From this question What is the punishment for someone who pirates digital files?, the OP writes:
It is agreed upon that piracy is theft according to the question Where does Islam stand on Internet Piracy?
I'm respectfully contesting this claim in this question in the context of fiqh.
Question: Is piracy a form of theft for the purposes of fiqh?
In anticipation of answers which don't carefully read the question, I'm not contesting whether or not piracy is halal/haram; I'm contesting whether or not it's classed as theft (which may result in hadd punishment) or something else (not necessarily requiring hadd punishment).
The answers to the question Where does Islam stand on Internet Piracy? are all of the form "someone on the Internet said so" (specifically, "...this becomes copyright infringement, or stealing", "...it is still considered stealing" and "...you are not stealing anything"). Consequently, I'm looking for authoritative sources, e.g., fatawa. (Please back up responses and refrain from adding yet another "someone on the Internet said so" answer.)
Online fatawa generally seem to refrain from calling it theft. Here's what I've found via Google:
Islam Q&A 81614 quotes from fiqh councils; they declare it impermissible, but do not declare it theft. Indeed, they even go so far as to write:
Some of our scholars think that it is haraam to do this (copy things) for the purpose of selling them, but if a person makes a copy just for himself, that is permissible.
In other words, "some of our scholars" argue that it's halal for personal use, and therefore is not considered theft (which is haram).
IslamWeb 132937, 305998, 326746, 327097 also refrain from describing it as theft, instead using the far more tempered description "...the opinion adopted at Islamweb is that copyright ... are recognized and protected by the sharee'ah".
...there is no precedent in the Holy Qur'an, in the Sunnah or in the juristic views of the earlier Muslim jurists where an intangible object has been subjected to private ownership or to sale and purchase. They further argue that 'knowledge' in Islam is not the a property of an individual, nor can he prevent others form acquiring knowledge, whereas the concept of 'intellectual property' leads to the monopoly of some individuals' knowledge, which can never be accepted by Islam.
In our understanding, copyrighting (attaching the clause of copyright) in itself is an act of oppression and injustice. -- Muftionline.co.za
I found a single terse fatwa on IslamQA Darulifta-Deoband.org which described it as theft:
...a lot of piracy takes place and piracy is a kind of theft and it is considered illegal but still it takes [place]... Is it allowed or not in Islamic view?
Theft is not allowed in these matters also.
The following searches returned no hits:
site:sunnipath.com piracy. Keep in mind that my search was limited to English-language fatawa.
This question is related to:
Is it haram to pirate software I cannot purchase due to not having a credit card, with the intention of paying for it when I do get a credit card? and If someone is poor, can he/she use pirated software?, which asks about justifications for software piracy,
Can I use pirated software for work with the intention of buying it once I make enough money?, which asks how bad software piracy is (which didn't get answered quantitatively); this question here is more specific,
How is it to read an unlicensed copy of a book?, Is it halal or haram to distribute a scanned copy of a copyrighted book?, Use of pirated books, which ask in the context of books
I found several other answers on Islam.SE which again take the form of "someone on the Internet said so":
What should a Muslim do if the company he works for uses pirated software?, where one of the answers described software piracy as "basically stealing" and another said "piracy is theft".
Regarding Is using pirated software allowed?, the top answers write "Piracy is stealing, plain and simple" and "Obviously, piracy is stealing by definition".
The answer to What is the punishment for someone who pirates digital files? writes "this kind of theft is not like normal theft".
(And a recent Islam.SE user comment indicated surprise at my attitude that "piracy" is a crime distinct from "theft".)