The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the category “Copyright”

How Now Shall We Blog?

In a very refreshing and convicting piece by Ed Eubanks Jr. at ByFaithOnline, he walks through the ethics of blogging. He criticizes his own denomination (PCA) for being the genesis of many of these blogging wars. Eubanks observes that PCA pastors have through blogging caused great division and presbyterial chaos through their uncharitable posts.

In response, he considers Schaeffer’s question How Now Shall We Then Live and applies to it to the Christian blogging community. And then sets a Scriptural standard that is to be applied not only in our personal face-to-face encounters, but also in our faceless interactions on-line:

What should be the tone and approach of our blog posts and Twitter comments? Paul writes, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3). Do our blog posts demonstrate humility and gentleness? Are they a clear exercise of patience and bearing with one another in love? Are they constructed in such a way as to maintain unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace?

My guess is many bloggers who followed this text– as it should be followed– would have to do a general clean-up of their blogs today. It is not that there is no room for healthy debate and discussion, but the tone of these debates and discussions is what is at stake.

As someone who has blogged for over a decade, I have done my share of damage and pugilistic posts. I have repented of them and I have erased many posts (the delete option is there for a reason). I have a process that I go through on my longer posts where I check not only grammar, but also tone. Would that wordpress provided that feature!

As we enter into the brightness of the Easter Season, we need to be reminded in this Lenten Season that our words are powerful ways of communicating who we are. Since the possibility of misunderstanding abounds, we need to be even more careful in how we write. The 9th commandments is not just for personal affairs, it is comprehensive for all affairs. We are what we write, and we write what we are.

Uri Brito is a blogging veteran and a lover of charitable discourse.

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Is illegally downloading music, etc. really stealing?

This is a fascinating piece by Stuart Green, who concludes:

So what are the lessons in all this? For starters, we should stop trying to shoehorn the 21st-century problem of illegal downloading into a moral and legal regime that was developed with a pre- or mid-20th-century economy in mind. Second, we should recognize that the criminal law is least effective — and least legitimate — when it is at odds with widely held moral intuitions.

Illegal downloading is, of course, a real problem. People who work hard to produce creative works are entitled to enjoy legal protection to reap the benefits of their labors. And if others want to enjoy those creative works, it’s reasonable to make them pay for the privilege. But framing illegal downloading as a form of stealing doesn’t, and probably never will, work. We would do better to consider a range of legal concepts that fit the problem more appropriately: concepts like unauthorized use, trespass, conversion and misappropriation.

This is not merely a question of nomenclature. The label we apply to criminal acts matters crucially in terms of how we conceive of and stigmatize them. What we choose to call a given type of crime ultimately determines how it’s formulated and classified and, perhaps most important, how it will be punished. Treating different forms of property deprivation as different crimes may seem untidy, but that is the nature of criminal law.

For related work:

Stephen Kinsella’s Against Intellectual Property and John Frame’s Copyright’s and Copying.

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