4

One makes an exact carbon-copy (perfect copy, in such a way that one will never be able to tell the difference between an original and a copy. For arguments sake, lets say through witchcraft) of (say) a work of art and destroys the original.

He then proceeds to sell this copy for the cost of an original work of art (say $1,000,000).

If he would have informed the buyer that this was just a copy, he would have only been able to make (for example) $5,000.

Does he have to (between him and Hashem, as nobody can prove it to be a forgery) pay back the difference? (He probably isn't allowed to misrepresent his work in the first place, but ex-post-facto is he allowed to keep the money)?

On one hand, inherently the painting isn't worth nearly as much as the selling-price, yet on the other hand it is worth that amount on the open market.


Based on comments from Is there any issue except for Dina Dmalchusa in counterfeiting money?

2

Isur of Genevat Daat is certainly present here (see Gemara Hullin 93b-94a, Rambam Hilchot Mechira 18, Shulhan Aruch Hoshen Mishpat 228). Whether this is Isur from the Torah or not is a totally different story. Here is a good list of Mare Mekemot whether it is Asur from the Torah or from Rabanan.

  • 1
    Can I upvote this answer more than once?! – Seth J Dec 9 '11 at 2:40
  • The question was if Bdieved you have to return the money? – Shmuel Brin Dec 9 '11 at 6:06
  • I thought that was a given. – Hacham Gabriel Dec 9 '11 at 13:32

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