You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free
Does Copyright Infringement Exist Among the Believers of Christ?
[Acknowledgement to the people who produced these images)
Ž IF YOU FIND MY BOOKS FOR SALE, PLEASE NOTE THAT THEY ARE FRAUDULENTLY SOLD BY PEOPLE WHO EXPLOIT MY WORK FOR PERSONAL GAIN
I am sure that all people have committed plagiarism in some form or another during the course of their lives. Some without realizing the seriousness of it, and others with the intention to commit bootlegging. By God’s grace, we can all ask forgiveness for such crimes and live in repentance, so that theft does not become a dirty, destructive habit. So, can it be that believers, (because they are working with the Word of God, and the knowledge and gifts, which the Holy Spirit had entrusted to them as the body of Christ,) can believe they have the right to claim and distribute the work of others in their own names and to their own benefit as they please? Besides the fact that many untested false prophesies and teachings are disseminated in 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 are entitled to use the posts and other work of people as they please; despite the fact that it is under copyright law. What I am talking about in this article, is taking other people’s writings, etcetera, not only from their Facebook posts but also from their books and websites, which are under copyright, to copy and paste and present it as their own words and work, and even sell other people’s work as their own.
One can expect people, who live without Jesus, to violate copyrights for the love of popularity and money. But it is really shocking to come across Facebook pages and websites, to find one’s own words directly talking back at you while they are presented as that person’s own words. Such plagiarism is also done with the words in books and commentaries, etcetera. In such cases, there is not the slightest attempt to show with the use of quotation marks that this is the work of another person, or to give the person credit for the work in any way.
I published many novels, series in magazines, short stories, television series, and screenplays before I came to the Lord and for some time afterward. In this regard, I wrote the following to a believer who unscrupulously practices plagiarism, “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. For years before this, I sold my work to publishers and television to earn a living. But after that, by God’s grace, I could give thousands of my books away for free to place in libraries, etcetera, although, right in the beginning, for a short while, I still thought it is right to sell the books to make more books. However, that soon ended when the Holy Spirit convinced me that He will always supply all my needs to do His ‘work’ for free. Also, I am now convinced that money and the Gospel do not mix. “Freely you have received, freely give,” Jesus commanded.
When I confronted someone because she directly copied and pasted my work onto her Facebook page and presented it as her own, she accused me of doing the same because, through the years, I also had to learn from other people. I answered, “It is a [great] privilege to be a writer in the Kingdom of Jesus. And yes, we all learn from one another. So, I also use the research of others. I consult other people and respect Scripturally, healthy opinions. When I do research on a particular subject, I read different versions of the Bible, different commentaries, different perspectives, and mostly, I pray and pray for the teaching, revelation, and the correct application of God’s Word. Thus, I also use the teaching, ideas, words, etcetera of other people. If it weren’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 of another’s work and directly present it as one’s own, like that guy did, [the one who literally stalked me,] is plagiarism: word-theft. If you read through my work, you will see how many times I quote other people in inverted commas. And as far as possible, (as one cannot always remember who the author or speaker was,) I give them credit by naming them. Morally, this is not just good writing; it also complies with the laws that govern authors.”
Because I give everything I do in the Lord for free, people may not disrespect me by abusing the work that I do in the body of Christ to glorify Jesus. No one has the right to deliberately and unethical take other people’s work and publish it directly as their own, or to sell a writer’s books without the consent of the author. However, through the years, people came to tell me that my novels are being sold in bookshops and online – and even the book Relationship Versus Religion is sold under my name as it is, and also in a different, strange cover. I tried to follow up on some of the distributors, but to no avail. So, I gave the matter 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.
When other authors 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.
The main reason I do this article, is because unscrupulous copyright infringement, (seeing that my books are sold,) confuses people to think I am dishonest and greedy by selling the books while lying to them. I state in the e-books and on the websites, ©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, OR MISUSED IN ANY WAY.
So, no one has an excuse to sell my work or to abuse my love for God and the body of Christ in any way. Jesus warned that 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 honesty, diligence, and personal 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 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 and deceive us. And once we are deceived, it is likely that we will repeat that deception and also deceive someone else. Hence, Proverbs 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 Jeremiah 23:30-32, “I am against the prophets [teachers, etcetera,] that steal My words everyone from his neighbor... [This is not repeating truths from the Bible, other truths we have all learnt, researched, etcetera, but deliberate plagiarism.] I Am [also] against those who use their own tongues and say, ‘He says.’ Behold, I am against those who prophesy [and also carelessly disseminate 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 recklessness. Yet, I did not send them or command them [to directly spread the truth or lies of others as their own words.] Therefore, they shall not profit the people at all…”