We glorify God when we choose to obey copyright laws, even though we might think the material should be copied for his glory. We glorify God when we give credit where credit is due, i.e., to the people he has worked through to provide the writing or the artwork, music, etc. We glorify God when we support rather than deny just and fair wages to those who produced the works that we’d like to copy, because they have used the talents God has given them.
To copy anything for distribution, without permission, is (quite frankly) thievery; it is uncaring toward those who do the work. As Christians, we want to respect the copyright protection of any person’s writings, music, or artistic drawings.
Copyright laws automatically cover anything that is written or drawn or recorded — anything in savable form, including the electronic media (such as webpages and email). Once something has been published, even if it has not been officially registered with the government’s Copyright Office, it is protected by international law.
Why should we make such a big deal about copyright protection?
It’s a misunderstanding, usually. Many readers wonder why I would want to squash the sharing of the Good News by insisting on copyright protections for my work. I don’t, though — really!
Copyright Cat explains:
“Copyrights are important to any writer or artist or publisher. Articles and reflections that are sent by email should be treated as professionally as if they were printed in a book put out by a publisher.
“I haven’t been to one of your people schools, but I’ve heard that when you were a kid, your teachers taught that when writing papers for homework, it was wrong to plagiarize; you were punished with an F or zero if you turned in someone else’s work as if it were your own. You were taught that when quoting sources, you needed to give credit to that source or else you’d get a lower grade. But today the internet has made it so easy to plagiarize; it’s now called sharing — which sounds nice, because sharing is a very nice thing to do
“Of course, the right way to share is to link back to the source, but many humans copy and paste and neglect to include a link back to the source, and the original source gets lost in the shuffle. Sharing in this case is plagiarism, but the world has lost sight of that. It’s a form of stealing that’s become socially acceptable.
“Most humans don’t see the harm, but authors and artists and publishers do in fact lose opportunities and money when their work is stolen. Being unaware of the harm does not mean that there is no harm.”
Thank you, Copyright Cat!
I’d like to add that good stewardship of the gifts God has given me includes protecting the reputation of Good News Ministries despite technology that makes it easy to copy and share and change what was originally written.
Furthermore, we want to give everyone who reads our content the opportunity to be ministered to in additional ways, and this happens when the source is credited and the link back to the source is shared. So, as my copyrights permission page states, I do want people to share my writings with others as long as they comply with the requirements, which are designed to provide more ministry.