Won't the translations be inaccurate?
Oh yes! But this is part of the attraction of the project, as well as being rendered in the mother tongue the out of copyright texts are also adapted (a little more than is usual in a translation – for all translations are also to some extent cultural adaptations) this makes them more useful. But it may mean that some sort of peer review process should be built in, to ensure that undesirable errors do not creep in. I doubt this needs to be formalised. Since the new “text” is semi-oral and since semi-oral cultures have a flexibility to adapt their texts, the pastor would rework and improve any chapter that their colleagues question.
How will we ensure that busy senior pastors actually find time to do the translating?
First, not a lot of time is needed, just read a chapter, then reread it a paragraph at a time and speak it in their mother tongue. Say two hours for a chapter, once they have done a couple during a training day, and done the first few more slowly on their own. Second, the laptop itself is a carrot. It stays under their authority as long as they produce an agreed number of chapters – becoming their possession after an agreed period. Third, the fact that they are producing this resource is a source of honour (mana etc.) and the fact that it is in their voice will also add to their authority in other things.
Senior pastors won't be able to master the unfamiliar technology!
How many senior pastors do you know who do not have children (and/or grandchildren, nieces, nephews...) in their household. How much training do you think those guys will need? But it is true not all will be able or willing to support the project. Many useful medicines cannot be tolerated by some patients, Penicillin is a well-known example, this does not stop their use among the rest of the population!
There will be a lot of new technology to break down and support!
Not a lot. Most of the distribution can be to existing mobile phones or MP3 players. So, for each district you are looking at one laptop (the OLPCs are designed to be rugged and if they are becoming the possession of the families there is an interest in protecting them) and perhaps several MP3 players (they are also very rugged and now quite cheap <$20 retail). You would naturally use the laptop model that is that is chosen for the national education system, or one for which support should be available. And anyway, how much does it cost under the old print system to get books to pastors? And they are culturally inappropriate books, in foreign languages!
This scheme gives the power to the local church!
Yes! Great isn't it :) Print allowed foreign missions, missionaries and ministries to produce “great” resources for the poor people people of the land. This way they get assisted to produce resources for themselves. If they start out doing Matthew Henry in Kisangali, how long do you think it will take before some pastors also produce their own “texts” dealing with locally raised issues? Where has print ever achieved that degree of localisation?
This scheme will reduce the motivation for literacy in places with low literacy rates :(
First, get your priorities right! What are you about? Helping people become clones of the West? Or deepening their understanding? Second, if you think this little project will have a bigger impact than radio, TV and mobile phones you have a higher view of its potential than I have ;) Literacy as we have known it for 500 years is under threat, but this project will not contribute much to the change, though it does work with it rather than resist... “Literacy” and “books” are not idols to be worshiped but a technology and skill that are no longer as dominant as they once were – do not make the dominant technology of the past a fetish object!
It is expensive to produce music and tour. How do you propose Christian musicians do this in a world that is used to paying for the products it consumes?I wish I knew! That is my point. I do not see a future where renewed private morality ensures that we all dutifully avoid "consuming" pirate music, videos etc.. DRM schemes will fail (they represent at best an ineffective sea wall against a storm tide). Advertising may succeed though as I wrote below:
iTunes sales are beginning to flatline, and Peter Gabriel (the musician and Internet angel) and other less famous investors are setting up an ad-supported (un-DRMed) MP3 download service. Whether this will work, whether we like the idea of adverts everywhere, or not, this reinforces the deep roots of free culture in the electronic world.I think Keith's claim that we live in a "world that is used to paying for the products it consumes" is not true any longer for "intellectual products", at least when they are distributable online. And in such a world I begin to wonder if a return to some form of patronage (see "Subscription, advertising and appeals online") is the only answer. To some extent this is already our situation, churches support preachers and increasingly musicians, educational institutions support certain forms of publication (at least through research time, but increasingly through direct payment towards publication), companies sponsor sports teams and symphony orchestras...
I am still in the middle of the first semester marking crisis, and so reading Poythress and further comment will have to wait!
Poythress says he can only speculate on
what might happen if the restrictions on copying were loosened.
Not quite, he can look at what happens in the many countries in the world (mostly towards the East) where such restrictions, even if existing in theory, are in practice not enforced and ignored by almost everyone. I used to live in such a country. But his speculations seem reasonably accurate about what things were like there: life went on, but intellectual work tended to depend on sponsorship.
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".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!
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!
Was the photographer stealing from the person or building whose photograph he shot, pirating something of private and certifiable value? Those early decisions went in favor of the pirates. Just as Walt Disney could take inspiration from Buster Keaton's Steamboat Bill, Jr., the Brothers Grimm, or the existence of real mice, the photographer should be free to capture an image without compensating the source. The world that meets our eye through the lens of a camera was judged to be, with minor exceptions, a sort of public commons, where a cat may look at a king.Introducing the delightful image that we are all born backwards into this world, experiencing the past through the present:
The world is a home littered with pop-culture products and their emblems. I also came of age swamped by parodies that stood for originals yet mysterious to me—I knew Monkees before Beatles, Belmondo before Bogart, and “remember” the movie Summer of '42 from a Mad magazine satire, though I've still never seen the film itself. I'm not alone in having been born backward into an incoherent realm of texts, products, and images, the commercial and cultural environment with which we've both supplemented and blotted out our natural world.In such a world the iniquities of "copyright" are clear:
The idea that culture can be property—intellectual property—is used to justify everything from attempts to force the Girl Scouts to pay royalties for singing songs around campfires to the infringement suit brought by the estate of Margaret Mitchell against the publishers of Alice Randall's The Wind Done Gone. Corporations like Celera Genomics have filed for patents for human genes, while the Recording Industry Association of America has sued music downloaders for copyright infringement, reaching out-of-court settlements for thousands of dollars with defendants as young as twelve.Meanwhile back in the classroom
SEARCH Tim's sites