself that you are sampling the software, that you might not get caught, or possibly that the companies are too greedy or charge too much? Put yourself in the shoes of the musician whose income comes from people paying to enjoy what they create. What would it feel like if someone wanted what you provide, and they didn’t want to pay you for it? When you read Philippians 4:19 do you really not believe that God will provide? Or does Ephesians 4:28 not really suggest that you shouldn’t steal and work for it? It’s not just teenagers that are doing this, I know that much. It’s nothing short of sin, and those providing the product of services are being treated unfairly. It’s that simple.

PRAYING for you, if you’re one of the many that are struggling with this. PRAISING God for showing me how to break away from the sin, and for providing a way for every one of my needs.

  1. Gabe, Thanks for bringing this up and calling it sin. I know Christians who regularly buy/sell pirated versions of software. It’s wrong and needs to be pointed out as sin.

    I’ve been tempted. I’ve also been asked to participate – that’s when it’s really uncomfortable. Telling someone, no you will not give or sell cheap software to them that I own, but is clearly illegal for me to “share”. I feel like I’m being self-righteous, when that is not my intention. Christian friends, don’t ask your Christian friends to join in piracy!

    Looking forward to your future posts on this subject.

  2. This has always been a no-brainer for me. One need only to look at the 10 Commandments to figure this out (Exodus 20:15).

    True, some people don’t consider it theft but they’re just deceiving themselves.

    Excuses like “I’m sampling it” fall a little short since most software companies have trial versions to download. 10 years ago this wasn’t the case but these days with the plethora of free, open source software there’s really no reason to steal software.

  3. Great post!

    I spent a year doing missions work in a 3rd-world country.

    While there, I found it to be pretty much impossible to find any legit software, music, or movies. Everything was bootleg, and everything was very cheap.

    I made a decision to buy and use movies and software while there, but to trash them when I got home, or buy legit versions.

    When I got home, I dragged my feet for a couple of months. I probably had several thousand dollars worth of software that I had bought for way under 50 bucks, and I was tempted to tell myself that I deserved it since I had gone and roughed it in another country for so long.

    But God convicted me and I trashed it, and now I don’t really miss it.

    There really are good free/cheap alternatives to just about everything, with the possible exception of video editing software….

  4. Stealing software, borrowing, pirating, patching, testing it out, no matter what you call it, is all a violation of the virtue of honesty. It is stealing. I have done it. But that doesn’t make it right. The moral judgment from truth is clear.

  5. David Trotz

    Thanks for the post. I 100% agree with you on this one. The Lord showed me 12 years ago that pirating software is wrong in His eyes and there is no justification I can make to convince Him otherwise.

    Now that I write software for a living, I can better understand how wrong it is. How can I expect to get paid for software I write when I steal software others have written. Luke 6:31 comes to mind here, at least for me being a software engineer.

  6. I’m looking forward to this series of posts. If you’ve been around technology long, you know how to skirt around copyright issues. But like you, I have decided to do everything legally and honestly.

    Where it gets tough is issues of church and music copyrights. I really want to do everything possible to stay legal, but the current system is so complicated that it almost requires you to have a lawyer on staff just to guide you through the process. It makes it tough for smaller churches to stay within the copyright law.

    I hope that you not only share the why, but the how. Great post and thanks for sharing

  7. Ben Cunningham

    Good job Gabe,

    I’m suffering from this sin, although I often tell myself I’m not as bad as those around me, but looking back I’m pretty sloppy in that area. Have to remind myself that staying clear of torrents & the like doesn’t mean I’m over the issue!

    I’m also looking forward to this series,

    God Bless
    – Ben

  8. Don’t forget about burning cds for friends=stealing. yes, I said it, burned cds! 🙂 (yes giving them mp3s is the same thing)

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