Author Topic: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity  (Read 6656 times)

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Offline yeshuaisiam

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Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« on: February 02, 2012, 09:31:42 PM »
The other day I was looking at the old SCO linux lawsuit where SCO was claiming to have rights to multiple pages of code in the Linux Kernel.   They claimed to own the intellectual property of that code, and since all Linux is based off the Kernel, they claimed to have rights to the entire Linux architecture.   Thank goodness they lost...., due to not being able to completely prove their case. 

But it brought up a couple of thoughts as a Christian, which I have thought of before, but it still resides as a subject that I find interesting.   Since by design, the software code becomes the property of its creator...

As Christians, we believe that God created us, our intellect, and our image in his likeness.  We believe that God created all of this world, heaven, the sun, and every atom of the universe.

1) By consideration of Copyright law, we are all a part of God's intellectual property.  All of our creations, originated in God's creation.  Our intelligence and thoughts all originate from our creator.   Even the creation of Evil, originated in God's creation.   Everything came from God, thus it does not seem adequate that Christian men can hold a license for "original creativity".

2) But that's not all, in the scriptures we read "you were bought at a price", which was the sacrifice.  As Christians, we are NOT our own, but are owned by God.   If you are owned by God our creations are God's.

3) By example, Jesus gave thanks & broke the loaves and fed thousands, (which of course meant that the bakers, food vendors, and farmers would not be selling as much food).

It's more or less I find copyrighting as "illogical" or "without faith in our design" at least to the Jews/Christians.

Anyway, this is just some thoughts that I think....  If anybody has expansion for or against the logic I would be interested.

(Just so I'm clear, I'm only a Linux user and use only open source (free) software, and don't advocate breaking copyright.  I'm curious on a CHRISTIAN moral basis what you Ladies & Gentlemen think)

Now keep in mind, that I'm speaking of nothing more than the intellectual (not item specific) property.  Is it right to "divide the loaves" without actually taking a possession?
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Offline witega

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2012, 12:42:38 AM »
In the US, it is illegal for a 20-year old to buy and drink alcohol. In most of Europe it is legal. So if a 20-year old buys a beer in New York City it is illegal. If he flies to Berlin the next day and buys a beer that is legal. Does the change in secular laws actually change whether it is moral or immoral for a 20-year old to drink a beer? Or is it moral in both cases, though in the US there is an additional issue of obedience to the secular power?

"Copyright" was invented in 17th-century England. Prior to that, it had never occurred to anyone that there was anything wrong with 'copying' someone else's "intellectual property".  Unless we take the position that the secular power can make things moral or immoral (again keeping the actual act separate from the question of simply obeying the law), then there is no way that a legal fiction dreamed up in 17th-century England can be considered to have invented a brand-new sin.
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Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2012, 01:20:12 AM »
I think it is plainly immoral to hit the print button while reading the final draft of the book my brother has spent the last twelve years writing, rush it down to a publisher and sign a contract which results in personal profit all before my brother has a chance to get home from work and do so himself. That, right there, is theft, whether the crime is on the statute-books or not.

I have an inchoate theory that all legal forms of property amount to the law's recognition of the value of time. Time spent doing something -- anything -- is time which can never be returned. The law understands that time is perhaps the most precious thing to us in this life and attempts to protect us from the unjust theft by others of the product of our own spent time. For example: it would be theft to take for yourself the wheat I sowed and harvested as much as it would be to steal the theory behind some new engineering breakthrough I had made -- in both cases, what is being unjustly taken is the product of invested time.

All property is ultimately a legal construct (call it a fiction if you must).
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Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2012, 03:18:14 AM »
I think it is plainly immoral to hit the print button while reading the final draft of the book my brother has spent the last twelve years writing, rush it down to a publisher and sign a contract which results in personal profit all before my brother has a chance to get home from work and do so himself. That, right there, is theft, whether the crime is on the statute-books or not.

I have an inchoate theory that all legal forms of property amount to the law's recognition of the value of time. Time spent doing something -- anything -- is time which can never be returned. The law understands that time is perhaps the most precious thing to us in this life and attempts to protect us from the unjust theft by others of the product of our own spent time. For example: it would be theft to take for yourself the wheat I sowed and harvested as much as it would be to steal the theory behind some new engineering breakthrough I had made -- in both cases, what is being unjustly taken is the product of invested time.

All property is ultimately a legal construct (call it a fiction if you must).

Wouldn't your theory be presupposing "law" as an entity as opposed to a force or a tool used by man?

Anyways, I think a better theory is that property - rightly defined - is something that your possession of precludes the possession of said item by any other person.  For instance, I have a particular can of MUG Cream Soda next to me, right now.  I own that can and the soda it contains.  If I have that can and that soda, you are incapable of having it as well.  This is not the case with any so-called "intellectual property" either with regard to the item itself (say, a song) or with regard to the idea itself (say, the words contained in a song and its melody, which I may have in my head at precisely the same moment you do or the knowledge of how to build the Toshiba Satellite laptop that I am typing on).  I think that the law should be based in the idea that property rights have been recognized by man - and by government - as a way to prevent conflict.  If you and I both try to possess the same car at once, there is conflict because you cannot drive it while I drive it.  Consequently, society must step in and say "These are the rules by which we will know who has the rightful possession of an item." 

So, to summarize, I believe property is best defined by scarcity, and only a scarce thing can truly be owned, and that the law ought to recognize ownership only of scarce items and only because to fail to do so will be to allow conflict to run rampant.

On second thought, Akimori, I realized just now that you may have been referring to a theory of how the law presently works (and what ideas are behind various legislatures' actions), as opposed to an idea about the nature of the law.  If so, disregard my comment about your theory.
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Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2012, 09:04:31 PM »
I think it is plainly immoral to hit the print button while reading the final draft of the book my brother has spent the last twelve years writing, rush it down to a publisher and sign a contract which results in personal profit all before my brother has a chance to get home from work and do so himself. That, right there, is theft, whether the crime is on the statute-books or not.

I have an inchoate theory that all legal forms of property amount to the law's recognition of the value of time. Time spent doing something -- anything -- is time which can never be returned. The law understands that time is perhaps the most precious thing to us in this life and attempts to protect us from the unjust theft by others of the product of our own spent time. For example: it would be theft to take for yourself the wheat I sowed and harvested as much as it would be to steal the theory behind some new engineering breakthrough I had made -- in both cases, what is being unjustly taken is the product of invested time.

All property is ultimately a legal construct (call it a fiction if you must).

I'm curious though, in consideration that God created time, god created man, and we are all god's property.  God created our thought process, god created matter.

To a Christian, everything and anything belongs to God and originates in his creation.

So if we were to program, use time, snap a photo, use thoughts, write a book, wouldn't the thought processes, time, and our own bodies begin in the origination of the creator himself.  (Just as the SCO linux battle was over about "a couple pages of source code")

We have WAY more than a couple pages of God.

So based on Christian understanding would a Christian be immoral for duplicating something that never actually "belonged" to another.   As far as the book, could the book have existed outside the realms of God, his creation, and the intellect he instilled in the brother?

I guess I'm putting Christian morality up to the legality.  Legally "a couple pages of code" in hundreds of thousands can break copyright.  But since we are all God's how can we feel "bad" about copying?

(again I'm not for breaking copyrights, but just curious of what everybody thinks)

If we are God's, and all things are God's, we are merely creating duplicates of things which originated of what God has intellectually designed & created.  :)  
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« Last Edit: February 03, 2012, 09:07:00 PM by yeshuaisiam »
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Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2012, 09:15:54 PM »
Yeshuaism, let me ask you a question.  Are not all things God's?  I mean, without Him, nothing exists.  Without Him, nothing is sustained.  Without Him, nothing has life.  So, are not all thing's God's?  And if that is the case, then the idea that copyrights are "wrong" simply because God really holds all the copyrights, is rather foolish because you would have to throw out ALL property rights as all things are really God's, and not our owns.  Consequently, you shouldn't object if I take "your" car keys and drive off in "your" car, or if I start sleeping in "your" bed in "your" house.
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Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2012, 06:55:42 PM »
Yeshuaism, let me ask you a question.  Are not all things God's?  I mean, without Him, nothing exists.  Without Him, nothing is sustained.  Without Him, nothing has life.  So, are not all thing's God's?  And if that is the case, then the idea that copyrights are "wrong" simply because God really holds all the copyrights, is rather foolish because you would have to throw out ALL property rights as all things are really God's, and not our owns.  Consequently, you shouldn't object if I take "your" car keys and drive off in "your" car, or if I start sleeping in "your" bed in "your" house.

I understand what you are saying, but the issue is not "tangible" property, something that physically exists.

For instance, is it stealing to TAKE your DVD.  It's your DVD.  Of course that is stealing.
But to COPY your DVD and give it back to you... That brings up a different "way" of thinking.   As you did not lose anything.

With that said, copyrights are here because somebody claims something in originality.   For instance, the case SCO brought against the Linux Kernel was because they claimed it had their "intellectual property" or "Their code" in the Kernel.   However, they were unable to prove their claim, so basically the case was tossed.  If they were able to prove their claim, very well SCO could force royalties out of the Kernel, or own the Kernel itself.

Since all intellectual property was designed by God, and all of our thoughts and thinking ability come from God, and all creativity come from God, then the things we create in our intellect are God's.   

So basically I was trying to see what other people thought of without stealing tangible assets that obviously God gives us, to merely copy or duplicate things which never would have existed without god & the morality behind it.

I do get what you are saying about physical assets, but hopefully I was able to relay the difference from my point of view.

(of course again I don't condone anybody break the law, but just trying to engage in dialog & explore this out)
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Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2012, 08:20:02 PM »
The discussion above is exactly why I propose that the law, in recognising intellectual property rights, is not seeking to exclude a person other than the "owner" from using or having the thing in question per se but is rather seeking to give force to the proposition that all people are entitled to reap the fruits of their labour/time. This same logic applies to physical/tangible goods: other people are excluded from using them because they are the the product of our investment of labour/time.

I would like someone to explain to me why my example of having my brother's book published for personal gain is not plainly immoral. If we can all agree that such behaviour is immoral, on what basis do we say that the law should not seek to enforce such morality?

As an aside, I think the existence of a multiplicity of property torts bolsters my argument. Why would there be a need for trespass/detinue/conversion to all exist as separate torts if property rights were as simple as "this scarce physical item belongs to me and therefore not to you"?

PS: I am entirely with you, James, on the lack of distinction between tangible and intangible property in respect of everything ultimately belonging to the Lord.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2012, 08:20:54 PM by akimori makoto »
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Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2012, 10:53:33 PM »
Yeshuaism, I'm not sure your example is valid because to take the DVD to copy it would indeed become a matter of physical property - which I recognize as legitimate.  However, suppose your friend uploads the DVD onto the internet - then everyone can download it without preventing the use of it (for any amount of time) by another person.  Also, you wouldn't even have to go into the question of whether or not all intellectual "property" would be derived, ultimately, from God because we are all Servants of the Most High, whether we acknowledge such or not (which is why one of the Optina elders could have told a man whose father committed suicide to pray something along the lines of "Have mercy, O Lord, on the soul of They servant who has departed this life in separation from Thy Holy Orthodox Church") and as such, anything we create - whether tangible or not - is actually his, also the law recognizes that employees who create intellectual property as a part of their position do not own that property (if I'm mistaken Akimori, correct me) and since we are not only the servants of God but in fact we belong to Him, that alone would be sufficient reason for Him to hold a "copyright" on whatever we create.  I may have missed it somewhere, but I am uncertain of your point though.  Even saying that God owns all copyrights, would not mean that we should not enforce any copyrights on Earth because God also holds the very planet in His hands, all is His, yet we enforce physical property laws.

Akimori, I can certainly understand your position.  But let me ask you this: For how long should intellectual property be valid?  At some point in the distant past, someone created the sword.  Today, they would be able to patent the sword.  Suppose that there was a patent office way back then, should the concept of a sword (and all derivative inventions) still be under patent protection?  If I write a book, should my descendants - in 500 years time - still have copyright protection?  If not, what is the natural time at which such rights cease?  It seems that most everyone who advocates for intellectual property picks a random number of years (the only time that I can see as valid, assuming the validity of the idea of copyright, is the lifetime of the creator - but then what do we do about corporations or works created by more than one person?  Should an invention made by a two man team have only half the patent when one of them dies, and how would that work?). 

Also, all work (both literary, musical, and mechanical) is ultimately derivative of other works.  A symphony, for instance, could not be created without the musical instruments other people created first, nor could it be written down without the musical notation system designed by someone else.  That of course wouldn't even be paying attention to any of the inspiration that might - sometimes rather clearly - come from previous musical works.  All work is derivative, and so why should someone be able to copyright or patent their work?

Then there is also another matter yet to be addressed here.  There is the fact that, somewhat frequently, inventions are created completely and totally separately from each other, at roughly the same time.  Why should the one man's time and effort be rewarded and the other man's thrown down the garbage shoot?  Just because one of them got to a patent office first?  Or the fact that, if you write a piece for the clarinet, I cannot - even if I never knew of your piece but happened to create one that was very similar - go outside my house (or even, I believe, gather many people into my house) and play my clarinet in that specific way.  So the idea of copyright and patent inherently interferes with the ability of people to utilize their own property as they please.

On your second point, I would say that you are right to think the hypothetical situation is immoral.  I think an argument can be made that it is immoral for the simple reason that you are portraying as your own work what someone else did.  It is fraud and deceit.  That is why it is immoral.  Also, it deprives your brother of something he almost certainly would have received (assuming you could), an advance.  The work would be the same whether you or your brother took it to a publisher, and so the advance would be roughly the same.  You would essentially be cheating your brother out of money.  Now, if I take a CD that I've purchased, and uploaded it to the internet, I've not necessarily deprived anyone of any money, because a large number (perhaps even almost all) of those benefiting from my action wouldn't have paid money for it to begin with.  Or take a book for instance.  Suppose I am a publisher.  I see that there is some other publisher who has published your brother's book.  I read it.  I like it.  I decide to publish it as an e-book for 99 cents.  Your brother's book may not have been bought by any of the people who bought my e-book, because they may all have thought it was too expensive, thus depriving him of nothing.  I think the chief reason that it would be immoral (perhaps the only reason) is that you would be committing a fraud on the world by claiming you wrote it. 

I think it is also important to remember that there was a time when copyrights were not automatic, as they are today.  Many, many works that are now beloved, even a century and a half later, were originally published in serial form by magazines (or, perhaps, occasionally in book form by publishers) after promising the author an advance (and I suppose royalties, maybe) if he agreed to show no other publisher to work prior to its publication.  Yet people still continued to publish, a lot, despite no copyright protection for their work.

On your last point, I will have to look into that.
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Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2012, 11:06:31 PM »
I'll respond to you properly when I have a bit of time, James.

<3
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Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2012, 12:30:18 AM »
I'll respond to you properly when I have a bit of time, James.

<3

Thank you.  I am always interested in your opinions.  I really hadn't meant to write as much as I did, but as I was typing I kept thinking of more to include.
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Offline vamrat

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2012, 12:51:28 AM »
The discussion above is exactly why I propose that the law, in recognising intellectual property rights, is not seeking to exclude a person other than the "owner" from using or having the thing in question per se but is rather seeking to give force to the proposition that all people are entitled to reap the fruits of their labour/time. This same logic applies to physical/tangible goods: other people are excluded from using them because they are the the product of our investment of labour/time.

I would like someone to explain to me why my example of having my brother's book published for personal gain is not plainly immoral. If we can all agree that such behaviour is immoral, on what basis do we say that the law should not seek to enforce such morality?

As an aside, I think the existence of a multiplicity of property torts bolsters my argument. Why would there be a need for trespass/detinue/conversion to all exist as separate torts if property rights were as simple as "this scarce physical item belongs to me and therefore not to you"?

PS: I am entirely with you, James, on the lack of distinction between tangible and intangible property in respect of everything ultimately belonging to the Lord.

Aki, in my opinion, the problem with taking your brother's work and having is published before him is that you are not only profiting from his work yourself but you are taking away any chance of him ever receiving compensation for his time and effort.  I personally would not find it problematic if you kept a copy of his book on your computer and read it in that manner.  I'd find it a bit tacky - if someone I know writes a book I'd like to have a copy of it - but not necessarily immoral. 

I really find the issue of copying music to be problematic.  First off, the band who wrote and performed that music are only receiving dimes to dollars off of the music they created.  The record companies are making the rest.  The band will make their money off of concerts, etc.  If anything, people sharing the music is giving them free advertising.  The record companies will still make a great deal of money because many people would rather download the music off somewhere safe like itunes that charges.  And more, there are dinosaurs like me who use a CD player so most of the music I get is either played in the background on youtube or bought on CD. 

For instance, the band Ancient VVisdom makes a CD.  I hear it in my friend's car.  I have not paid for it.  Tonight I have been listening to a few of their songs in the background on youtube.  Still haven't payed for it.  I also have it in my Amazon.com queue and will probably order it when I get paid again.  If someone posting it on youtube were made illegal, I'd probably just not order the CD.  No time to get the music stuck in my head.

And the worst part of it is, I keep reading about these people who get fined millions of dollars for downloading music.  That is ridiculous.  These record execs and bands aren't going to starve to death, but some housewife in Podunckville is going to be totally ruined by a million dollar lawsuit.  The punishment is entirely disproportionate to the "crime" committed.
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Offline Ebor

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2012, 12:54:03 AM »
What God has given humanity (among other gifts) is that of creating.  Both Dorothy L. Sayers im The Mind of the Maker and J. R. R. Tolkien in several of his works ("Leaf by Niggle" and "On Fairy Stories" for example) mention the idea of "sub-creation", of how the act of creating something that did not exist before is one that is part of being created in the image of God.  Sayers, in chapter 3, breaks this into three parts: the idea, the energy or work and the meaning/interaction.  Ideas can be plentiful -  It's the work that goes into doing something with them that makes them real, that brings them into being.  Beyond that is what is done with them or how other people react to them.  Two people can have the same idea and make different things because they are individual people with different lives.

Sayers' work: http://www.worldinvisible.com/library/dlsayers/mindofmaker/mind.c.htm
An Essay on Tolkien's "On Fairy Stories": http://www.tolkien-online.com/on-fairy-stories.html

I have created a few things in my time that are still remembered by others. Others sing a couple of the songs that a friend and I brought into being, but they don't claim them as their own. They've even shown up in some odd places so that one wonders how they got there.   There have been a few small recordings and those who were making the music asked for our permission out of courtesy.  I've gotten a free copy of the CDs and once a small check, but nothing much and that's fine. The songs live on.  But if someone were to record them or publish them and gain wealth on our work without asking that would be stealing.

Yes, God gave me the mind and the ear and the ability to create and to him be the glory and the royalties if you like.  Since I am not God nor the one who gave others their power of creation it would be unjust for me to take another's creation for my own enrichment by claiming that they don't really have any rights to what they have made.  If someone has done something that gave me pleasure or moved me with word or song or image or some other work well, the 'working man is worthy of his hire' even if the only coin is an acknowledgement with thanks.  But if one can give something so that the person can have the time to create more then that would help both the creator and those who like what she/he creates. 

Ebor
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Offline Jason.Wike

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2012, 01:07:45 AM »
In the US, it is illegal for a 20-year old to buy and drink alcohol. In most of Europe it is legal. So if a 20-year old buys a beer in New York City it is illegal. If he flies to Berlin the next day and buys a beer that is legal. Does the change in secular laws actually change whether it is moral or immoral for a 20-year old to drink a beer? Or is it moral in both cases, though in the US there is an additional issue of obedience to the secular power?

"Copyright" was invented in 17th-century England. Prior to that, it had never occurred to anyone that there was anything wrong with 'copying' someone else's "intellectual property".  Unless we take the position that the secular power can make things moral or immoral (again keeping the actual act separate from the question of simply obeying the law), then there is no way that a legal fiction dreamed up in 17th-century England can be considered to have invented a brand-new sin.

Actually there was a whole war fought over copyright to copies of a manuscript in 6th century Ireland that involved Saint Columba, which lead to him being exiled. The ruling was something like "A calf belongs to its mother, so a copy belongs to the original creator."

Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2012, 02:59:37 AM »
Aki, in my opinion, the problem with taking your brother's work and having is published before him is that you are not only profiting from his work yourself but you are taking away any chance of him ever receiving compensation for his time and effort.  I personally would not find it problematic if you kept a copy of his book on your computer and read it in that manner.  I'd find it a bit tacky - if someone I know writes a book I'd like to have a copy of it - but not necessarily immoral.

I really find the issue of copying music to be problematic.  First off, the band who wrote and performed that music are only receiving dimes to dollars off of the music they created.  The record companies are making the rest.  The band will make their money off of concerts, etc.  If anything, people sharing the music is giving them free advertising.  The record companies will still make a great deal of money because many people would rather download the music off somewhere safe like itunes that charges.  And more, there are dinosaurs like me who use a CD player so most of the music I get is either played in the background on youtube or bought on CD. 

For instance, the band Ancient VVisdom makes a CD.  I hear it in my friend's car.  I have not paid for it.  Tonight I have been listening to a few of their songs in the background on youtube.  Still haven't payed for it.  I also have it in my Amazon.com queue and will probably order it when I get paid again.  If someone posting it on youtube were made illegal, I'd probably just not order the CD.  No time to get the music stuck in my head.

And the worst part of it is, I keep reading about these people who get fined millions of dollars for downloading music.  That is ridiculous.  These record execs and bands aren't going to starve to death, but some housewife in Podunckville is going to be totally ruined by a million dollar lawsuit.  The punishment is entirely disproportionate to the "crime" committed.

I was going to respond to your post bit-by-bit but, on reflection, I think a global response is more appropriate.

What I hear you saying is that there are a billion and one problems with the way intellectual property law has developed in North America (and, probably the whole common law world). I agree emphatically!

Ordinarily, I am an intractable skeptic and nay-sayer when it comes to recognising new intellectual property rights or extending the ambit of recognised categories of rights. My natural tendency, both as a laissez-faire capitalist and as somewhat of a black letter lawyer, is to resist the regulation of human activity and unnecessary encroachments upon liberty (it is often said of the common law that it permits everything, with certain exceptions -- while the civil law permits nothing, with certain exceptions).

All of that said, I still find myself, in this thread, defending the very concept of intellectual property. I just don't see how the concept can be entirely abandoned by any legal system which continues to seek after justice. Surely the appropriate response to the over-reach of intellectual property is to develop robust fair use or like exceptions?

Would you say that the concept of intellectual property is inherently faulty, or are you rather arguing what I think you're arguing: that the creature has come, in its excess, to diminish our rights rather than enhance them?

By the way, I think your observation about my scenario is correct: the problem is precisely that I have robbed my brother of the fruits of his time and labour.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2012, 03:00:31 AM by akimori makoto »
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Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2012, 03:35:24 AM »
Akimori, I can certainly understand your position.

On that basis, can I ask -- underneath all of your complaints about intellectual property, is there a reluctant admission of the need for the concept, or do you fundamentally deny its value?

But let me ask you this: For how long should intellectual property be valid?  At some point in the distant past, someone created the sword.  Today, they would be able to patent the sword.  Suppose that there was a patent office way back then, should the concept of a sword (and all derivative inventions) still be under patent protection?

We are talking, here, about a particular species of intellectual property right, aren't we? A patent is a different creature to a trade mark, which is in turn different to copyright. I just make the point for clarity of the continuing conversation ...

In respect of patents, there is no doubt that the length of their effect is determined entirely arbitrarily. This is most unfortunate, as it would be more preferable to establish some principle by which we can judge how long they should persist. I submit, though, that this difficulty is not enough to entirely deprive the patent system of justice. I mean, in the inheritance law of many jurisdctions, a gift is void if it does not vest within a certain arbitrary period of time after the death of the testator. Would it be preferable to fix the period of time with reference to some principle of universal justice? Of course it would, but good luck divining that principle -- all we know is that it is appropriate and useful and just for gifts to find their way to their proper owner when someone dies rather than be left to be held on trust in perpetuity. I think that a similar logic applies in respect of patents.

If I write a book, should my descendants - in 500 years time - still have copyright protection?  If not, what is the natural time at which such rights cease?  It seems that most everyone who advocates for intellectual property picks a random number of years (the only time that I can see as valid, assuming the validity of the idea of copyright, is the lifetime of the creator - but then what do we do about corporations or works created by more than one person?  Should an invention made by a two man team have only half the patent when one of them dies, and how would that work?).

In respect of the general principles of copyright, I repeat my comments in respect of patents, mutatis mutandis.

In terms of corporate creators, obviously it would be unjust to allow a copyright to subsist for the term of the corporation's life, which could well be eternal. Is there any real fundamental problem with fixing an arbitrary term for the copyright which approximates the life expectancy of a natural person? I mean, the logic behind the existence of ninety-nine year leases, which no-one decries as fundamentally unjust, would seem to apply ...

In terms of partnerships, is there a problem with the entire right vesting in the surviving partner, as most real estate vests in a surviving spouse? Contrarily, is there any problem with half the rights forming part of the estate of the deceased, inheritable by his heirs? Do you have a clear preference for one or the other or are they both equally objectionable?

Also, all work (both literary, musical, and mechanical) is ultimately derivative of other works.  A symphony, for instance, could not be created without the musical instruments other people created first, nor could it be written down without the musical notation system designed by someone else.  That of course wouldn't even be paying attention to any of the inspiration that might - sometimes rather clearly - come from previous musical works.  All work is derivative, and so why should someone be able to copyright or patent their work?

This is a bit too philosophical for me to respond to in brief. I gloss over it for now and return, if you'll permit me.

Then there is also another matter yet to be addressed here.  There is the fact that, somewhat frequently, inventions are created completely and totally separately from each other, at roughly the same time.  Why should the one man's time and effort be rewarded and the other man's thrown down the garbage shoot?  Just because one of them got to a patent office first?

Ditto.

Or the fact that, if you write a piece for the clarinet, I cannot - even if I never knew of your piece but happened to create one that was very similar - go outside my house (or even, I believe, gather many people into my house) and play my clarinet in that specific way.  So the idea of copyright and patent inherently interferes with the ability of people to utilize their own property as they please.

I am not a copyright lawyer and am certainly not an American, but I suspect this is not a true statement of American intellectual property law. My understanding is that it is necessary to show that the alleged infringer actually copied the work in question. Coincidental similarity, albeit substantial similarity, does not infringe copyright. Of course, judging whether an alleged infringer actually copied the work is no easy task, but that is more of an evidentiary rather than legal problem.

On your second point, I would say that you are right to think the hypothetical situation is immoral.  I think an argument can be made that it is immoral for the simple reason that you are portraying as your own work what someone else did.  It is fraud and deceit.  That is why it is immoral.  Also, it deprives your brother of something he almost certainly would have received (assuming you could), an advance.  The work would be the same whether you or your brother took it to a publisher, and so the advance would be roughly the same.  You would essentially be cheating your brother out of money.  Now, if I take a CD that I've purchased, and uploaded it to the internet, I've not necessarily deprived anyone of any money, because a large number (perhaps even almost all) of those benefiting from my action wouldn't have paid money for it to begin with.  Or take a book for instance.  Suppose I am a publisher.  I see that there is some other publisher who has published your brother's book.  I read it.  I like it.  I decide to publish it as an e-book for 99 cents.  Your brother's book may not have been bought by any of the people who bought my e-book, because they may all have thought it was too expensive, thus depriving him of nothing.  I think the chief reason that it would be immoral (perhaps the only reason) is that you would be committing a fraud on the world by claiming you wrote it.

Can I take your analysis to mean that you acknowledge at least some limited intellectual property right subsisting in my brother's work? It seems that you do in that you admit that my action would have deprived my brother of the opportunity to profit. You seem to take issue more with the ambit of that right and, reading between the lines, the nature of the enforcement of the right.

Why is it such a problem to cheat my brother out of money? Coming back to my little theory, the answer seems to be that it divests him of the rightful fruits of his time and labour. If those fruits were not rightfully and lawfully his, he should not be able to recover a cent from me simply because I have perpetrated some deception or even fraud. Those things may well be criminal offences, but they do not create a remedy for my brother unless some right of his own has been compromised (noting, of course, that there is no right not to be deceived).

To tie the whole discussion back to Yesh's original question -- I say that the action of defrauding my brother and profiting from the fraud in such a way would be plainly immoral whether the civil authorities agreed with me or not.

I think it is also important to remember that there was a time when copyrights were not automatic, as they are today.  Many, many works that are now beloved, even a century and a half later, were originally published in serial form by magazines (or, perhaps, occasionally in book form by publishers) after promising the author an advance (and I suppose royalties, maybe) if he agreed to show no other publisher to work prior to its publication.  Yet people still continued to publish, a lot, despite no copyright protection for their work.

Are you suggesting an author's rights should only be protected by means of the law of contract? That seems rather more prone to abuse even than the current intellectual property system.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2012, 03:39:08 AM by akimori makoto »
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Offline biro

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2012, 02:24:17 PM »
Quote from: yeshuaisiam
1) By consideration of Copyright law, we are all a part of God's intellectual property.  All of our creations, originated in God's creation.  Our intelligence and thoughts all originate from our creator.   Even the creation of Evil, originated in God's creation.   Everything came from God, thus it does not seem adequate that Christian men can hold a license for "original creativity".

Well, God does hold the copyright on the Universe.  ;) But, people on this Earth have to make a living. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and unto God what is God's.  :angel:
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Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2012, 07:18:07 PM »
Akimori, I am opposed to the very idea of copyright and patent law.  That said, I would never - if I were in a place to try and do anything - attempt to push through legislation to get rid of it in one fell swoop.  I think that, in today's world, where there are countless industries (for instance, publishing, music, and film) that revolve around intellectual property laws.  Just as the system was built up over the course of many, many years, so too it would have to be eroded over the course of many, many years.  In the end, I am opposed to it and hope it one day ceases to exist (an example of an industry where it does not exist, but yet is still robust, is the fashion industry).

I concede the point that the exact length of patents and copyrights for individuals is something that should be worked on as opposed to a reason to disregard the system.  However, I do have a problem with the idea of setting an arbitrary time-limit for a corporate held copyright (one where the work was created by the corporation, as opposed to acquired by the corporation) and the problem is this: It would seem to be that, if it is property, the government should not be able to declare "You have owned your property long enough; now you must hand it over to us with no compensation."  I think the idea of a 99-year lease is a good deal different, because it is fundamentally the same as any other lease (for a specified time limit and with such conditions as both parties will agree to) and is not really any different than a six-month lease, one-year lease, or twenty-year lease.  Unless of course I'm not quite getting your point.

My objection to either idea for partnerships would be based on your belief that the idea of intellectual property is based in the time and effort taken by the creators/inventors.  If that is what the law is recognizing, why should those property rights ever be able to be vested in anyone else, in whole or in part (aside from the collection of revenues and licensing, as part of some deal whereby a party was licensed the use of rights by the copyright/patent holder) to those who put in no effort or time to create?  Now, I suppose that it might be possible for the law to - in some fashion - permit the copyright/patent of a dead creator in a partnership to be licensed to the other partner(s) or to his heir(s), until the death of the remaining partner(s).  Though I'm not sure how well that idea would stand up to someone who didn't just think of it.

I would certainly welcome a return to my philosophically based comments.

"I am not a copyright lawyer and am certainly not an American, but I suspect this is not a true statement of American intellectual property law. My understanding is that it is necessary to show that the alleged infringer actually copied the work in question. Coincidental similarity, albeit substantial similarity, does not infringe copyright. Of course, judging whether an alleged infringer actually copied the work is no easy task, but that is more of an evidentiary rather than legal problem." 
Are you speaking to the part of my comment referring to very similar pieces, or are you referring to the part of my comment about playing a copyrighted work in public or in a gathering of several people in a home?  If it is referring to the first, you're probably right.  If it is referring to the second, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (also known as ASCAP) has in fact requested that the Girl Scouts of America pay royalties on songs such as "Happy Birthday to You" that were sung at camp-outs, with no profit gained by the "performance."  The only thing that got ASCAP to back off was public backlash.

On the brother question, I suppose I do recognize a very primitive intellectual property.  Primarily, the right not to have somebody make money off of your work by claiming it is theirs, but I may have to think a bit more to further develop my position.

I am not really sure whether or not I think an author's rights should be based solely in contract law.  What I was attempting to get at there was more a refutation against the idea that people won't create things if there is no copyright law (which I have had many, many people throw in my face when talking to them about copyright law), which is a completely a-historical claim.  So my goal was really just to show that works of literature, among other things (including music), would in fact be created if the intellectual property system were to be dismantled, because they were created in times when very few things were copyrighted.

Oh, and I will also say this, even though it really doesn't fit the conversation and is more of a complaint about the growing disregard for the need to amend the US constitution instead of simply interpret into it what would almost certainly be accepted as an amendment by every state: I do not see, in any way, how photographs, audio recordings, and video recordings can possibly fall under this clause from the Constitution, that authorizes copyrights and patents "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."
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Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2012, 07:46:32 PM »
On the brother question, I suppose I do recognize a very primitive intellectual property.  Primarily, the right not to have somebody make money off of your work by claiming it is theirs, but I may have to think a bit more to further develop my position.

I'll get back to you on the rest, but this is kinda my starting point, too.

I share many (probably all) of the reservations you've expressed but keep coming back to the fundamental principle that a person should be able to profit from his/her work and time, whether or not the product of that work and time is a tangible, discrete object located in time and space or something more abstract.
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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2012, 10:20:55 PM »
Great stuff James.


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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #20 on: February 06, 2012, 10:48:45 PM »
"I want stuff for free 'cause I want it."  ::) That's the argument being made by the anti-copyrights.



« Last Edit: February 06, 2012, 10:49:15 PM by biro »
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Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2012, 12:08:11 AM »
"Homosexuality has been a popular topic, but not Satanic trances."

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Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2012, 12:14:46 AM »
"I want stuff for free 'cause I want it."  ::) That's the argument being made by the anti-copyrights.





Or it could be a free speech problem...I am currently prohibited from going outside, perhaps to a park, and saying:

"I wanna be a billionaire so freaking bad
Buy all of the things I never had
I wanna be on the cover of Forbes magazine
Smiling next to Oprah and the Queen

Oh every time I close my eyes
I see my name in shining lights yeahh
A different city every night, all right
I swear, the world better prepare
For when I'm a billionaire

Yeah I would have a show like Oprah
I would be the host of, everyday Christmas
Give Travie a wish list
I'd probably pull an Angelina and Brad Pitt
And adopt a bunch of babies that ain't never had shit
Give away a few mercedies like here lady have this
And last but not least grant somebody their last wish
It's been a couple months since I've been single so
You can call me Travie Claus minus the Ho Ho
Get it, hehe, I'd probably visit where Katrina hit
And yea sure do a lot more than me did
Yeah can't forget about me stupid
Everywhere I go Imma have my own theme music

Oh every time I close my eyes
I see my name in shining lights yeahh
A different city every night oh
I swear the world better prepare
For when I'm a billionaire
Oh oooh oh oooh for when I'm a Billionaire
Oh oooh oh oooh when I'm a Billionaire

I'll be playing basketball with the President
Dunking on his delegates
Then I'll compliment him on his political etiquette
Toss a couple milli in the air just for the heck of it
But keep the fives, twenties, tens, and Bens completely seperate
And yeah I'll be in a whole new tax bracket
We in recession but let me take a crack at it
I'll probably take whatever's left and just split it up
So everybody that I love can have a couple bucks
And not a single tummy around me would know what hungry was
Eating good sleeping soundly
I know we all have a similar dream
Go in your pocket pull out your wallet
And put it in the air and sing

I wanna be a billionaire so freaking bad
Buy all of the things I never had
Uh, I wanna be on the cover of Forbes magazine
Smiling next to Oprah and the Queen

Oh every time I close my eyes
I see my name in shining lights yeahh
A different city every night oh
I swear the world better prepare
For when I'm a billionaire
Oh oooh oh oooh for when I'm a Billionaire
Oh oooh oh oooh for when I'm a Billionaire

I wanna be a billionaire so freaking bad."

Unless, of course, I agreed to pay royalties (so, the government essentially has said: "People own the songs they create.  This means you cannot speak certain orders of words.  Unless, however, you pay an amount - that quite possibly neither you nor the person who owns those words agreed upon - of money to do so." in other words infringing on your right to utilize your vocal cords, tongue, lips, and jaws as you please and infringing on the right of the creator to prevent people from utilizing his property without his permission).
« Last Edit: February 07, 2012, 12:15:29 AM by JamesRottnek »
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Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2012, 01:46:35 PM »
The issue is not with being specific, but a generalization with our copyright law here in America.

Let's use AK's brother's book for example.

If God Created his brother, created him with intellect, provided him with food, knowledge of a subject, and the subject itself, then God essentially holds "lines of code" in the book.   This would mean that God holds the original idea, and "original copyright" to the idea.

With that said, I'm NOT against copyright, but I think that our copyright laws SHOULD recognize our creator as the originator but to recognize man as one who "compiles" the creation.   With that then it would hold legal standing.

But as the laws sit, the morality for a Christian to follow "THE LAW ON THE BOOKS" would seem invalid.

Also there are specific things that should not matter with copyright, such as food.  (As Jesus broke the loaves & multiplied the fish)

Thoughts?  Thanks & blessings!
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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2012, 03:53:43 PM »
So you also want all deeds and titles to property to say something like "The house at 242 S. Baker St. belongs to God, in trust to His servant George Jones."

EDIT: And how would it change anything for God to be officially recognized as the "real" owner, but the human being to still have all of the rights and privileges of the owner?
« Last Edit: February 07, 2012, 03:54:43 PM by JamesRottnek »
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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2012, 04:09:56 PM »
So you also want all deeds and titles to property to say something like "The house at 242 S. Baker St. belongs to God, in trust to His servant George Jones."

EDIT: And how would it change anything for God to be officially recognized as the "real" owner, but the human being to still have all of the rights and privileges of the owner?

I think a Christian understanding of such a change could lead to interesting changes in the absurd notions of "private property" which pervade our society.

Its like the one thing we clearly see God killing people over in the NT even trying to do: withhold property from the Church.

And yet how many threads on this board are there about "private propertists"? Nearly every possible underpinning of private property as we understand it is radically unChristian. Yet people love to own stuff here. We even have people flaunting their affluence as some measure of merit over others (yes I can provide links).

But over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, we hear about the "pelvic position": abortion and sex practices of members OUTSIDE the Church.

Just read the private political forum to see the embarrassing aspects of what passes for Christian notions of "property". The fact that some live in obscene affluence due to their family's history is rather insane.

Yeah, when it ain't your money and your stuff to begin with, discussions regarding of how the Christian Community (the Church) should manage ITS stewardship of property changes the discussion. Who should have what, what should be done with it, etc.

Gonna buy that new car? Talk to your Priest. (There is probably lotsa starving and homeless folks around and you can probably get by with the same old car.)

Oh wait, Priests are just there to speak to over and over again about how you spend very little of your time (sex and prayer) and not how you spend most of your time, the acquisition and "enjoyment" of property.

But let's not talk about that.
 

Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #26 on: February 07, 2012, 05:33:42 PM »
orthonorm, while I agree with the spirit of your post, I think your critique of the concept of property rises rather too high in many places.

You don't think, as a general principle, it would be immoral to deprive my brother of the fruits of his labour? You don't think a legal system should enforce his right to benefit from the fruits of his labour and remedy my wrong?

I don't think there's anything "absurd" about the concept of private property, from a purely human perspective. Of course, as Christians, we are required to transcend the very attachments that the law seeks to protect.
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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #27 on: February 07, 2012, 05:45:56 PM »
orthonorm, while I agree with the spirit of your post, I think your critique of the concept of property rises rather too high in many places.

You don't think, as a general principle, it would be immoral to deprive my brother of the fruits of his labour? You don't think a legal system should enforce his right to benefit from the fruits of his labour and remedy my wrong?

I don't think there's anything "absurd" about the concept of private property, from a purely human perspective. Of course, as Christians, we are required to transcend the very attachments that the law seeks to protect.

I think Orthonorm is really just trying to say that, since all is God's, Christians have a duty to think of recognize themselves as servants and caretakers of the property that has been entrusted to us, and to take that into account whenever we are about to spend our money.

Of course, I could be wrong; and I trust he will swiftly correct me if so.
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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #28 on: February 07, 2012, 06:40:12 PM »
I don't think there's anything "absurd" about the concept of private property, from a purely human perspective. Of course, as Christians, we are required to transcend the very attachments that the law seeks to protect.

All I know is that God killed people for keeping it, like the touchy feely NT God.

I may depart from the spirit and enter more into the letter of this discussion. But James and you already have a refined enough discussion going on.

I just find the nearly wholesale Christian appropriation of something radically foreign to both its roots and its message to be rather vulgar, especially in light of how hard Christians come down on other "all too human" weaknesses, none of which God killed people for in the Early Church, at least none which the Scriptures attest to as I can recall at the moment.

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #29 on: February 07, 2012, 06:52:40 PM »
I don't think there's anything "absurd" about the concept of private property, from a purely human perspective. Of course, as Christians, we are required to transcend the very attachments that the law seeks to protect.

All I know is that God killed people for keeping it, like the touchy feely NT God.

I may depart from the spirit and enter more into the letter of this discussion. But James and you already have a refined enough discussion going on.

I just find the nearly wholesale Christian appropriation of something radically foreign to both its roots and its message to be rather vulgar, especially in light of how hard Christians come down on other "all too human" weaknesses, none of which God killed people for in the Early Church, at least none which the Scriptures attest to as I can recall at the moment.

Orthonorm, I think you bolded the wrong part there, the emphasis should have been on the second clause and fourth clauses. God only kills people already in the Church for withholding their property.

As to whether or not God killed them for withholding property or for lying to the Church about the extent of their donations- well, St Peter himself says the money was Ananias' to control.
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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #30 on: February 07, 2012, 07:20:17 PM »
I always thought it was for lying.

Having said that, i have always found the ten percent tithe a problem when everything i have is supposed to be used to the glory of God.
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Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #31 on: February 07, 2012, 07:47:52 PM »
I always thought it was for lying.

Having said that, i have always found the ten percent tithe a problem when everything i have is supposed to be used to the glory of God.

Do you come from a tradition in which tithing is a requirement? I have always been opposed to the tithe as a moral obligation of Christians for the reason you put forward, amongst others.
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Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #32 on: February 07, 2012, 07:51:46 PM »
I just find the nearly wholesale Christian appropriation of something radically foreign to both its roots and its message to be rather vulgar, especially in light of how hard Christians come down on other "all too human" weaknesses, none of which God killed people for in the Early Church, at least none which the Scriptures attest to as I can recall at the moment.

I'm emphatically with you about everything after your first comma.

As to the concept of private property, I think it belongs more to the category of things which are necessary in this fallen world of ours. I am not, by any means, proposing that the concept is especially Christian or righteous. Rather, the concept is necessary to protect from unrighteousness.
The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #33 on: February 07, 2012, 07:52:56 PM »
I don't think there's anything "absurd" about the concept of private property, from a purely human perspective. Of course, as Christians, we are required to transcend the very attachments that the law seeks to protect.

All I know is that God killed people for keeping it, like the touchy feely NT God.

I may depart from the spirit and enter more into the letter of this discussion. But James and you already have a refined enough discussion going on.

I just find the nearly wholesale Christian appropriation of something radically foreign to both its roots and its message to be rather vulgar, especially in light of how hard Christians come down on other "all too human" weaknesses, none of which God killed people for in the Early Church, at least none which the Scriptures attest to as I can recall at the moment.

Orthonorm, I think you bolded the wrong part there, the emphasis should have been on the second clause and fourth clauses. God only kills people already in the Church for withholding their property.

As to whether or not God killed them for withholding property or for lying to the Church about the extent of their donations- well, St Peter himself says the money was Ananias' to control.

You really want to argue about why I chose to bold what I bold and what I do not?

Where you when I opened up that browser tab?
Tell me if you understand,
Who clicked on the little "+" in corner?
Who determined the font size?
The color?

OK, enough of that.

I think you might want to re-read that passage. Or please give me the gloss that clearly makes your case.

I've seen this apologetic 10^6752 times of course. Usually by people holding back part of their land.

Actually don't.

We'll take your soft approach. Then God only killed people for lying about not giving all their money to the Church and nothing else as attested to in Scripture in the NT. I have a feeling people were up to other shenanigans including lying about them, and yet, we get just these two killings by God.

I think the point still stands.

Offline FountainPen

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #34 on: February 07, 2012, 07:58:42 PM »
I always thought it was for lying.

Having said that, i have always found the ten percent tithe a problem when everything i have is supposed to be used to the glory of God.

Do you come from a tradition in which tithing is a requirement? I have always been opposed to the tithe as a moral obligation of Christians for the reason you put forward, amongst others.

Yeah. Tithing your 10% (some net, some gross) and then you feel good about spending the rest on whatever junk you like because the rest is "yours".

Theologically it never made sense to me and morally it doesn't either. I did tithe to the church for a while even though i didn't agree with it because we were under pressure to submit to our leaders and also it was subtly taught that you would not be blessed if you "held back" from God what was due.

I did it out of submission, no other reason.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #35 on: February 07, 2012, 08:02:09 PM »
Many Orthodox parishes would do well if their parishioners tithed. We might not have the constant precipice of financial dissolution around, except for those parishes that raffle cars, sling gyros (fasting period be damned), and stuff like that to get that new iconostasis everyone wants so badly.

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #36 on: February 07, 2012, 08:02:38 PM »
I always thought it was for lying.

Having said that, i have always found the ten percent tithe a problem when everything i have is supposed to be used to the glory of God.

Do you come from a tradition in which tithing is a requirement? I have always been opposed to the tithe as a moral obligation of Christians for the reason you put forward, amongst others.

Yeah. Tithing your 10% (some net, some gross) and then you feel good about spending the rest on whatever junk you like because the rest is "yours".

Theologically it never made sense to me and morally it doesn't either. I did tithe to the church for a while even though i didn't agree with it because we were under pressure to submit to our leaders and also it was subtly taught that you would not be blessed if you "held back" from God what was due.

I did it out of submission, no other reason.

Good for you.

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #37 on: February 07, 2012, 08:24:22 PM »
I always thought it was for lying.

Having said that, i have always found the ten percent tithe a problem when everything i have is supposed to be used to the glory of God.

If I remember correctly, I think the verse in question said to give "the tithe (tenth) of what you produce." In ancient times, lots of people worked in farming, fishing and things like that, so 'what you produce' meant to give apples or beef or whatever you harvested. (So I have read.) This was so the local clergy did not have to spend their own time gathering these things and could eat. For a long time, people lived by bartering, and it wasn't until later that the system of mostly using cash would come in.

These days, I think it's acceptable for a person to give what they can. If you can't give ten percent, they are not going to shake out your wallet and tell you to leave. Someday, when I am earning more, I'd like to be able to give more. Right now, I just give a little, that's what I have.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #38 on: February 07, 2012, 08:31:26 PM »
Right now, I just give a little, that's what I have.

Oh Biro, what you give is beyond measure!

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #39 on: February 07, 2012, 09:14:11 PM »
I don't think there's anything "absurd" about the concept of private property, from a purely human perspective. Of course, as Christians, we are required to transcend the very attachments that the law seeks to protect.

All I know is that God killed people for keeping it, like the touchy feely NT God.

I may depart from the spirit and enter more into the letter of this discussion. But James and you already have a refined enough discussion going on.

I just find the nearly wholesale Christian appropriation of something radically foreign to both its roots and its message to be rather vulgar, especially in light of how hard Christians come down on other "all too human" weaknesses, none of which God killed people for in the Early Church, at least none which the Scriptures attest to as I can recall at the moment.

Orthonorm, I think you bolded the wrong part there, the emphasis should have been on the second clause and fourth clauses. God only kills people already in the Church for withholding their property.

As to whether or not God killed them for withholding property or for lying to the Church about the extent of their donations- well, St Peter himself says the money was Ananias' to control.

You really want to argue about why I chose to bold what I bold and what I do not?

Where you when I opened up that browser tab?
Tell me if you understand,
Who clicked on the little "+" in corner?
Who determined the font size?
The color?
I forget, orthonormo locuto est! I beg your pardon, bold what you wanna bold, oh great one. (Do you answer me from the tornado on your end of the screen?)


Quote
OK, enough of that.

I think you might want to re-read that passage. Or please give me the gloss that clearly makes your case.

I've seen this apologetic 10^6752 times of course. Usually by people holding back part of their land.

I've got no land to hold back. I do have St John Chrystostom backing my interpretation, though he would also argue that by stating that he'd donated all the proceeds from the property sale Ananias was also appropriating that which had become sacred (by stating it had been set aside). More on this in a second.

Quote
Actually don't.
What would be the fun in that?

Quote
We'll take your soft approach. Then God only killed people for lying about not giving all their money to the Church and nothing else as attested to in Scripture in the NT. I have a feeling people were up to other shenanigans including lying about them, and yet, we get just these two killings by God.

I think the point still stands.
Well, if we're talking about the Church, then yes, these are the only two killings. There are one or two others outside of the Church- Herod for one. However, as we are neither Marcionists nor Dispensationalists, we cannot limit ourselves just to the NT (though if we do, well, this case is the only case of shenanigans that are recorded in narrative format as far as in the Church is concerned. Heresies, which separate one from the Church, and the immoral Corinthian, who not only didn't lie about what he was doing, but bragged about it, are quite different stories). Following St John Chrysostom's interpretation, by having lied about donating the entirety of the proceeds, the part they kept was sacred, which according to St John makes them accountable for a similar sin to Uzzah who touched the ark, and (if I might add to St John's example, though it is not quite so sudden as Ananias and Saphira or Uzzah, but almost as dramatic) King Belshazzar who partied hearty with the temple dishes.

It should also be noted the St John Chrysostom is hardly one of the big promoters of the "right" to private property, either.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2012, 09:17:12 PM by FormerReformer »
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #40 on: February 07, 2012, 09:21:13 PM »
Former, if there only were more like you!

Thank you.

Offline FountainPen

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #41 on: February 08, 2012, 08:04:46 AM »
We often end up becoming slaves to what we own. It's not like it brings us the liberty we imagine.
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Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #42 on: February 10, 2012, 10:56:02 PM »
So you also want all deeds and titles to property to say something like "The house at 242 S. Baker St. belongs to God, in trust to His servant George Jones."

EDIT: And how would it change anything for God to be officially recognized as the "real" owner, but the human being to still have all of the rights and privileges of the owner?

Yes, that would be wonderful to see a warranty deed with God as the owner and me as the servant.  :)

However, its different from intellectual copyright, as a copyright deals with the duplication of something.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #43 on: February 11, 2012, 02:04:32 AM »
We often end up becoming slaves to what we own. It's not like it brings us the liberty we imagine.

Dude, you don't own things. They own you . . .

Offline FountainPen

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Re: Copyrights, Morality, & Christianity
« Reply #44 on: February 11, 2012, 08:47:26 AM »
We often end up becoming slaves to what we own. It's not like it brings us the liberty we imagine.

Dude, you don't own things. They own you . . .

"Dude", that would make a good SF movie but legally, i think you'd be committed.
None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try. Mark Twain