SansBlogue  
Thursday, June 21, 2007
  Copyright, theft and ministry
Claude has a post "You Shall Not Steal Thy Brother’s Song" in which he reminds us that using copyright material without permission is theft. In the course of the post (and again in reply to a comment I left) he provides examples of such theft, and of how it can hurt (particularly) Christian artists. Claude and I - I believe - agree that breach of copyright is theft (I'd add: of a sort). However, in my comment I went beyond this, since his post evokes a mixed response in me. I said, among other things:
I also have reservations about the whole Christian Music Industry, if music IS a ministry, then it should be funded and supported like other ministries are. Not through the grasping selfish mechanisms of an "industry".

I am deeply saddened when I hear of copyright Bibles, that people cannot copy to disseminate, I am equally sad when I hear of Christian Musicians who make more than a good living out of
"selling" the gospel, just like the worst TV Evangelists. Next thing Pastor X will copyright his sermons, and how long before Disney trademarks the term "Gospel".

So, I agree with what you say, but I wish people would say and do more to help undo this sad
commercialisation of what should be good news for everyone!
Because, while as currently structured breach of copyright is theft, it is also true that as it currently operates the "intellectual property" ideology combines with the worst features of capitalism to become the means by which "stars" and record companies, make excess profit, young struggling artists are NOT supported and the Christian message becomes a commercial "product" to be packaged and sold - quite literally. To my mind selling the gospel is sin - and that is worse than theft, for theft is merely a crime!

Until Christians (whether musicians or not) learn to opt out of the diabolic system of fame, pride and wealth that has crippled the Church in the Western world, and is decimating our reach into our neighbourhoods, Christian music will remain an "industry" and "Christian music" will continue to be protected by complex and restrictive DRM mechanisms, and will continue to be stolen.

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