Question:

Like many people I download movies and music and I was just wondering if that is considered stealing and therefore is a sin?

Answer:

Just because someone makes a movie or song available on the Internet, it does not imply that they had the right to do so. The Internet is not policed directly and those who try to keep some semblance of law and order on the Internet move relatively slow.

The Bible states, "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor" (Romans 13:1-7).

Whether you agree or not, our governments have laws stating that producers of movies and performers of songs are due recompense for their efforts. These rights are governed by each country's copyright laws. There are movies and songs old enough that their copyright has expired. There are some movies and songs which the producer or performer has released his rights to the movie or song, placing the work into the public domain or have given license for free distribution. But you need to check to see if this is the case for a movie or song you want to download to your computer. Too many people have broken the laws by placing the material on the Internet. The courts have been strict in stating that this does not give you permission to further break the laws by making your own copy of an illegal copy.