You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free
Does Copyright Infringement Exist Among the Believers of Christ?
[With acknowledgement to the people who produced these images)
Through the years, many people came to tell me that my novels, (I published many novels series and short stories before I came to the Lord,) are being sold online – and even the book Relationship Versus Religion is sold under my name as it is, and also in a different, false cover. I tried to follow up on some of the distributors, but to no avail. So, I gave it to Jesus, because whether God’s Work is distributed for free as I do, or whether it is sold by money-making conmen, the Word of God is being spread throughout the whole world.
However, in the light of unscrupulous copyright infringement, it confuses some people to think I am dishonest and greedy by selling the books while lying to them. I state, “© COPYRIGHT NOW UNBANNED PUBLICATIONS. NONE OF THESE BOOKS, DISCUSSIONS, AND ARTICLES ARE FOR SALE, YET THE CONTENT AND CONTEXT MUST NOT BE ALTERED, SOLD OR USED IN MATERIAL THAT IS SOLD, CLAIMED OR PREACHED AS PERSONAL PROPERTY AND REVELATION, DISTRIBUTED FOR PERSONAL GAIN, OR MISUSED IN ANY WAY. Jesus commanded in Mt. 10:5-8, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”
When other writers complained to me about the same thing, I told them about the complications of copyright violations and how I see this. But now, this problem is spreading out of control with the use of social media and nearly every other person teaching and preaching the Word of God to everyone else.
Please don’t get me wrong. We all “share” posts, photos and images on Facebook and on our websites, and download images and photos from Google. What I am talking about in this article, is taking other people’s writings, not only from their Facebook posts but also from their websites, which are under copyright, to copy and paste, presenting it as our own words and work.
Jesus warned we must be careful how we hear. “Nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. For whoever has, [through his own honesty, diligence, and grateful responsibility,] to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him,” (Lu. 8:17-18.)
We can never take responsibility for the actions of other people, yet, we must also be careful how we read and understand. Dishonesty in regard to copyright is theft. And if a person can steal unrepentantly, that person can also lie to us to deceive us. And once we are deceived, it is very likely that we will repeat that deception and also deceive someone else. Hence, Prov. 29:14 warns, “Whoever is a partner with a thief hates his own life; he swears to tell the truth, but reveals nothing.”
It seems everyone has forgotten that God declared in Jer. 23:3032, “I am against the prophets [teachers, etc.,] that steal My words everyone from his neighbor... [And I am] against those who use their own tongues and say, “He says.” Behold, I am against those who prophesy [and also carelessly distribute false teachings and prophecies, because they simply take what false prophets and teachers have said, taught, and written, and without even reading it or testing it against Scriptural truth, present it as their own words,] because My people err by their lies and by their recklessness. Yet, I did not send them or command them [to spread either the truth or lies of others as their own words,] therefore they shall not profit the people at all…”
Can it be that we, (because Christians are working with the Word of God and the knowledge and gifts that the Holy Spirit had entrusted to us as the body of Christ,) may claim and distribute the work of others in our own names and to our own benefit as we please? Besides the fact that many untested false prophesies and teachings are disseminated this way, it seems that public forums such as Facebook opened a Pandora’s Box on copyright violations. By simply clicking the “Share” button, people think they may present and claim even the words of others as they please, despite the fact that are under copyright.
One can expect people, who live without Jesus, to violate copyrights for the love of money. But it really shocks to me to come across other Christian Facebook pages and websites, to find my own words directly talking back at me while presented as that person’s own words – the words of commentaries, etcetera, as well. In such cases, there is not the slightest attempt to show with the use of quotation marks that it is the words of another person, or to give me or anyone else credit for our work in any way.
On this subject, I wrote the following to someone, “Yes, I give everything for free and everything for the glory of God and the edification of the body of Christ, and in the end, God judges all things and He Alone gets all the glory. I sold all my work for television and the Afrikaans books because they were fiction. Novels – love stories, short stories for magazines, etc, which I published while I was still in the world. But in the Lord, by His grace, I could give thousands of my books away for free to place in libraries, etc., although, right in the beginning, for a short while, I still thought that it is right to sell the books to make more books, but that soon ended when the Holy Spirit convinced me that He will always supply all my needs to live financially and do His ‘work.’ Also, money and the Gospel don’t mix. “Freely we have received, freely give,” Jesus commanded.
“…It is a [great] privilege to be a writer in the Kingdom of Jesus. We all learn from one another. I use the research of others. I consult other people and respect spiritually healthy opinions. When I do research on a subject such as deliverance, I read different versions of the Bible, different commentaries, [different perspectives,] and mostly, I pray and pray for the teaching and revelation of the Holy Spirit. Thus, I also use the teaching, ideas, words, etc. of other people. If it wasn’t for other writers, commentators, and researchers, I would have known very little about anything – and I think we can all say ‘amen’ to that. I build on the research of others like others do with my work. No problem. Glory to God.
“But to take whole portions [or even small portions] of another’s work and present it as one’s own, like that guy did, [the one who literally stalked me,] is plagiarism: theft. If you read through my work, you will see how many times I quote other people, but always in quotation marks and as far as possible, I give them credit by naming them. Morally, this is not only good writing; it also complies with the laws that govern authors.
“It doesn’t mean that because everything I do in the Lord is for free, that we should not respect one another as people by respecting the work that we do in Christ.”