[sword-devel] Re: Copyright, profiteering, and the Great Commission

David Burry sword-devel@crosswire.org
Thu, 06 Jul 2000 14:17:28 -0700

My point was not to be offensive or mock at all, I'm very sorry that it could have been taken that way, and for that I apologize.  I should have been more careful.  I meant it to be a sobering parallel.  I did not interpret what exactly belonged to "Caesar" or "the copyright holders" that is left up to you and your conscience, just like Jesus did not specifically say whether we should pay taxes in every case or not.  I see a great many parallels here, but if you don't, that's between you, God, and the courts.  I am not your conscience.

However, the main point of Jesus' message there was not the first part of the verse, but the last part.  The things of ours that belong to God are not so much the physical material things, but our hearts, our souls, our minds.  God does not look on our outward appearance, how pious we behave, or how well we can argue our point.  He looks upon the hidden things inside each one of us... He knows our motives and intentions, our character and our thoughts.  He knows each one of us for who we really are.  This is what's important to Him.  This is a rebuke to most of us including myself.

There are some cases when we are called upon by God to stand for His Word and what is right, and even go to prison or be tortured or burned at the stake for it.  There are other cases when we must choose our mission in life carefully... we cannot beat a sinner over the head with every single thing he's doing wrong all at once, or they will become overwhelmed, for instance.  Sometimes we have to just concentrate on one thing at a time, and let the rest slide for now.  It's not compromise if it's done correctly, it's just realism to avoid hurting the cause of God.  For instance, Jesus paid the temple tax one time when technically he was not required to do so according to the Law of God.  Likewise the Word of God is so valuable to me I am willing to pay a little royalty here and there, even though the Word of God should certainly be free at least after costs of materials and labor.  Being considered a dangerous rebellious outlaw by most law-abiding citizens is not helpful to God's plan in my opinion.  This is my opinion only, and you should not feel attacked if you don't share my view.  I do not condemn you just because you're not like me, who am I to hold myself up as the standard for everyone else anyway... ;-)

I agree that at least some of the Bible translation copyright holders are misusing their powers.  But God's Word will not be held back that easily.  For every misuse of that power, another steps in to fill the need.  Some of them have written to this list.  Thank you, all of you who are so willing to step in and donate so much of your time and money to the cause.  It is appreciated, believe me.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!


At 01:58 PM 7/6/2000 -0500, Pergamum wrote:
>First off, I'd like to clear up that I am NOT against a publisher's right to charge money for selling bibles or whatnot. I am a greedy capitalist. I understand how market forces work. You must pay for material, labor, production costs of the retail material, etc. As for the research and development in translations? It is all paid for by donations from Universities, Seminaries, Philanthropists, Archeological and Linguistic societies and other private sources so the arguments that Whichever Publishers is using about paying translators becomes moot . I am, again, not against them making money; merely against their arrogance in assuming intellectual ownership of the Word in the form of copyright. I contend that biblical copyright is an abuse of market forces in the most heinous manner. Furthermore, Mr. Burry, I find your statement to be rather offensive. But at the same time this attempt to mock the Scripture proves my point. If you look at the original verse in question: Matthew 22:19-21, 
>19"Shew me the tribute money." And they brought unto him a penny.
>20And he saith unto them, "Whose is this image and superscription?"    
>21They say unto him, "Caesar's." Then saith he unto them, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.",
>we see that Jesus is addressing the picture on the coin and saying that governmental concerns are just that; governmental. Also, conversely it means that church concerns are exactly that: church concerns. Unfortunately what we see today is Caesar's attempt to have that which is GOD's rendered unto him in the form of taking the Word of GOD, in which the image and superscription of the text is of Christ Jesus, and overlaying of a copyright in the image of Whichever Publishers with the official recognition of Caesar in the form of a number assigned by the United States Copyright Office. So I ask you to please consider this: Does the Word of GOD belong to the copyright holders? Or does it belong to GOD? Whose image and superscription is on your copy of GOD's Word?
>In closing I'd like to apologize to you David (or anyone else reading this) if my comments seemed a bit pointed or like a hostile personal attack. They were not meant to be such. They were however from a hostile point of view toward the blatant theft of GOD's Word in the form of copyright.
>In Christ  Jesus,
>----- Original Message ----- 
>From: David Burry <<mailto:dburry@tagnet.org>dburry@tagnet.org>
>To: <<mailto:sword-devel@crosswire.org>sword-devel@crosswire.org>
>Sent: Thursday, 06 July, 2000 03:33
>Subject: Re: [sword-devel] Re: Copyright and STRONGS
>> Render unto the copyright holders the things that belong to the copyright 
>> holders, and unto God the things that are God's.
>> Dave