Is it permitted to listen to Music I have received from a friend, he did not pay for it either and we both do not plan on buying that specific album, is it considered stealing even though the artist is not losing out by me obtaining the album for free?


The concept of ownership over intellectual property is debated in the Poskim and the general consensus is that when a publisher or producer puts out a new book or invention, he has the right to it forever and no one may reproduce it without his permission. Many different reasons are offered to explain this Halachic concept. The secular copyright laws can also apply, להבדיל.

In practice, according to many Poskim, the producer has an actual ownership in his production, thus it is an issue of Gezel (not just due to Takana, Dina D’malchusa, or general obligation to pay when benefiting). This appears to be the view of the Tzemach Tzedek too. Accordingly, since ownership rights applies to all intellectual properties, it is forbidden to reproduce them if it causes losses or a potential lack of profit to the publisher or producer.



Shoel Umashiv 1:44. Minchas Yitzchak 9:153.
See Tzemach Tzedek (Y.D. 195).
שו”ת צמח צדק חו”מ ע, ט. שער המילואים ח”ד קמב.