Christian MediaEngaging Culture

Do Christians Steal Songs When They Download?

This front page article from the LA Times presents an interesting dilemma for thousands of Christians.  Is downloading wrong?  I have to admit – just the presence of the article on the front page of one of America’s largest newspapers doesn’t make us look too good…  What do you think?

Pirating Songs of Praise

Some Christian music fans believe digital downloading is a way to spread the Word. Other voices tell them: Thou shalt not steal.

By Geoff Boucher – Times Staff Writer – October 10, 2006

Regina Kennedy prides herself on being a good Christian, so when the pastor at her Pentecostal church in Delaware called it a sin to download gospel songs without paying for them, her heart began to race.

The out-of-work driver went home and stared at her download collection, which included artists such as Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin and others. “The songs are so beautiful, and I couldn’t afford to buy them all,” the 43-year-old said. “I just didn’t know what to do.”

In the end, she deleted every song. She’s still not sure, though, that she was really stealing. “I don’t know what to think, really.”

Kennedy is hardly alone among conflicted fans of Christian music, but her decision to erase her library does set her apart from most of them, especially younger ones. Surveys show that born-again Christian teens are just as active in stealing and swapping music as their secular peers who pinch the latest Eminem rap hit or Kelly Clarkson power ballad.

Take Matthew, a 13-year-old who attends Hewes Middle School in North Tustin and attends youth programs at nearby Red Hill Lutheran Church. Asked if it’s wrong to take songs for free, he answered: “No, because the artists are making billions of dollars anyways.” Another kid at Red Hill, 16-year-old Mike, a student at Beckman High, said that music is beyond commerce or at least beyond the cash register: “They should give it away ’cause it’s art anyways.”

Those attitudes, along with the arrival of an edgy and restless new generation of artists and lean times in the music industry, have created a clash between familiar imperatives: Spread the Word and Thou shalt not steal.

“We are all conflicted, it’s true,” said John Styll, president of the Gospel Music Trade Assn. “This is not a business first, but it still must be a business at some point to keep going.”

Styll’s association was behind a campaign called “Millions of Wrongs Don’t Make a Right,” which used well-known Christian artists as spokespeople against piracy, but Styll said the perception lingers that all music stars are fabulously wealthy, and he wonders how effective they are as voices in the debate anyway.

His association is preparing to go to youth events and organizations in coming months with presentations that frame the question of digital downloading as a purely ethical issue. That’s a far different tack than the mainstream music industry, led by the Recording Industry Assn. of America, which has used legal action and language to spook young pirates.

“The RIAA feels it can’t address it as a moral issue, but we certainly can, and our audience should be more receptive to that,” said Styll, who seemed plainly exasperated with the notion of young churchgoers taking music illicitly. “It’s like stealing. You wouldn’t walk into a Christian bookstore and steal a Bible off the shelf…. some fans say, ‘This music is made to spread the Word, and I’m just helping.’ Well, this is also about people’s livelihoods.”

“Christian music” is an unwieldy and misleading name for a music market that is big enough to cover recent releases from artists as disparate as Ohio pop-punk band Relient K, smooth L.A. gospel singers Mary Mary, country singer Alan Jackson and P.O.D., a hip-hop and reggae tinged band from San Diego.

It’s hard to imagine fans with music tastes eclectic enough to embrace all the artists on that list. But as a collective, the sector just got some great news. Christian music sales, both on CD and via paid download, over the first six months of 2006 were 11% higher than during the same period in 2005. That double-digit surge stands in stark contrast to the rest of the music industry, which experienced a 4% decline during the same time period. And no other genre has a 2006 sales jump anywhere near the level of the Christian sector.

When the six-month numbers were released, industry leaders said the figures showed that efforts such as the “Millions of Wrongs” campaign were making in-roads. But that view may be a leap of faith, says Joe Fleischer, chief of marketing for Big Champagne, a top barometer of online media activity.

Fleischer said the uptick in Christian music sales was more than matched by a jump in Christian music that was traded on peer-to-peer networks, e-mailed as file attachments and (the new popular mode of youth distribution) via digital files tucked into instant messages.

While much new revenue came in, more was missed, Fleischer said, adding that the same zealous fans that are taking their music for free are also minting new stars for a genre that is amid a major crossover into mainstream rock.

“That increase in sales is driven by what’s going on with these newer acts, and all of that is happening on the Internet,” Fleischer said. “Bands like Underoath.”

Underoath is a Florida hard-core band whose spiritual message is delivered with a sonic style not intended for the faint of heart. The messages too are far from the psalms or greeting-card sentiments that the term “Christian music” conjures up. Take its wrenching song on abortion, “Burden in Your Hands”:

So they take your life before your first breath / When will it stop, the killings continue / Babies die every day because of a pro choice made / Helpless and innocent they are put to death.

The six-member band shocked the music industry in June when its most recent album debuted at No. 2 on the nation’s pop charts despite zero airplay on mainstream commercial radio and no presence on MTV.

It wasn’t a surprise to fans who visited the band’s page on, the Internet portal that has become a pop culture echo chamber. On the Underoath page, the digital player shows their songs have been listened to close to 17 million times.

The upheaval in Christian music circles isn’t limited to rock and edgy youngsters.

The traditional Nashville scene, with its country-tinged sound and its Heartland appeal with artists such as Amy Grant and Steven Curtis Chapman, has lost jobs, Styll said, especially because the revenues for artists are limited by lower royalty payments from church and religious outlet performances. That has made the trade association especially stern, but it’s set the stage for maverick attitudes as well.

Take singer-songwriter Derek Webb, an up-and-coming Christian recording artist who has not only received good reviews for his tour but also a flurry of coverage in industry outlets such as Billboard magazine. The reason? He’s opted to give away a full download of his new album for three months on the Internet. He had sold 17,000 copies (both as CDs and downloads) since its December release and has given away 50,000 more since the download offer began in September. In exchange for the free music, he asks only that fans give him the names of five more people to e-mail about his music.

The idea came to him after he sold enough copies to break even financially on the project. The free-
music period will pay off in the long run, he says, by building his career and also spreading the spiritual message of his music. His concerts have, in recent weeks, jumped from audiences of about 100 to crowds of 500 and more, he said.

“I can’t think that’s a coincidence and all of this, it’s a huge part of my future,” he said. Webb categorizes his music as songs of protest in an industry more comfortable with shiny happy platitudes.

“I don’t think most Christian music is very good — I don’t like it and I don’t listen to it,” the 32-year-old Nashville singer said. He pointed to the growth of rock and metal acts with Christian messages that use the Internet to bond with young fans and sidestep the traditional industry mechanisms. “Forgive me for saying it this way, but that looks a lot more like Jesus to me than packaging some album and telling people what to do with their art. ”

In a Times entertainment poll this summer, teens were asked about downloading songs from an unauthorized file-sharing network. Among those who identified themselves as religious (of any faith), 63% said they would never do it. Among teens who did not describe themselves as religious, it was a similar proportion at 61%.

Those numbers didn’t surprise Styll because he had seen even more distressing stats when his trade association commissioned a study in 2004 by the Barna Group, a Ventura research and strategy company that focuses on young Christian consumers.

That survey found that about 1 in 10 born-again Christian teens believe it is morally wrong to take and share songs. The ones who do have second thoughts often said that they felt the religious connection the music provided them made it all less objectionable.

“What we’re seeing is young people and youth pastors are bringing this moral perspective that, well, it’s not exactly right to download the music, but from their point of view they’re doing it for greater good, and in their minds that offsets it to some degree,” said David Kinnaman, vice president of Barna Group.

Top executives in the Christian music industry have lobbied on Capitol Hill for protections for music and other copyrighted material. But the tougher rooms to win over are at church halls such as the one at Red Hill Lutheran Church.

At any given time there about 120 kids in the programs, from fourth-graders through college-age young adults. Isaiah Coughran, co-leader of the church’s youth ministry, noted that the congregation is relatively affluent, so the youngsters who take music for free have other options.

“The kids here are split on it. We get both ends, for sure — the kid that has 7,000 songs and the kid that won’t do it because it’s stealing,” Coughran said. “We want them to make their own decision, but at least be aware of the issues and talk about them.”

Some of the kids chew on the debate for a minute but then swallow it with a shrug: “They’re teenagers and they say, ‘It’s what I want to do,’ and that sort of flattens the argument for them, just like with anything.”

Coughran himself was in a Christian punk-pop band called Value Pac that got as far as a record contract on an indie label. That’s when Coughran noticed that their music was available on Napster and pinging through the Internet for free.

“For me, I was actually thrilled, because part of what I wanted to do was share the message of the music,” he said. “And one big way to spread the Word — any word — was Napster, right? I wasn’t doing it so much for the money, so the message was more important to me. It’s different if you need to do it for a living, though, isn’t it? That changes everything.”

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  1. It's definitatly stealing. I probably only buy 3 CD's a year-I just don't want to spend $ on music. While, I'm not stealing I instead listen to the radio. I think this mentality the "music should be free" is taking over. "Entertainment should be free" is next. Eventually, the move will be towards all free media…look at google, youtube, doesn't cost to watch. People don't want to part with their money.

  2. I find it interesting the direction this whole brave new world of media is going. Once people don't have to pay for it, they feel they shouldn't. The shift is already occuring. I know plenty of Christian friends who burn DVD's (illegially), and everyone does music. The mentality I see is that people don't think they need to or should have to pay for movies, music, ect.

    First there was napster, now its limewire-actually there are tons of sites to get free music and movies, just find a few teenagers. I think the one establishment that will hold out the longest is cable/sat tv. Until they figure out a way to connect your internet to your tv and people can view broadcast quality programming thru the internet on their tv. It will be interesting once people can view broadcast quality visuals on their TV, thru an internet connection! It's hard to imagine what that could do. Right now, TV has an edge..quality, bigger more comfortable screens, can watch with friends, ect..Here's an article about the shrinking movie business via George Lucas


  3. Amazing that people wont spend money when they can get it for free even though they are ripping people off. You pay money to go watch Kobe Bryant dunk a baskteball or you pay money to watch Payton Manning score a touchdown. You need to pay for music that God has blessed these artists and bands with… .Support Artists..!!!

    The following is not a solicitation…Just a suggestion as a solotion to help stop music piracy! (JD GREGORY)

    That is why companies like BurnLounge are going to impact the industry.Stop the Piracy and start profitting!

     BurnLounge provides a solution to the pirateing of music. Encourage young people to open up their own digtal store and legally sell the music they love. I am an independant retailer with BurnLounge and I grew up with the CEO Alex Arnold. He is a Chrisitan and the CEO of the Next i-tunes. BurnLounge enables and encourages people to be the next tower records and sell they music you love and earn royalties! It also provides a distribution outlet for artists that quite frankly can allow you to go platinum without a record deal! It cuts out the middle man. Join Metallica,Justin Timberlake, Kayne West, Rick Dees, Carson Daly, Shaq, Kiss, Hootie and the Blowfish, Press-Play (chrisitan band) Kevin Max, Carmen, etc…

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    Youth Pastor and BurnLounge Retailer

  4. I feel like Eliza's father in "My Fair Lady".  Our church is too broke to afford morals.

    (I wish I was kidding)

  5. Maybe slightly off topic, but a pastor once told me, "It's easier to ask for forgiveness, than to ask for permission." Sadly, it's true. That's not to say it's right, but when it comes to publicly showing a movie or playing a song (whether you own the CD/DVD or not) it's next to impossible for a small church or organization to get legal permission from the entertainment industry copyright holders.

  6. In my opinion they shouldn't show the movie or play the song if they don't have the legal license to do so. If churches violate this laws, how do we expect teens to respect them?

  7. I recently checked out how easy it is to pirate one of the most highly protected media broadcasts that I know of. UFC 64 which happened saturday cost $50 PPV. They have done something with Youtube and Google to somehow avoid the pitfalls of having the show pop up online for free, BUT, Within 12 hours of the broacast I spent about 60 seconds online and I found the show for free online. It was relatively easy to find. I really don't think there is a way to stop internet piracy. People don't have to go to a store to steal, it's already in their's just a click away. It's so easy and why pay $50 when you can view it free just by clicking the mouse? I don't think they will ever be able to control the internet-it's too wide open. The moral fiber of the country would have to change to slow the bleeding.

    I think at somepoint the industry may have to embrace it somehow. I know several Christian bands that have printed on their CD instructions to replicate and distribute as many copies as possible to as many people as possible. It's a complex and interesting topic.


  8. Phil, it's interesting that you mention John Styll, especially in the context of this discussion. Back in the late 80's, John was the editor of CCM magazine when CCM published a couple of two-page guest editorials I'd written.

    The first major article I wrote for CCM was entitled "The Other Side of The Coin". In the article, I responded to an attitude, far too common among many pastors and other church leaders, to the effect that Christian musicians ought not to expect remuneration for their substantial contributions to worship services and other church events.

    Shortly before I wrote the article, I'd had a very unpleasant encounter with my pastor. So unpleasant, in fact, that I eventually stopped going to the church over the issue. So unpleasant that that encounter inspired me to write that article.

    I was struggling a lot financially. I was barely paying my living expenses, and the equipment I needed in order to take my music to the next level was financially out of reach for me. So when I was asked to perform again at my church, I said that I would do so, but only if I was allowed to take a love offering in order to raise funds for equipment (specifically, a portable digital piano) which would enable me to get gigs at other churches and not have to worry about whether or not they had an adequate instrument on which I could play my music.

    The pastor responded by saying the following from the pulpit at a Wednesday night service: "Any musician who will not play without pay is no better than a prostitute on the street."

    I wasn't at the service at the time. I learned about it because a friend who was there told me about it. My friend had no doubt in his mind (knowing about a conversation I'd had earlier with an associate pastor) that the primary pastor had been referring to me. And if there was any doubt in my mind about the matter, subsequent conversations with the pastor made it very clear that he had in fact been referring to me.

    To say that I felt hurt and unjustly slandered would be a mild understatement.

    First, he had misrepresented my position on money, because I'd played for free at churches (including his!) on a number of occasions. Second, in light of the fact that the pastor received a full time salary for the work he did for the church, I found it extremely hypocritical of him to impugn my spiritual integrity simply because I, too, wanted to be compensated for my contributions. (It wasn't a question of him thinking I lacked talent. Earlier, at a church event, the pastor had been one of the many people there who gave me a standing ovation, which was unusual even in that church.) Third, I thought it was particularly ironic that he used a form of slander which compared me to a prostitute, given the fact that I was still a virgin at the time. (And, in fact, I still am a virgin, at 50 years of age!)

    Sadly, I think that that pastor's attitude towards musicians was indicative of an attitude which is all too common in the church. There's a double standard when it comes to musicians. No one has a problem with the idea that the church secretary and the church janitor and the architect who designed the church and the grocer who furnishes the food for the church supper should all be paid. Why, then, are musicians any different?

    The Bible says that God "is no respecter of persons"? Why, then, is it considered permissible to promote a double standard in which musicians are treated as if they are second-class Christians?

    I think it's because of the ridiculous myth to the effect that making music doesn't really involve hard work. Such an attitude reeks of ignorance.

    Volunteerism is wonderful, when it is genuinely voluntary, but when a musician is expected to constantly give something for nothing, and impugned when he or she decides in specific circumstances not to do so, then it is no longer volunteerism. It is exploitation. I believe that it grieves the Holy Spirit. No wonder we Christians are losing ground in the culture wars. The old expression, "You get what you pay for" is as true when it comes to music as it is in any other area.

    When a musician asks for remuneration or requires it, he or she is not "charging people for the gospel". He or she is charging money in order to recoup the costs of all of the expensive music equipment people have come to expect during such performances. He or she is receiving reimbursement for the countless hours of unpaid hard work and practice which enable that musician to do what he or she does.

    Why should we be surprised that young Christians think it's acceptable to steal from musicians by downloading their music without paying for it? Our pastors have repeatedly shown complete disrespect for the musicians in their congregations, despite the crucial role such musicians play in the operations of most churches.

    When pastors wake up to the need for musicians to be properly reimbursed for their contributions, instead of being left to fend for themselves with no practical help from the churches which speciously claim to care about their welfare, then those pastors will have the credibility necessary in order to teach good morals to the young people who look to them for guidance.

  9. If only Christian TV was so compelling.  I enjoy a decent moral tale as much as the next 'heretic' (love ya work Phil), but come on…where's the effort team??!! – just look at the effort that went into 'Left Behind'…!!!

     On the music front, I am the lead guitarist of a multi-award winning, hugely famous band…well, at least in my bedroom anyway…but I believe that music ought to be paid for.  The artists very rarely see anything near what the vultures get, so why should we be ripping them off further?

    My ethos is, if you like the music, buy it…otherwise don't. 

    Anyway, that's my effort…now…back to watching the best of Walker – Texas Ranger!!!

    :-p The Cookie Monster

  10. One other comment: People who rip musicians off often justify their theft by saying that the musicians are already filthy rich anyway. That just shows their ignorance and the need to more effectively educate non-musicians about the realities of the music business.

    Yes, there are a few musicians who are extremely wealthy, but for every musician in that category, there are thousands of musicians, maybe even tens of thousands, who are forced to work at day jobs for which they are poorly suited because they cannot make a living doing what they love to do the most. And the common belief that musicians owe it to the world (or to the church) to give their music away for nothing has a lot to do with that fact.

    Anyone who thinks that being forced to work a day job in order to support one's self doesn't diminish a musician's ability to make the most of his or her talents is naive, at best. Eight hours working as a secretary or a grocery store checkout clerk (plus an hour or two commuting to work every day) is eight or more hours when that musician could be practicing music and writing songs.

    Ultimately, the ones who refuse to pay for what they receive end up hurting everyone, including themselves. If musicians were properly compensated, there would be much more good music for everyone to enjoy.

    Besides, even if it were true that all musicians were rich and that stealing from musicians made no appreciable difference in the amount of good music which was available to everyone, the bottom line is that stealing is stealing. There's nothing in the Ten Commandments to suggest that there's an exemption from the command "Thou Shalt Not Steal" in cases where one's victims are rich. 

    Bill Gates is one of the richest man in the world. He probably makes more money in one hour than I make in one year. But it would still be wrong for me to steal from him.

    Where's the moral leadership from the pulpit on this issue? From what I can see, it's minimal at best.

    Pastors who are clueless about the struggles many musicians go through, and who make little or no effort to help Christian musicians who struggle financially (partially on account of principled decisions not to play in bars and other places which do actually pay musicians), have no right to expect such musicians to care about their financial needs. Nor do they have any right whatsoever to complain about the decline of Christian values in American culture. If pastors and other Christians really want to see an increase in the amount of godly music and a decrease in the amount of music which mocks God and spurns Christian morality, then they need to put their money where their mouths are by doing everything they can do, in practical ways which really make a difference, to support Christian musicians and to encourage others to do so as well.

  11. thank God for itunes.  cheap, fast, virus-free downloads of practically any music you want.  i haven't downloaded anything illegally since it came out and i haven't bought a cd from the store since either. 

  12. Itunes has impacted album sales as well.  Of the top 100 best selling albums of all time – only 3 of those were recorded since the year 2000.  Gone are the days of buying an entire CD to get one great song.  People can now download only what they want and it's changing the business in a major way.

  13. The musical abilities that these artists have are Gifts from God for the edification of the churches. Is it right then than Christians have to pay first to be able to listen to these “music of GRACE”? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not for with piracy. I’m just pointing out the disturbing idea of having to pay for an access to God’s works of grace.

  14. Chances are, whatever you do for a living is probably a gift from God as well.  However, I imagine you want to be paid for it….

  15. wow i really did not know that because i used to think that since limewire was free it was ok to listen to it i deleted limewire and now have bearshare which is more advanced and has a profile i can make but i trully did not know i feel so guilty right now…i dont have any christian cd at all!i dont work yet i'm only like 16 so obviously i cant buy any! with what money???my parents dont like spending on cds because they know i eventually get tired of it so that is why now i just go to and use my bearshare to listen to free…so you are telling me all along i was sinning!?its so hard to stop listening to it because i love old school gospel songs that sound like swing since no where else will i ever find those cds…all they have now is wordly when i only want old school christian music…am i doing wrong for listening to what is free?i dont try its just this is what has actually stopped me from listening to wordly since i dont know any christian singers but wordly. i got into church last year at 15 so obviously i dont know any…i feel so BAD!!!and not just that but its so hard to delete these songs i fell in love with.

  16. This issue is very difficult for me, as well as downloading TV shows. The reason being because you can WATCH these shows on TV and LISTEN to these songs for free on the radio. As technology as improved, they have tried to suck every penny out of us through buying a TV series at the store or buying each song for a dollar on Itunes.

    If someone was to borrow their friend a TV series to let them watch, the company wont be getting any money off of you viewing their show, so essentially shouldnt you feel guilty borrowing a book or movie from a friend? Also if your friend has purchased music or owns CD's you can burn them onto your computer and load them onto your music player.

    The fact remains that downloading music or TV shows definately isnt that same as physically stealing property. However I find it difficult to determine exactly what a Christians view on this whole issue should be. It was just recently that Canada made it illegal to download music for free, if it had been legal for so long, it obviously could not have affected the music industry very much. If I had owned my Zune lets say a year earlier I wouldnt feel guilty at all downloading b/c there would have been no laws against it, now I have to determine whether I can justify my downloading and it is quite difficult for me.


  17. Of course Christians are stealing when they download music.  Illegal music downloading applies to Christians and Christian music, just like it applies to everyone else.  The music that Christians are illegally downloading is owned by someone, just like any other type of property, and when you take it without permission, it's theft just like anything else.  Whether or not the Christian bands should be smarter about distribution so that they leverage music downloading instead of fighting it is another matter. 

  18. Matthew 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."


    Amazing to witness the gospel music associations trying to plant guilt trips to Christian kids for downloading music. This industry, where standards have become so blurred and compromised, "anything for a buck ministries."  I watched the last Dove Awards, only to witness too few artists actually giving Jesus Christ credit for their successes.  Stealing?  They even had a skit that the audience laughed at about stealing … as though stealing is actually comedic.  Then you dare to stand in judgment of kids downloading music.


    The question here shouldn't whether downloading music is unethical or immoral, but it should be on how far astray the Christian music industry has gone, then have the audacity to judge the kids they purport to bless?  Anyway, unless the artist actually own the lyrics, they usually make ZERO from the CDs.  Who's ripping who off here?  You rip off the artists because you can get away with it … they download the music because they can get away with it. Perhaps you perceive a difference.  I doubt the Lord sees a difference.


    "Those of you without sin …"

  19. i know what you are going through because iam going through the same thing.i didnt know it was wrong.but iam going to have to delete my gospel music collection.its sad cause to me gospel music singers should not be greedy like the worldly singers.i thought sharing was a good thing.its alays about money.but if you like old school gospel heres some singers you may enjoy.Fred Johnson-John Starnes-Janet Pascal-Carlton Pearson-Walt Mills-Dudley Smith-Charles Johnson and the Revivers

  20. i hear you but why is christians acting like the world?wheres the difference?i cant buy a cd and make copys 2 share with my family when in doing so it blesses?comeon man.greed is a sin.come out from among them and be seperate.we are a peculiar that you may have 2 give somebody that is in need.if you have 2 coats give away one.give share bless somebody your no better than the world. NOT EVERYBODY WHO SAYS LORD LORD WILL MAKE IT IN!!!

  21. As Christians the reason why we shouldn’t steal music is because we must submit to the government and because we shouldn’t steal. Unless in obeying the government we disobey God’s law. It clearly says in the Bible that we shouldn’t be a thief no matter the circumstances. Do we not have faith that God will provide for us. Even if we are suffering we should never succumb to the World’s outlook on stealing music. Especially the fact that it is music. Not listening to music won’t kill you. Stealing music will kill you. It will get yourself thrown in hell for eternity. Sounds pretty harsh doesn’t it. To you it may but to God it is righteous. Thank God that Jesus suffers the penalty that we deserve. We won’t be able to stop everyone in the world from stealing, but as Christians we live renewed lives that should look more and more like Christ’s everyday whether it be stoping an addiction, or stealing music. I will pray for you Christians who continue to be incessant in music downloads. Our Father will provide. Have faith young Christians.

  22. nobody is perfect really, to me copyright means i want more money. when you buy a cd only like 3 cents go to the artist. the rest to the record company. any pastor or anybody could say stop downloading music is a sin and don’t listen to this and that. but in reality god all wants us to share, but downloading music and videos does not fall in that category. but what i mean is that anyone can convince you like a pastor or a person just so they can be richer. if you really want to support the artist go to there shows by there merchandise. any pastor can lie to a person so they can get more money or a person doesn’t matter. listening to another artist that doesn’t fall in a christian label isn’t a sin either. such as creed or avenged sevenfold, they are only human but here there any artist can right about god and be scamming people. take in count god also said they will turn me into a industry and there will also be false prophets. so you just have to ask god whats right and whats wrong and never judge. to my consideration you can download it and have it, to me it doesn’t matter because when you buy something there is reward in the way you feel the way you cherish it more. you can download all you want but when you buy something there is value. an opposite saying could be love your enemies because there is reward in that. there are always alternative like itunes or netflix and radio. so you don’t really have to steal if you think about it everything is so cheap. you can even listen to your favorite songs on youtube. or you can download your music and never really care because you never really worked for it.

  23. It is definitely still stealing. Just because the music is about God it doesn’t mean it is not by people. If the artist did not want to be paid for their work they would have made versions specifically for free online distribution. The artists are expecting to be paid, and we are stealing from them.

  24. As a christian who has no money to buy music, I do admit that when I searched the issue that Iwanted it to be okay, Idid want to believe “God would rather me have the music than nothing” rather than delete my collection of downloaded gospel songs (I also have movies that aren’t christian that I did download) but dying to your old self and becoming christlike was not described as “easy” when it was told to me. I think it would be easier to go through these comments until I found something that made me feelmore justified in keeping them.. how many people in the desert needing food in the bible justified stealing because they needed something? How many sacraficed pleasing god to get what they wanted? I know what is right in my heart, the songs get deleted today and the movies thrown away. If jesus were to say in the bible “man shall not live by bread alone but every word that comes from the mouth of god” and then turned around and went back on his words and said something lik “steal when you need to or feel like you can because its easy to argue” oh how the people opposing god would have grand ammunition against him! I will never be perfect, I’m a new christian after all, but becoming a new creation has shown me one thing for sure, I am honestly so underserving of my forgiveness that jesus died for so that Iwould be blessed enough to have it, that he comes first. Before my reasonings, before my selfishness and definently before my version of gaining the things that Iwant for me, me, me, me. And that is the truth. Lord, be not far from me.  

  25. It is no different than putting a blank cassette tape in the boom box and recording your favorite song like EVERYONE did back in the 80’s. Would it be any different than recording your favorite show off TV such as was done in the 80’s and 90’s? Is it different than duplicating a vcr tape from the video store such as was done back in the 80’s and 90’s? I would say let your conscious be your guide on this one.

    If you feel that it’s the same, then there is your answer. I still don’t think it is the same as going into someone’s yard or car and stealing something from it. No one would even question that scenario. Yet we question downloading free music off youtube in the comfort of ones home? Because it is NOT really clear. Why would so many question it otherwise? If it were that clear you wouldn’t question it.

    1. You’re right. It’s not clear. And I find that the people who are usually promoting free downloading are the one’s who aren’t creating it, or making a living off the music.
      Thanks for your perspective Bob.

  26. Why will these christian singers make worship songs as business if it is the word of God?
    Making profit of Word of God is a sin since salvation is free of charge.
    The best solution is to make downloading christian songs legal or lower their price so that everyone can afford and these singers can make profit through their concerts only.

    Have deleted these gospel songs i have downloaded. Then those singers making billions of dollars of profit out of worship songs they wrote for God are now accountable to the Lord Jesus now. I pray they will repent on their unbiblical business and saved from hell.

    1. You seem to forget the scripture from 1 Timothy 5 – “the worker deserves his wages.” Pastors make salaries. Plus, I imagine you’d think differently about it if you were a recording artist… 🙂

      1. I didn’t say that these singers should not profit from these songs but it is questionable for a person who read the word of God like me the expensive price of these songs and the heart of these singers whose business superceede spreading salvation and gospel for free of charge. i also say that they should lower the price of their songs and make large profit only through their concerts.

        May God who sees our hearts and thought us judge us according to what was really written in our heart and soul.

        May those who freely spread the Word of God without obliging people to give money for the gospel but encouraging them to give according their heart and faithfulness be rewarding in the kingdom of God.

        May those who make church a money business repent and be rebuked by the Holy Ghost.


  27. It is not illegal to download music off youtube. So please people don’t accuse others of breaking the law. File sharing (Limewire, for example) is illegal and those type of sites were shutdown. But that is not we are talking about when it comes to Youtube. I found this on this posted by someone who goes by the handle……….Blake B. • 4 months ago

    “I’ve never made a post such as this on a website such as this. But I thought it would be a good idea to tell people who find their way here.

    In the YouTube terms and Condition / Privacy Policy, it does state (somewhere) that downloading YouTube content is NOT illegal as long as its for personal use OR you aren’t making a profit. If you do intend on making a profit or distributing it then you must ask permission of the ORIGINAL person who made the video (because copies). This rule does not apply for EDUCATIONAL purposes. Such as, if a classroom does a project on a Discovery YouTube video, then they are allowed to use it as long as it stays non-profit.”

    Every Christian must decide for themselves if is wrong or not. But know this, you are not actually breaking a law by downloading a song off youtube as long as you not sharing it or selling it for profit and or it’s for educational purposes only.. Just because it is not illegal does not necessarily make it right though. It is NOT stealing in a legal sense. But is it stealing from the artist? You decide!!.

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