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As I know, theft means in the Torah always the stealing of a material thing. There is a big difference against stealing of information, for example, stealing software (which means, copying this against the will of its creator), or read books unauthorized, etc.

If somebody steals gold, an important feature of the crime, that its rightfull owner won't have this gold any more. In the case of information, it isn't the case. "stolen information" won't mean that its original owner won't have access to it any more.

Can we really talk about "information theft" in the case of software piracy? I think, it is actually not the theft of software, rather it means letting the programmers to work on it without payment. Similar to that, as if somebody cloned a cow without the permission of its owner, instead of making it to his own.

I think, it is a crime as well, but not theft. Am I right or not?


P.s. The essence of the answer on the possible duplicate explains this with Dina DeMalchuta Dina. My intention was to know this purely on the Torah Law, without the actual state law (which can consider this as theft, as a different crime, or not crime et al - it depends highly on the country).

marked as duplicate by Shmuel Brin, Shalom halacha Jun 9 '15 at 13:28

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  • Wouldn't it be similar to stealing perot (fruits)?. – RonP Jun 9 '15 at 5:40
  • I think it's a dup – Shmuel Brin Jun 9 '15 at 6:05
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    It might be like not paying a worker. The software creator put in work in order to get paid for his work by his future clients. It might not be an item he is selling but it is his work that he is waiting to get paid for. Using his efforts without paying is at least as bad as not paying the Shevach of a field when work was put into it without the owner's request. – HaLeiVi Jun 9 '15 at 6:09