- Was machine generated.
- Has not been checked for errors.
- May not be entirely accurate.
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Welcome to the Stone Choir Podcast. I am Corey J. Moller.
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And I'm Woe.
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Before we get into today's episode proper, just a few housekeeping matters.
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First, the feedback form we mentioned in the last episode, we have already received some feedback.
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We've added some suggestions to our list of future topics. Thank you for the feedback so far.
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For anyone else who has feedback, please visit stone-quire.com slash feedback.
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Very simple form. Fill it out, send it. We will take a look at it.
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Additionally, on the website, you can also look for the Telegram channel.
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You can send us feedback that way or ask a question if you would prefer to get a faster answer.
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The feedback form does not currently include a way for you to include an email address.
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Maybe I'll add that, make it optional.
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But if you have a question and want an answer, the Telegram channel is probably the fastest way to get that.
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And then third and last for the housekeeping matters, we would just ask that you this a prayer request.
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We would ask that you pray for us if you remember on Tuesday morning since we record on Tuesdays or whenever during the week.
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The time certainly does not matter for God.
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Just that our audio equipment would continue to function and that the gremlins would be kept at bay.
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We haven't had any significant issues recently.
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We've seemingly managed to get over that hump.
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But every time we turn everything on, it actually works. It's a pleasant surprise.
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So anyway, that is the end of the housekeeping matters for now.
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So on to the actual episode.
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In this episode, we will be discussing the issue of copyright and intellectual property from a Christian perspective.
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And so what we are advocating is that there needs to be a return to Christians acting as Christians even in the marketplace in the public square.
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Whatever the purpose of copyright may have originally been and we will get into that in this episode, it has certainly not panned out.
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It has become something entirely other and it is no longer beneficial to the church if it ever in fact was beneficial to the church.
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And so the current copyright regime as it exists is something that we as Christians have inherited from the culture that comes with certain presumptions.
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Those are imported into the church along with the ideas of copyright and other attendant things and they are actively harmful.
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And so essentially our conclusion and we're not going to bury the lead that is not really our style that's not the purpose.
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Our conclusion is that copyright is harmful to the church and that materials should be made available freely for all.
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Now this is not to say that authors, translators, etc. should not be compensated for their time and their efforts.
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It is to say that the current regime is not workable and is in fact wicked.
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It is possible both to compensate those who create the material and simultaneously not hinder the spread of the gospel.
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That as Christians should be our goal.
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Today on Stone Quair we are going to be talking about paywalling God.
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Usually we don't make up the title until after we're done but I think that's what we're going to go with today.
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I think everybody knows what a paywall is.
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Paywall is what you see on a website where you go and you click three articles and then it says you need to log in if you want to read more.
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And in order to log in you have to be paying the money.
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So there's content there, it's already written, it's done, it's available but not to you unless you give them money.
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And so paywalling on the internet is something because the internet is fundamentally free.
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If something is online it doesn't cost anything for you to get to it inherently.
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And so a paywall is an artificial barrier of cost in order to monetize your attention so you have to pay to read the thing.
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We're going to get to the impact of the internet had in a little bit but first I want to just begin by briefly recapping the history of publishing itself.
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As we talked about three episodes ago and the clarity of scripture.
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Before Bibles were being mass produced by Gutenberg they were really inaccessible.
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There was very little of theology that was available outside of monasteries or the academia.
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But once mass production of books became a thing that radically changed.
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So just to briefly recap, we began with scrolls, long parchment rolls like you had in the Old Testament.
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And by the time we get to the New Testament paper papyrus had been coming from Egypt and so the Greeks began to write more and more stuff on papyrus because it was much cheaper and easier to use in some ways.
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Not long after that the shift came from scrolls to codices which are basically the very first books.
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You have a binding with a bunch of leaves of paper or papyrus that may have writing on both sides may not and they're bound together with a spine.
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If you looked at the very first codices it basically looks like a book.
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So those were still all handmade so they were incredibly expensive because you have the expertise of the scribes.
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You have the expertise of those making either the parchment or the papyrus.
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And so every time a new book was made it basically cost as much as the first book being made.
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And there was a gradual change technologically by the 13th century we had paper being produced in large quantities in Europe.
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It had been produced in the Middle East and in Asia for various purposes but it finally began being used for printed material.
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So that reduced at least the cost of goods because by the 13th century the paper was about nearly an order of magnitude cheaper than the papyrus that it was replacing.
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So that meant the books could get gradually less expensive but they were still handmade they were still very rare relatively.
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When Gutenberg came along and put together a movable type and the press suddenly mass production of books and printed material pamphlets and things was really possible for the first time in history at relatively low cost.
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And so one of the first things we want to talk about in this episode just very briefly is the economic concept of marginal cost that is how much does it cost to make the last copy of a thing.
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So when you have something like a codex or a scroll the cost of making another one of those is basically the same as cost cost to make the first one because you have to go to gray legs you have very expensive materials.
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There's no economy of scale there.
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The only thing that doesn't have to be done twice is the original authorship so once it's given either by God through the authors in the case of the Old New Testament or some other source of writing duplicating cost basically as much as making the first one.
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And so the marginal cost of making another copy switches from where every copy is basically a prototype everyone is a one off to the point where when you make you know today if you want to print t-shirts you can have a custom t-shirt made in the startup cost for getting a t-shirt made is where most of the money goes for a small run.
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You know they might charge you 50 bucks and set up and maybe more if they have to do some sort of something special.
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And then they on their end they have set up costs just based on the complexity of moving their machinery over to produce your item instead of someone else's.
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So you know maybe you want 30 t-shirts cost it's going to you know it's going to cost you say 15 bucks a piece if you want a hundred t-shirts printed it might only cost you 10.
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If you want 500 t-shirts printed it might only cost you six or seven bucks for exactly the same t-shirt and that's because the economies of scale because doing the very first one with all the setup is very expensive you don't advertise those costs across a large run.
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So what Gutenberg changed was the ability to make multiple copies a whole lot cheaper than it took to make the very first one.
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And when that change occurred if fundamentally altered civilization really amidst the reason everyone knows that it named Gutenberg because suddenly people began mass producing not only important stuff like you know Luther's Bible for example but much less important things like just pamphlets where people had ideas.
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They would you know bang a few pages out and it didn't cost much to go to the press and have it reproduced for you.
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And so around in this period was the first time that folks began to have the inkling that the desire for something like what we today call copyright.
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And so this were the law comes into this and we want to talk for a few minutes about how that came about and how it differs from some of the other laws that we have in our lives.
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So when it comes to copyright law we really get the beginnings of copyright law in England in the 1600s.
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You have the first act would be the licensing of the press act of 1662 and really there's some irony here because whatever copyright is today whatever it has become.
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That original act was in large part an attempt to deal with lascivious material and other undesirable things that were being produced and distributed.
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And so the goal of that act was you basically needed a stamp and of course we can get into the stamp act in the US it's sort of tangentially related.
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But you needed proof that you were permitted to publish this thing.
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And so the goal was censorship in the positive sense here of course because they were attempting to get rid of material you did not want distributed.
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However, copyright very quickly became something entirely different it became a way for it was a way for authors to assert their rights in their work.
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Now that may initially sound like it is a good thing but it very quickly becomes something a very different animal.
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And so the first really international copyright law would be the Baron Convention in 1886 the US incidentally did not join that until 1989 took us a long time to decide we wanted to be part of that scheme.
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But if you're looking at the origins of copyright law we'll look at the US because obviously most listeners of this podcast would be US would be Americans and so that's what will be relevant.
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Very early on we have the copyright act of 1719 that's been amended a number of times most recently the major overhaul would be 1976 copyright act.
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And so what that provides for is a work is protected for the life of the author plus 70 years or if it is a work for higher or a work of someone who is anonymous or pseudonymous then it is the shorter of publication plus 95 or 120 years from creation.
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Now we could get into the fact that interestingly it used to be 75 or 100 it was bumped 20 years by the study bono act otherwise known as the Mickey Mouse protection act for reasons that I would hope would be obvious large corporations have played quite a role in pushing for copyright because they have been the ones who have largely benefited from this and in fact as things have gone on authors have benefited less and less.
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And those who have actually owned the printing presses have benefited more and more so it's gone into corporate coffers instead of the pockets of the actual authors.
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It's worth pointing out that that's that's wildly longer than what Congress originally did in 1790.
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The first act that they passed was 14 years for 28 depending on something similar.
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Yeah. So even those those numbers that today we take for granted and you know we have to do a lot of work in our lives and in the church in particular which is what this episode is about to work around them.
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But the notice the notion that with someone writes something in your lifetime it will literally never be available to anyone without paying that person is a modern novelty really almost within our lifetimes it's it's it's bizarre and it's not we assume because it's what we inherited.
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Where we are stuck with that's just the way it is but it is not natural and I think that's the key point about this whole thing is that it's not natural law it's a it's an artificial construct that was intended originally for a desirable purpose but it didn't necessarily live up to that promise.
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Malam Prohibitum versus Malam and say and may as well just address that now a Malam in say is a wrong because it is wrong in itself so murder is a Malam in say a Malam Prohibitum is a wrong that is wrong because it is prohibited thankfully this Latin is very straightforward basically the same word.
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An example of a Malam Prohibitum usually the one used is a parking violation is it wrong or evil in itself to park where the farmers market is going to be in an hour and not move your car no it makes you a bit of a dick you shouldn't do that but it is not wrong or evil in itself murder is and so copyright law is dealing one hundred percent.
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With Malam Prohibitum it is not dealing with things that are evil in themselves it is dealing with things that are wrong because they are prohibited.
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Now there are those who will bring up the idea of theft and we will get into that more we're not dealing with theft here I am not stealing from you if I have a copy of your novel.
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And we can get into of course the the workman is worth his wages but if you actually pay attention to that that verse and related verses what is it saying it's saying those who hire the workman are supposed to pay the workman so yes if you enjoy or find value in the content being produced by someone you should probably kick a few dollars that person's way that's that is entirely reasonable the copyright system as it has grown up and been designed.
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It is designed does not accomplish that and we can look at historical concrete example as I said in England you have the 1662 act and then you have various other conventions there's the Statute of Anne 1710 is really the first sort of modern copyright act in England that's our 1790 was based on the 1710.
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Now here what happened with academia and authors in England in the UK versus what happened in Germany Germany did not have for a number of reasons a copyright act the earliest in Germany was 1837 in Prussia and of course that couldn't be enforced in Germany until 1871 because that's when Germany became unified.
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What was the consequence what happened because of that in England versus Germany in Germany in 1843 these were the numbers that I could find for a specific year about 14,000 publications went to press in Germany in 1843.
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Bear in mind Germany at this time was poorer more fractured less united than England England wealthier more united had one thousand more than an order of magnitude different and not only that the compensation that the German authors would have received would have been six months to a year of their salary many of the authors of course would have been academics they had the education and the time to write.
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Whereas in England it would have been one tenth.
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So you have to think of the difference in the kind of quality and not just the quality of the works being produced the sort of quality of life you're going to have and I have a quote here that I just want to read to give a general color flavor to this this is from Walter Bassant who was the founder and chairman of the society of authors in England.
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This is him describing being a writer in England in the 1800s there is a lifelong penure in it starvation suicide a debtors prison hard and grinding work for miserable pay a cruel taskmaster work done to order paid for by the yard as for the wish for life among books these unfortunate poets could not afford to buy books as for freedom quiet ease they never had any of it.
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Even the joy of composition which one would think could not be taken from them they could never enjoy because they wrote to order and what they were told to write they were paid servants they lived in a Garrett they never rose out of poverty and misery they were buried in a popper's corner.
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Keep in mind this is a gentleman who was an author founded and represented chaired a society of authors living about just shy of 200 years after the first copyright act in England now compare that with what I just told you about how much money was being made by authors in Germany you can see very clearly that even early on relatively early on.
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The supposed good of the copyright laws the copyright regime was not actually coming to pass authors were not benefiting from it.
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The publishers were in exactly just in just a highlight explicitly those German authors were making an order of magnitude more money for printing for publishing and writing books.
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They could be freely copied without any compensation to them yes they could be what we would call to the ripped off for what they produced in that they were making ten times more or greater than the men who were so called protected by copyright.
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So as you said there was no actual protection for the author which was how it was sold and I think one of the things that is missed when we look at it American history a US history is that the United States started nearly 1600s it didn't start in the late 1700s and most of the people who were in charge in the late 1700s many of their ancestors have been here 150 years.
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But a lot of the changes that were occurring on the continent post enlightenment and to be clear America while many of the things that were done in the Constitution were based on the enlightenment the colonies were pre enlightenment so all of those ideas and things like copyright had to be imported by foreigners it was not Americans on US on colonial soil who came up with these things these were ideas that were novel will be experimented within Europe and then being brought here.
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And the guys who ended up winning the constitutional convention and overthrowing the articles of Confederation liked a lot of that stuff and so they were experimenting with these new ideas I don't think that they necessarily had ill intent when they adopted it I think that they thought it was novel and they're trying to solve a problem.
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But in the spirit of science if you try an experiment and it doesn't achieve the desired result that's a successful experiment but only in a sense it is succeeded in proving that your thesis was wrong and unfortunately laws don't work that way there's no expiration date on a typical law so when we adopted copyright it just was stuck they just sat there like a barnacle and people got used to it and just assumed well it must be doing what they intended for it to do.
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And as you've laid out clearly that was never the case and there's there was a clear A B experiment in different European countries were intellectual and literal literacy levels may have been similar but the output was decidedly not and one of the key dividing factors was that the English were prohibited and the Americans were prohibited and the Germans were permitted to really reproduce any idea with or without attribution you take it you hear it you see it you copy it it's yours you can do it.
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You can do what you want with it and today we call that theft but that was what caused an explosion of intellectual creativity virtually unparalleled in Western history.
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The Reformation quite simply would not have been possible if Germany had had an English style regime for copyright because the education level of the middle to upper class in Germany was directly the result of the lack of a copyright regime
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because all these materials could be reproduced and disseminated far and wide.
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For instance, let's say even if you were living in Prussia where they had a copyright regime literally all you had to do was cross the border and you could do whatever you wanted with regard because there was no copyright over there.
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And so the ideas of the Reformation were able to spread because you had one the ability to print them, two the right or at least the permission to distribute them and three people to read them.
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That did not exist really anywhere else in the world so even in England it took quite a while for similar ideas to the Reformation to gain any real traction.
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And even then it was largely political but what we're really dealing with here is the foundations of capitalism because that's what you had starting in England and the US at this time.
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And so along with that comes the commodification of knowledge information things like that which is a totally foreign way of looking at things to the medieval and earlier mindset because those living in earlier times would have seen knowledge and information these things they saw them as a product of the whole a product of the nation of the society.
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It wasn't seen just as the product of one person's mind that he could claim exclusively as his own and do with his he pleased because there was more of a communitarian outlook.
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Yeah, the term intellectual property is an oxymoron it's an absurdity on its face if if I have an idea which is what this podcast is about your ideas and my ideas that we're sharing with people we don't have a paywall will never have a paywall.
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There's no paywall here and it's not there's no commercial liability to what we do it's that we believe that what we are saying may have some value to other people and that's not putting a price tag on it that's saying that if you think that anything that we say has any value we want you to hear it and if you agree that's your idea you don't need to credit us if you think the same thing that we think about anything that's your idea.
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It's in your mind there's no transfer of property there it's it's a sharing of ideas and so this regime that has emerged in the west in the last two centuries with the idea that an idea itself can be property.
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I will do a future episode where we look at the ten commandments and how they treat property because the whole thing the entire second table is about property.
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It's about real property which is real estate land and it's about chattels it's about the things you own in your household intellectual property is illegal fiction it is not it's not an actual thing it's there's we we've been raised in a society where we just assume that will like you said you know the the workers do his wages what's funny is that.
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The reading that most people apply to that today is Keynesianism they want to take Keynes in the labor theory of value and try to put it back into scripture which is comical on so many levels it's that deserves an episode it's so evil like it's just insane but.
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When you hire someone you owe them you should pay them what you agreed to to fact that someone worked really hard on something doesn't make the thing that they worked really hard on worth anything.
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You know Corey you and I spend you know a number of hours a week preparing for this we spend a bunch of money on equipment and set up does that make the podcast worth anything no that's those are sunk costs that is as a cost that we put into the thing in our case never expecting to receive anything will never receive anything for because even if you know again this is never this is not commercially viable but even if it were as a matter of principle we want.
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We think that these are ideas were spreading and I think that's what's really funny is that when when Ted talks came along all that stuff is free all that content is free now they think they charge you to lay actually physically attend because they're great networking events but the videos in the contents that are produced in Ted talks with the tagline is ideas worth spreading it's all free to anyone in the world.
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Copyright is the opposite of copyright is the idea of saying you have an idea that's worth locking up that's worth keeping in a box until someone hands you money and then you can dole it out to them piecemeal.
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And the reason we're talking about this today is that this has profound theological import because there are arguments to be made about the copyright regime in general obviously we both think it's illegitimate but the particular case that's so vitally important for us as a church.
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Particularly with the internet today is whether we should continue doing these things as we've always done them and so the reason I mentioned marginal cost upfront is that when the internet came about the marginal cost of reproducing an idea digitally is literally zero it's it's there's no cost when when you say you give someone a file you're not giving them a file you're making a copy of a file and then they have it you have the file and now they have the file.
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There are two files so no property exchanged hands because that would property is inherently finite and it's inherently material there's no such thing as is imaginary property I mean that's that's the basis of things like meta and some of the other VR schemes where they want people to pay for virtual property it's just a cash grab it's it's gross and it's capitalist and it's certainly has no place in theology.
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So what happened in the church is that we went from scrolls to codices to books to mass produced books to a publishing industry and we're going to talk a little bit about because we're both Missouri Senate we're going to talk about the Missouri Senate's own captive arm concordia publishing house or CPH but this isn't about us this isn't about Lutherans and it's not about CPH every larger denomination has similar setups or they work with us.
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There's others who are doing this work for them and because we're all in the Western context we all have the same idea the idea of intellectual property of if an author author writes something you got to pay him if you want to access to it and that has to happen first you don't get the thing until you pay for it and the notion of intellectual property theft you know as quarry as you mentioned there's there's no theft occurring here we want to be very explicit about this if the marginal cost for reproducing a digital file is zero.
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If I give you a file and I still have the file no one can possibly steal the file and we're not talking about like unauthorized access to the works that a corporation keeps locked down because they're vital to its business when someone produces what we call intellectual property whether it's an article or a book or a podcast or a radio show or a TV program all those things are called intellectual property.
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They only have value if other people see them when you're talking about something like industrial secrets corporate secrets their value is that they're hidden there's no value in a podcast that no one ever hears that's that they'll be the most important.
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Yes, thankfully ours is not a mon of I've been really pleased with how this has taken off but I mean we're always going to be niche and that's fine because again we believe these are ideas worth spreading and that means giving them away for free explicitly consciously and intentionally and today we live in an environment where the church won't do that so just as a couple examples.
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Pastor Fisk Johnson Fisk whom I mentioned previously and Pastor Brian Wolfmiller have both priests previously had book deals with CPH and then they've done additional books that they've not published with CPH and they don't really go into it in public but I've been told by friends who've heard them go off about the way they were treated by the churches publisher and one of the principal objections that is is had about these deals.
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Is the same objection that you hear from every rap artist and music artist and pretty much anyone who's in this space of work for higher and then selling the work is that the people who own the presses the people who own the machinery of reproduction.
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Steal away your rights your artificial rights so when these guys wrote their books and had CPH published them they thought great the church is going to do it they're going to do a nice job CPH printing is usually decent by modern standards anyway.
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What they didn't realize was that they were signing away all their intellectual property rights so when Brian wanted to give away a couple of his books the CPH and published CPH wouldn't let him do it because you know why CPH wants to sell those and they can only make money by selling the books and we'll get into the making money thing because we're not saying you can't make money on this stuff we're saying their ways to make money that don't involve refusing to give things away.
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Which only sounds contradictory because we live in this house scape where everything has to have a price tag up front but that's not natural it's not normal.
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And so Brian if you go to wolfmailer.co now his website he gives away most of the stuff he writes and I think everything he's written since his CPH deal you can download a PDF or you can buy a copy from him and he charges as little as he can for the print on demand copy so if you want a physical copy he can get you one and you have to pay for that.
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And that's reasonable if you go into Barnes and Noble and you walk out with a book you stolen something because they have one fewer book in their inventory than they had before and you have a book that you didn't pay for.
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If you download the same book from Brian's website and you get the PDF no one has been denied anything now I don't know if he has a tip jar some people do and I think tip jars are a good thing is as you mentioned before if you find value in something or if you just want to say hey thanks I like this.
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The idea of patronage has tremendous historical merit that's why patreon exists today the patreon is a play on the word patron where the idea that rather than having a single very wealthy benefactor paying someone to produce works of art maybe a lot of people can get together and pay a small amount and achieve similar results and it's worked pretty well.
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And the model is that you say hey I think this is a good idea I'll chip in a few bucks when they hit their thresholds they produce the thing and make it available that's awesome.
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That's that's an entirely scalable way of doing things that allows creators and there's no there's no doubt that someone who's writing a book is doing something creative just like we're doing something creative here.
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It takes a few hours to do it doesn't mean it's worth anything to charge you but if you think hey I you know it's worth three bucks worth of entertainment to me send them some money.
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That's something that could actually work but it can only work when the property is first given away when when the the non property when the content which is content is kind of the modern word for that when the the package of whatever it is whether it's the MP4 for this this audio file that's about 160 megs or you know a 10 megabyte PDF.
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For a book when you get that you now have all of the content it's digital which isn't necessarily as good as physical in a lot of ways and so there's there's potentially a market to buy the physical good even if you can get the digital one for free.
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And we see that all over the place today and so there are different ways of approaching this problem then don't involve tying up sound doctrine and interesting ideas behind a paywall.
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We're actually discussing two different kinds of rights here and is probably a good idea to distinguish them quickly just to make sure that those who are unfamiliar with this area know what is going on.
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When it comes to copyright there are two kinds of rights there are economic rights which is what we have been discussing.
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And then there are what are called moral rights under the barren convention which is the international convention to which most western states and some others are party.
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There are at least two rights that you have to protect to moral rights those are paternity and integrity the right of paternity is that you have to attribute the work to the creator.
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The right of integrity is that the creator has to have some ability to object to destruction or alteration of the work that is then attributed to the creator.
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So there's a difference for instance between parody and putting forth a parody under the name of the original author that would be defamation there's a difference there.
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So we're not dealing with moral rights it's perfectly reasonable to have a system where the author has some sort of moral right where you have to attribute the work to the author or you have to not put out false work under the author's name that's totally different from economic rights we're dealing with the economic rights and that part of the copyright regime.
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Yeah absolutely if someone does an adaptation of him for example and they add a verse or maybe they change the tune or tweak the words.
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It's entirely reasonable and there's no reason why the law or even our approach as a church as Christians couldn't treat those separately just say yes if I took your him and I thought it was a great him but I wanted to add a verse I wanted to tweak something.
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I should give you credit for what you have done and then I should take credit for the fact that I modified it not both to take credit for the new work that I've done but also to absolve you of the changes that I made to your work and that's as you said those are the moral rights it's not it's not about denying for you know if someone and we wouldn't even care like I talked about us saying things to people yeah but that's.
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You can't wave them in the US incidentally yeah yeah and that's part of if you look at the creative commons copyright clauses you can basically put together your own creative commons license that will allow you to wave effectively everything you can wave commercial rights you can wave attribution you can you can effectively wave anything but you can do a piecemeal and they've they've created the draft language in such a way that it's consistent with copyright law that's trying very hard to.
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Trying very hard to make that impossible unless your friends so you literally you cannot wave your moral rights in France and also their their rights that your airs get it the French regime is its own special thing it causes problems in EU law because it's.
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Unsurprisingly yeah yes so just to get back briefly to the internet thing I just want them to make clear that.
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When we're talking the purpose of this episode is to discuss spreading of theological content of of sound doctrine in particular not only the Bible and in variations of the Bible but commentaries on the Bible books expositing what is in the Bible general theological works.
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The reason they were carving these out from the broader discussion of the so-called intellectual property regime is that if these things come from God if God gave us the Bible and God gave us reason and we apply reason to the Bible and produce a faithful work of reason like for example the book of conquered.
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The idea that a man or let alone a corporation would say I have a legal claim on this I will sue you if you do not give me money to have access to it in whatever form.
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We're starting here that that is evil apart from whether not copyright in general is evil I think they're the same question but even if you say okay well copyright in general can have benefit for fiction authors for example are people making you secular songs find we don't care about that but if you're saying that you can say something about God that you can write something about God and then you have a legal right to harm others financially if they don't get.
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If you give you money for it on wherever fee schedule you set I think not only is that evil I think it's I think it's profoundly evil I think it's a direct violation of the circus first and the second commandment first commandment commandment you should you shall have no other gods before me and the second commandment is the thou shalt not take the name of the Lord that God in vain and in Luther's explanation on the far and small large catechism he makes clear that that's talking specifically about the discussion.
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Of theology about not making false claims about God and about making sure that your claims in God's name are true now if you're obeying the second commandment and your claims about God are true how are those your how is that your property how does it belong to you something would is true that it's said about God to encumber that in such a way that others are prohibited from having access to it is actively destructive to the gospel what is the point of talking about God if if you're going to do that.
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If you're telling the truth and other people can't hear you why would you pay all that and yet that's precisely what we see virtually all of our church is doing we're picking on the LCMS because it's what we are it's our backyard we are morally responsible for the sins of those who act in our name and with our money even if we're not doing it even if we reject to it they're still doing it and they're doing it because we are enabling and permitting and we have not yet prevented them.
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In 2016 at the sonotical convention where one of the districts proposed a sonotical resolution to ask that the 1986 small catechism be placed in the public domain for this very reason for the reason that it was a clear expedition of sound doctrine that CPH owned the copyright to it and that we had the right to make it freely available to the world and that that was a moral good that that was obedience to God to say hey,
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this thing that by the way was originally in German 500 years ago so yes, we've tacked on some new content but the idea that the translation and then the additions somehow make that something that you can have a moral claim on of financial claim.
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At the convention it was said let's not do that let's make this available to the world we think it's valuable and many people stood up in support of that and said yes this is a wonderful idea as Christians why wouldn't we give away the small catechism and all the things we've added to it to everyone and what happened next was somebody handed a mic to the lawyer and the things that he said were apparently so frightening to all the pastors in the audience that they were terrified and were convinced that they were going to be sued if they let the
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small catechism be made available to the world and the fact that that lawyer stood up and Matt Harrison handed him the mic and then that was the end of discussion is an example of the sort of faithless and foolishness that happens when people don't have worldly understanding.
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But I think more profoundly it shows that you can have something that calls itself a church that at the end of the day is really a corporation and is acting in corporate interests over against the interests of the gospel even while doing it in the name of God and so we're talking about differentiating between what can we do that will not be poor stewardship that will not just incinerate money and cause us to no longer be able to do anything.
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And what can we do to obey God to share sound doctrine and make it available to the world in a sustainable way because that's a that's a conversation worth having and those ideas were spreading.
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And I would just want to add that whatever that attorney with a microphone because not all attorneys with microphones are bad but whatever that attorney with a microphone happened to say it was of course complete BS
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because there are ways you can place works into the public domain and you have no liability that flows from that.
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I mean, yes, okay, if you are giving instructions on how to make explosives that may be different, but that's not what we're doing.
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Yes, what we're handling is actually more dangerous and more important than how to make explosives or weapons, but there's no liability for it under the US legal regime.
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There's no actual concern there. Apparently one of the pastors should have brought a plus one attorney with him to give the counterpoint to corporate counsel, whatever was said there.
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I think it's worth noting that even if you assume for the sake of argument, the say there was something in the small catechism that was copyrighted by somebody else and so we couldn't give it away because we can't give away something that we don't have the rights to apart from publishing.
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Yes, either remove it or confess that CPH if they had incorporated something that was copyrighted by others who would not give us unlimited rights of distribution, that was sin.
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That was error to encumber the word of God in such a way that it couldn't even be shared.
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So either way that situation in 2016 can be parsed, it was an act of evil.
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The evil had occurred years before and they had then just stumbled into this pit where there was no way to get out without doing harm or there was deception on a part of the attorney that bullied and frightened everyone into not sharing the word of God when we're commanded by God to do that.
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This is not a case of, oh, I guess we can have a discussion and maybe you could go one way or the other God commands us to spread the word of God.
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It includes not just the text of the Bible itself, but anything that is sound doctrine that's derived from it.
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If you have something good that is a clear exposition of scripture that will be fruitful for the benefit of the faithful anywhere in the world and you refuse to share that unless they pay you, you're doing something evil.
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The first concern is how do I get paid? How are you a Christian? They're parables that talk about people getting paid, but it's generally pagans that are concerned about their wages.
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Or as you said earlier, it's about the inverse relationship where it's those who owe the wages are due to pay them in order to be just.
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That's not a question of economics, and we need to get Christians to understand that they're effectively three types of content today or four really.
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In the printed realm, you have the very most premium cow hide or calf or whatever, very nicely bound leatherbibles on very high quality paper.
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My cost you north of 200 bucks. It's an heirloom quality Bible. It's something that you're going to want to give to your kids and your grandkids.
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And hope you hope is that it will be in your family for generations long after your God.
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Then they're the Bibles that are the same content, same word of God, but they don't have all the bells and whistles.
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They don't have the extra features that don't alter the word of God, but make it not as pleasant of a tactile experience.
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The paper is not as expensive, the binding is not as nice. Maybe it won't last as long, but it's a Bible. If you wear your Bible, you've been blessed.
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As long as it doesn't happen three months.
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And then you have digital things where there's freely available content. It's exact same content.
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It's a Bible, you know, it's a PDF or an ebook or whatever that you can just get and you have access wherever you can read that sort of file.
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And then in between those, you have the paywall where there's an artificial money changer standing between you and the content which was given to you by God, but you have to pay in order to get to it.
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And while Bibles are not typically paywalled, although actually most of the translations are, I think, make you even longer.
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Yeah. And precisely because a copyright, when we worked hard on this translation, we want to get paid for it.
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Well, didn't you work on the translation because you thought it was important that the word of God be clearly expressed to people in a language that you can understand.
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And that's really what this comes down to. And that's why I mentioned the first commandment.
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What do you fear love and trust the most? Is it getting paid? Do you as an author fear that if you don't get paid for your book or for your translation, the God will let you starve?
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Because there are verses about that too. Or do you believe the way you're doing a service to God and that your reward will be great in heaven?
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And it's nice to get paid. And we'll talk in a minute about the ways to get paid that don't involve paywalling because again, this is not an attack on people being compensated for their hard work.
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I want to see more of that. I want to see more authors being paid more money for producing more good works, not less.
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We're pointing in the opposite direction. And as you illustrated with the Germany versus England case, the way we're doing it today is all that seems counterintuitive.
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It's actually counterproductive the way we're doing it.
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And there's also a very real bias here that's almost normalcy bias. This is the way we've always done it. This is just the way things work.
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Our synod in the case of the LCMS was founded by a man who was born before copyright law existed where he was born.
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So this is not something that has been around for a particularly long time. It is not particularly entrenched. It is entrenched only in so far as it makes billions of dollars.
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And that is the reason this is such a major part of our legal system and defended so strongly particularly by large corporations,
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Disney, as mentioned earlier, the Mickey Mouse Protection Act being one of the big defenders of this. And we've gone into the problems with Disney and some of these large corporations before.
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But when I was thinking about the issue of copyright and theology, I think one important question is to ask what is the purpose of these things?
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What is the purpose of copyright? Well, the purpose of copyright theoretically is defended as compensation for those who put in the creative or other effort.
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We've demonstrated that's not really how it plays out in reality, but that is the argument.
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But even if you take copyright as achieving its purpose, well, what is the purpose of theology? The purpose of theology is to spread the truth.
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That's what it should be at least at its best. And so anything that gets in the way of that is contrary to the purpose of theology.
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Well, copyright gets in the way of that because copyright makes it more difficult to obtain the works.
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Particularly today, when there is no reason everything couldn't be free online.
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Now, of course, you have the problem of quantity versus quality, but if you have a reliable production house like Concordia Publishing House,
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and you have them putting their materials online, then you have that stamp that lets people know this is actually worth something, go here and read these materials.
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Thankfully, we do have some things online. We have the book of Concord.org. We have that website, so we have the small catechism, the trigolata edition.
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So we have it online in German, Latin, and English. But we don't have some of the editions, some of the explanations, some of the modern translations.
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And I would happily put those on the website. I would put in the effort to put them up. But I know that CPH will not allow it.
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And we have the same problem with so many other works that are produced by our synod and other groups have the same problems.
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For instance, try and find the entire backlog of the Lutheran witness, or God forbid you're trying to find the backlog of the Lutheraner.
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You won't find it. Someone at CPH I suspect probably has this material.
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It should be scanned. It should be online. These should be available. It should be searchable. You should be able to find this wealth from our forefathers that is supposed to be our legacy.
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It's supposed to be something that was given to us by them, and we don't have access to it. Even members of synod don't have access to it. Let alone the rest of the world.
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And it's not as if it would cost a lot of money to do this, digitizing these materials and putting them online is trivial and cost. And there are people who would be willing to work on it for free.
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If CPH was willing to just hand me the archive, I will make it available online for free. I will even create an index for it so people can find it.
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I know they won't do it, but I would put in the effort the time and whatever minimal cost there is in bandwidth if they were willing to let me do that.
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And I think it's worth talking about numbers just for a minute, like talking about numbers on a podcast as a nightmare. So I'm going to try to paint just a, I'm going to try to paint a picture in your mind here. I'm not trying to give you a spreadsheet to copy down on a whiteboard.
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So you don't need to understand the numbers or remember them. I'm trying to give a sense of scale here.
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CPH is a wholly owned subsidiary of the LCMS. Both of those are nonprofits, which means that they're, although their financials are all very closely guarded secrets, they are required to file certain bare minimum filings with the IRS.
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Non-profits are supposed to file 990s annually. Interestingly, for CPH, the last 990 that I can find from them is 10 years old. They've filed the amended form, the 990T is recently as 2019.
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But literally the only number on there is inventory or inventory plus investments, which I discovered looking at the 990.
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These numbers are 10 years old. I find incredibly suspicious and frankly offensive that a church is hiding information about financials. This should be an open book.
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There is no legitimate reason for our churches to be hiding the performance of the organs that are being paid for, either by our congregations or by the money that we spend on books.
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This is about money and about books, so we're going to get into that. In 2012, the IRS filing showed that CPH had about 20 million dollars in revenue from selling books. It was almost 20 million right on the nose.
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I have no idea what it is now. I can tell you from a sense of scale that I believe the reporting was like 265 employees 10 years ago.
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And on the website today says they have about 165. So they've lost about 100 employees. I would assume that revenue was probably improved both because of inflation and just because they've, you know, who knows. It's a secret and no one knows.
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There are a couple of other numbers. I think you're very interesting. On that 20 million in revenue, CPH spent $2.2 million on advertising.
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Now, I think that that goes directly to the idea of making content available for free. One of the goals of CPH is to produce, to publish, to make available content produced by Lutherans.
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It should be exclusively Lutherans and in theory, everything goes through doctrinal review, but given the amount of things that are not doctrinally sound, I think either that is not occurring or the people who are reviewing it need to put, need to be put under doctrinal review.
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All of them are personally accountable to Matt Harrison. So ultimately all those doctrinal layers belong to him alone because he is, he's worth a buck stops for this stuff.
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But CPH is there to produce content to be available. You know, you would think to the world if you're Christian.
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Think about what spending $2.2 million on advertising means. They're doing that because I've been told that not only is CPH tasked with being profit and neutral, they're not permitted to lose money.
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Not only in general, but I've been told, I don't have confirmation of this, but I believe it's probably true just because it's so consistent with everything else that we know and have observed.
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Not only is CPH going to be profitable or neutral on the overall enterprise, they can't lose money on any project.
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So any time they do a new book of any sort, they have to make sure it sells. It's not enough to produce it to make some copies and then make it available, you know, make review copies available word of mouth.
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They have to advertise it because if that doesn't make money, I don't know what sort of accountability there is because the accountability again is all secret.
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But they have to spend over 10% of their revenue on advertising to make sure that the stuff sells. Now, that's not a whole lot of money for a business to spend on advertising, but consider the fact that everything that they are producing can be reproduced for free.
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In other words, once CPH makes a book, whether it's one of the arch books or it's one of these books that produce one of the 25-year-old girls they have on staff, or whether it's one of the scholarly works that's produced by the professors at our seminaries on Books of the Bible and the Concordia commentary series, by and large is exceptionally good.
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It's really a seminal collection that for the first time that I'm aware of, actual confessional Lutherans are doing this in English.
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Do you know of any others, Corey? I don't. I don't think I've seen any others.
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Nothing else comes to mind, no.
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Yeah. Like, it's basically the first time in English that Lutherans are doing a systematic approach to the entire Bible book by book.
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And so, there's low-barrel content, there's high-barrel content. That stuff is scholarly.
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Those books are expensive. I think they run like 55, maybe 60 bucks a copy if you don't pre-order.
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And that's for pretty cheap. Yeah. Yeah. No, that's not cheap for a scholarly work.
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Maybe it's worth it in the Keynesian sense in that realm.
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But think about this, just hypothetically, if instead of doing what CPH is doing today,
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if they took the same approach to funding up front, the production of the Concordia commentary series,
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which is, I think it's over halfway done, I believe. They produce quite a few of them.
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They come out four times a year. They're about four volumes a year released.
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This is the first time, think about this. This is the first time in English that sound Lutheran doctrine and theory has been exposited for an entire book of the Bible in a scholarly fashion.
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Now, the LCMS is tiny. We're at 1.8 million souls and shrinking every year.
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Whether or not that continues a subject for another day, but we're not big.
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But there are hundreds and hundreds of million Christians who speak English who might potentially be interested in that content.
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Now, again, the commentaries in particular scholarly works. You need to be fluent in Greek and Hebrew in order to really fully engage in the content.
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But that's only part of the content. The commentary portions, generally you can get by like, I can get by with the commentary portions where they're going through and discussing the text,
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even though I don't know how to, I can kind of middlingly re-greak a little bit fanatically. But that's it. I still get a lot of value out of it.
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Now, if I were a pastor in another denomination who was looking for sound doctrine, Protestant doctrine,
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just looking for, you know, just what does anyone say? You know, it's typical to go looking for commentaries on various texts.
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If you're a reformed pastor or a Baptist pastor who can actually read and you go looking for a commentary series,
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wouldn't it be incredible if the Concordia commentary was freely available online?
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If you just download the PDF of that and there it is, you have it cost you nothing.
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What would that do to all those pastors who are going and looking for that content worldwide?
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If they were able to access what we have locked up behind incredibly expensive paywall, no one's ever going to do that.
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No one's ever going to go looking for that unless they already have a very specific reason, which is virtually no one,
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because most people don't even know Lutherans exist.
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So rather than spending $2.2 million on marketing, if we gave stuff away for free, what would happen?
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Pastors would find it. They would start telling each other about that stuff.
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Laymen who were astute, who were interested in engaging, would find it.
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And you know what, if there were a half a million reformed laymen, probably reformed, I say that because they're probably the best readers in Christendom now.
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They love theological works.
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If they were to find this stuff and they say, oh, well, there's this stuff in Greek and Hebrew, I can't read.
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Some of them might be tempted to go learn Greek and Hebrew just so they could better understand the commentary.
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But meanwhile, they're having Scripture exposited by faithful Lutherans who are doing it in a Lutheran way, which if you're a Lutheran, you believe is a good thing.
01:00:30.000 --> 01:00:37.000
To bring our understanding of Scripture, book by book, verse by verse, is an incredibly valuable thing.
01:00:37.000 --> 01:00:47.000
It's worth far more to us as a church that's shrinking and dying, to spread our word to people who've never heard of us by giving that stuff away.
01:00:47.000 --> 01:00:54.000
And yet, would it never in a million years would it enter anyone's mind as CPH to put those PDFs online?
01:00:54.000 --> 01:00:57.000
Or to make the logos, logos available versions available.
01:00:57.000 --> 01:01:05.000
I was just going to say they do have an electronic version and it's only $2,236 for 43 volumes.
01:01:05.000 --> 01:01:10.000
Yes. And someone asked them about the why the original version.
01:01:10.000 --> 01:01:17.000
Yes. And someone actually asked them why the electronic version cost the same as the printed version, even though there's no marginal cost.
01:01:17.000 --> 01:01:24.000
And the response was that it takes a lot more work to format it for a logos, which is true because you have so many cross references and things.
01:01:24.000 --> 01:01:26.000
So there's a lot of additional work.
01:01:26.000 --> 01:01:30.000
It takes a lot of additional work. But again, that's prototyping work.
01:01:30.000 --> 01:01:35.000
That's one off work. You do that once and you don't have to do it again.
01:01:35.000 --> 01:01:42.000
So that's a sunk cost. And the mind of the CPH executive is I must recoup my sunk costs.
01:01:42.000 --> 01:01:45.000
I must make that money back. I cannot lose money on this.
01:01:45.000 --> 01:01:53.000
What will I do? I will charge a high price to ensure that over the years that money will trickle back in and maybe eventually this project will break even.
01:01:53.000 --> 01:01:58.000
How about, hypothetically, we get rid of that 10% marketing budget.
01:01:58.000 --> 01:02:01.000
Don't market anything. Give everything away for free.
01:02:01.000 --> 01:02:06.000
Under one of these licenses where CPH should be credited, you know, including with the URL.
01:02:06.000 --> 01:02:12.000
So you can find concordia publishing house. You can find the LCMS to find the people who produce the content.
01:02:12.000 --> 01:02:18.000
And then you can use one of the license restrictions that says, you know what, if you're going to modify this, you need to indicate that you've modified it.
01:02:18.000 --> 01:02:23.000
You need to say, well, you modified if you want to change what we say, don't attribute it to us.
01:02:23.000 --> 01:02:27.000
That's reasonable. You don't have to pay us a dime. What would happen?
01:02:27.000 --> 01:02:33.000
That $2 million that you freed up could be spent directly on producing more commentaries.
01:02:33.000 --> 01:02:39.000
The, the men who were producing that stuff could be remunerated upfront, far better than they're being paid instantly.
01:02:39.000 --> 01:02:47.000
They're not being paid much for this. Even the ones who were taking, if they have to take a sabbatical, which most of them do to do it, someone else is funding the sabbatical.
01:02:47.000 --> 01:02:50.000
They're not making it from what CPH is paying them.
01:02:50.000 --> 01:02:54.000
So it's already the case that these books are not profitable.
01:02:54.000 --> 01:03:00.000
In addition, they're unprofitable and they're pay-hold. So no one ever reads them.
01:03:00.000 --> 01:03:04.000
Even most of our own pastors don't read them because they can't afford them.
01:03:04.000 --> 01:03:07.000
And think especially about the guys in seminary.
01:03:07.000 --> 01:03:12.000
Imagine you're a poor seminary student. You're a first-second, you know, you're maybe fourth year after your vicarage.
01:03:12.000 --> 01:03:21.000
You really want to have access to this but stuff because, you know, Luther's works, Ken's works, the CPH, the commentary series.
01:03:21.000 --> 01:03:27.000
Those should be the crown jewels of Lutheranism. And yet you have to spend 10 grand to get a hold of them.
01:03:27.000 --> 01:03:29.000
No one's going to be able to do that.
01:03:29.000 --> 01:03:35.000
There's nothing except for evil that is preventing us from making that stuff available for free.
01:03:35.000 --> 01:03:40.000
Now, if someone may argue, well, some of those translations are copyright-encumbered.
01:03:40.000 --> 01:03:46.000
Okay, spend some of that 2.2 million and pay somebody, re-translate them.
01:03:46.000 --> 01:03:52.000
They're probably some translation things that need to be fixed because some of the translations were done by Alka for the LW.
01:03:52.000 --> 01:03:57.000
So if we clean that up and we produce ourselves, make it available forever in English.
01:03:57.000 --> 01:04:03.000
As long as English is spoken anywhere in the universe, you can read and download and use this for free.
01:04:03.000 --> 01:04:10.000
And then self-physical copies. You can self-physical copies and they're nicely done. They're pretty nicely bound. The paper's not bad.
01:04:10.000 --> 01:04:21.000
You could even have nicer ones. We have a number of friends who have said, I wish that I could get, you know, a $200 version of the Book of Conquer that was nearly as nice as I can get for one of the Bibles.
01:04:21.000 --> 01:04:27.000
You can't. There's one that comes from CPH that's it's middling. It costs more. It's not worth what it costs.
01:04:27.000 --> 01:04:33.000
And it's not nearly as nice as it should be for the contents. You can use those things.
01:04:33.000 --> 01:04:47.000
And I think that the value of making financial transparency is that you could say, look, this copy of the Book of Conquer is $200 and there's a 25% profit margin on this.
01:04:47.000 --> 01:05:01.000
Part of that 25% is going to go back into subsidizing the cost of the general Book of Conquer that's freely available as a printed bound copy so that those who want a physical copy can get it for less.
01:05:01.000 --> 01:05:04.000
Because that should be our desire to have that in the hands of everybody on the planet.
01:05:04.000 --> 01:05:13.000
And the fact that we don't even think about what can we do to make our doctrine available to more people who, again, who've never heard of Lutherans, they don't care.
01:05:13.000 --> 01:05:23.000
But if they found something for free that was on the book of Luke or something, someone would read it and he would get excited because the content and there is good and he would tell his friends.
01:05:23.000 --> 01:05:30.000
And then you know what, you don't need a marketing budget. And I want to particularly mention the commercial aspect.
01:05:30.000 --> 01:05:39.000
We should make it available so that other people can print it commercially too because you know what, one of the other publishers would do just that.
01:05:39.000 --> 01:05:51.000
And today we think we think of that as, oh, they're going to eat our lunch. No, let them spend their marketing money to spread Lutheran doctrine to spread sound doctrine so they can be shared with people and printed material.
01:05:51.000 --> 01:06:00.000
And it's going to point back to the website where you can also find it for free. No one's going to be tricked into buying the book because they didn't know they could get the PDF for free.
01:06:00.000 --> 01:06:08.000
Digital is not great. Digital is useful for some things. Bound is very useful for many others. And it's a mutually exclusive set.
01:06:08.000 --> 01:06:17.000
So a lot of people would want both. Digital is instantly searchable. Physical, you can have in your hands, you can highlight it, you can annotate it, you can do all sorts of things.
01:06:17.000 --> 01:06:32.000
If we just gave the stuff away and said if Zonderband Van or somebody else wants to publish this stuff and you know, give us credit, keep it intact and do the expensive part of reproducing the physical good. God bless them.
01:06:32.000 --> 01:06:37.000
May they serve sound doctrine by spreading this far and wide.
01:06:37.000 --> 01:06:47.000
One of the most egregious examples isn't actually the Concordia commentary, although yes it is. It's Luther's works.
01:06:47.000 --> 01:06:55.000
We have 55, well actually however many volumes it is now 60 something volumes translated in the American edition.
01:06:55.000 --> 01:07:03.000
Not one is freely available. There it also was at $43 or something of volume.
01:07:04.000 --> 01:07:24.000
And these are works that are 500 years old. There's no reason given that we have seminary professors and a number of other individuals in Synod who are theologically trained competent and know the original languages because of course if you're translating Luther, you have to add a minimum no Latin Greek and German.
01:07:24.000 --> 01:07:36.000
And hopefully also English the language into which you're translating. There's no reason we should not have all of these on a website searchable indexed free for the world.
01:07:36.000 --> 01:07:49.000
And it wouldn't even be that expensive of an undertaking. This is something that could easily be done by a number of seminary professors having a sabbatical to translate a volume here and there.
01:07:49.000 --> 01:07:55.000
And the only reason it isn't done is because you can't theoretically monetize it as easily.
01:07:55.000 --> 01:08:07.000
The irony of course is that they probably would make more as we pointed out earlier German authors were making more off of their works than were English authors despite the English being protected by a copyright regime.
01:08:08.000 --> 01:08:14.000
A couple of the other interesting numbers I dug up with regard to CPH's financials from 10 years ago.
01:08:14.000 --> 01:08:25.000
They have $39 million in investments. That's cash that they're sitting on so that they can make sure that they can continue to be financially independent.
01:08:25.000 --> 01:08:34.000
Is that stewardship or is that burying your money in the ground and from that $39 million they're generating $800,000 a year 10 years ago in investment income.
01:08:35.000 --> 01:08:44.000
Now think about if you took $800,000 a year and provided $40,000 sabbaticals to do with 16 professors.
01:08:44.000 --> 01:08:52.000
Think about the amount of work that could be done by using the money that's already being produced today by their investments.
01:08:52.000 --> 01:08:59.000
That's just with the investment dividends effectively. What if we started chipping into that $30,000 million? What if we said, you know what?
01:08:59.000 --> 01:09:07.000
I trust in God to provide for me next year. I don't need to sit on $39 million and prepare and hope that a rainy day won't come.
01:09:07.000 --> 01:09:12.000
I'm going to spend it now to spread the word of God. You don't have to spend it all once we're not saying that.
01:09:12.000 --> 01:09:20.000
We're saying that the problem of we need to charge $60 for a commentary so that we can get our money back on the back end is ludicrous.
01:09:20.000 --> 01:09:31.000
Pay the scholars what it's worth upfront for their time, for their expertise and then make it available to the world and the money will come back to you.
01:09:31.000 --> 01:09:40.000
It's not just the high end stuff. It's stuff like the small catechism, which is probably the second most important book ever published period.
01:09:40.000 --> 01:09:47.000
The number of people who have been both brought to faith and had the faith explain to them clearly by the small catechism.
01:09:48.000 --> 01:09:59.000
There's no way to compare it. It's so important that in third world countries, even the Roman Catholic priests prefer to use Luther's small catechism to their own catechism because it's more clearly written.
01:09:59.000 --> 01:10:10.000
It's more to the point and it's basic fundamental Christian doctrine. It is a Lutheran take on things, but it's straight from the Bible and the citations that are scriptural citations.
01:10:10.000 --> 01:10:20.000
So why isn't that made available for free? I got a book in the mail a few months ago completely out of the blue. I had no idea what was going on.
01:10:20.000 --> 01:10:34.000
It was literally a paperback book with just a sticker on the back, but it was in my mailbox. So I realized that what that meant was that the post office had been handled handed a big box of these so that they wouldn't get damaged because it was perfectly intact.
01:10:34.000 --> 01:10:44.000
And then the postal carrier went mailbox to mailbox and entire neighborhoods sticking these books in. The book is titled The Great Controversy, which I didn't recognize.
01:10:44.000 --> 01:10:52.000
There was no attribution anywhere on who was from I actually had to Google it to remember that I had heard of this before was by Ellen White.
01:10:52.000 --> 01:10:57.000
This is the seventh day Adventist's Creed. They kicked off their call to the 1800s.
01:10:57.000 --> 01:11:07.000
Now if the seventh day Adventist cares so much about spreading their doctrine that they're literally just stuffing their book in people's Bible in people's mailboxes.
01:11:07.000 --> 01:11:15.000
Why aren't we doing that with the small catechism? Because you know what? I don't know how many people are going to be interested in seeing this is God.
01:11:15.000 --> 01:11:24.000
They have a brand new cover on it. It's got the Capitol building. They're trying to portray it in terms of politics to juice people's interest. They bury the lead that it's about a cult.
01:11:24.000 --> 01:11:34.000
What if we said, you know what? This is just Christian doctrine. Here's the small catechism. Maybe not male to everyone in the world, but you could there are lists that will tell you Christian households. That's easy to figure out.
01:11:34.000 --> 01:11:45.000
If we targeted all of those with some of the 39 million with you could do a cheap paperback like this to the actual printing cost is probably four or five bucks if you did it in that sort of volume.
01:11:45.000 --> 01:11:51.000
Why do Lutherans care less about our doctrine than the seventh day Adventist care about their cult?
01:11:51.000 --> 01:12:00.000
That's a serious question. What are we doing with our money with our resources that we're charging like 18 bucks a pop the small catechism with no discounts to anybody.
01:12:00.000 --> 01:12:07.000
Why are we doing that when pagans can do better with worse?
01:12:07.000 --> 01:12:19.000
It's worth noting also that the small catechism can actually also be printed as a pamphlet which has a marginal cost of what 15 cents or something utterly ridiculous.
01:12:19.000 --> 01:12:38.000
Because of course that's originally what it was. It was originally a pamphlet. The whole purpose of the small catechism was that it was one small to easy to produce and cheap to produce and three could be read and understood by the common man.
01:12:38.000 --> 01:12:53.000
And that's and now we make it impossible for the common man and it really is almost impossible because how many people actually come across the small catechism if they don't know about Lutherans if they don't go specifically looking for that information.
01:12:53.000 --> 01:12:59.000
There are Christians in the United States who've never heard of it which is ridiculous.
01:13:00.000 --> 01:13:08.000
It's completely insane and you're right. If you look at the new catechism the new one the new so called small catechism is over 400 pages long.
01:13:08.000 --> 01:13:17.000
The first part from from Luther himself is like 41 pages so we could absolutely do smaller on pictures and it.
01:13:18.000 --> 01:13:24.000
And put that in the hands of everyone and then make the other versions available as well. You're absolutely right. I didn't even think about that.
01:13:24.000 --> 01:13:30.000
Like we could we could make that available and that's 41 pages with a lot of space like it's mostly wasted space.
01:13:30.000 --> 01:13:34.000
You could that that's probably like a 12 page pamphlet.
01:13:34.000 --> 01:13:42.000
I think it was originally either a quarter or an octo pamphlet in the medieval printing. I think that's what it was.
01:13:43.000 --> 01:13:50.000
So we could literally fit in an envelope. You're talking about a total production cost of mailing cost at scale of 50 or 60 cents.
01:13:50.000 --> 01:13:57.000
We could do that and who cares if 90% of men end up in the trash if 10% of people read that and thought wow.
01:13:57.000 --> 01:14:02.000
There's something here I've never heard before why doesn't my church talk like this.
01:14:02.000 --> 01:14:08.000
Do you think we would still be a shrinking denomination in 10 years? These are the things that are going to change.
01:14:09.000 --> 01:14:13.000
There are other discussions for other days about things that are going wrong in our churches.
01:14:13.000 --> 01:14:21.000
But the fact that nobody's heard about us and that we won't really give away our doctrine to anyone who's potentially interested are chief among them.
01:14:21.000 --> 01:14:32.000
Because they're a testimony of the fact that the synod is now a corporation. It's no longer a church. It's a corporation that exists for the purpose of preserving the corporation.
01:14:32.000 --> 01:14:36.000
When Matt Harrison talks about his tenure, he highlights the financial stability.
01:14:36.000 --> 01:14:44.000
When I was looking at the CPH financials and saw that there was 36.5 million or that 39 million was invested in security.
01:14:44.000 --> 01:14:48.000
So that's interesting, figured, you know, fidelity or something.
01:14:48.000 --> 01:15:01.000
No, it's invested in the LCMS foundation, which is 1.1 billion dollar hedge fund owned by the Missouri Synod were 500 of the other partner groups under the corporate umbrella.
01:15:01.000 --> 01:15:07.000
Are all stashing their money. Now, it's a good thing to have savings in reserve.
01:15:07.000 --> 01:15:19.000
I'm not saying that that is erroneous per se. But when your purpose is to accumulate and not to deploy successfully for the sake of the gospel, what is it you're actually doing?
01:15:19.000 --> 01:15:22.000
Are you running a church or are you running a business?
01:15:22.000 --> 01:15:31.000
And it's very clear based on the decisions that are being made in our church. And I think in most other churches that they're all being run primarily as businesses.
01:15:31.000 --> 01:15:38.000
And you do what you can do if it's going to be affordable. And if you can't make a business case for it, don't do it at all.
01:15:38.000 --> 01:15:46.000
Unless it comes to some sort of foreign missions where we're just pouring millions and millions of dollars into people with languages that have 2500 words.
01:15:46.000 --> 01:15:54.000
So it's literally impossible to translate theology into their language because there's no words for 80% of what you need to talk to them about.
01:15:54.000 --> 01:16:01.000
That will spend infinite money on. But English speaking people where we already have all of the material and all we have to do is put in an envelope.
01:16:01.000 --> 01:16:05.000
That will never happen. It will never happen with this group.
01:16:05.000 --> 01:16:17.000
Hopefully a future group will take some of these ideas and say, you know what, maybe we don't need to use a copyright regime and legal boundaries and legal penalties to prevent the spread of the gospel.
01:16:17.000 --> 01:16:24.000
Maybe we just give it away and let the Holy Spirit do his work. That's what he has to do. Let's give it a shot.
01:16:24.000 --> 01:16:35.000
We don't even proselytize German speaking nations. And we wouldn't have to translate our materials to publish them for our brothers over in Germany. We don't even do that.
01:16:35.000 --> 01:16:48.000
So we don't even have the art, the excuse of there being a cost of translation for some of our failures. We're pouring millions of dollars into Africa and elsewhere. And meanwhile we have, I think it's two missionaries in Germany.
01:16:49.000 --> 01:16:57.000
And we don't have any materials available in German except for the book of Concord, which is available on the website in German.
01:16:57.000 --> 01:17:09.000
And that's a crucial point, the point's directly to mine in Germany and England. The majority of the confessional Lutheran outreach is not being done to the native populations.
01:17:09.000 --> 01:17:16.000
When they talk, when the Lutheran church, the LCE, is that what it is?
01:17:16.000 --> 01:17:18.000
Which one? In Germany?
01:17:18.000 --> 01:17:19.000
01:17:19.000 --> 01:17:20.000
01:17:20.000 --> 01:17:21.000
Silk, that's right.
01:17:21.000 --> 01:17:22.000
01:17:22.000 --> 01:17:23.000
01:17:23.000 --> 01:17:30.000
When they do outreach, when they talk about it, they talk about all the Africans and all the Muslims that they're ministering to.
01:17:30.000 --> 01:17:38.000
What is going on? Germany, where Lutheranism was invented, where Luther made up a brand new religion for Germans, that's what we're told.
01:17:38.000 --> 01:17:42.000
And yet no longer do even Germans hold to that made up religion.
01:17:42.000 --> 01:17:48.000
Now we're teaching Africans who are coming to those countries for not good reasons.
01:17:48.000 --> 01:17:53.000
There's no outreach in either England or Germany to the native populations.
01:17:53.000 --> 01:17:58.000
And I don't think we can call ourselves Christian if that's how we're going to bathe.
01:17:58.000 --> 01:18:01.000
Yes, it's good to reach out to people wherever they are.
01:18:01.000 --> 01:18:09.000
But the fact that we are neglecting our neighbors and our brothers according to their flesh, for the sake of aliens, just because they're aliens.
01:18:09.000 --> 01:18:11.000
And don't believe anything else.
01:18:11.000 --> 01:18:19.000
It is because they're aliens that these other people are seen as prime recipients of the so-called gospel.
01:18:19.000 --> 01:18:23.000
Well, you get good boy points for proselytizing to those who aren't like you.
01:18:23.000 --> 01:18:24.000
01:18:24.000 --> 01:18:29.000
You're not spreading the gospel if you have to step over your brother to get to another man.
01:18:29.000 --> 01:18:31.000
I don't care what you tell him.
01:18:31.000 --> 01:18:34.000
It's not in your heart if you will behave in such a way.
01:18:34.000 --> 01:18:36.000
And you're absolutely right.
01:18:36.000 --> 01:18:38.000
Everything's in German. Why is that not available?
01:18:38.000 --> 01:18:40.000
None of that's copyrighted.
01:18:40.000 --> 01:18:45.000
If we've typesetted all this stuff from cabinets and others, make it available for free.
01:18:45.000 --> 01:18:47.000
Make it available for free.
01:18:47.000 --> 01:18:49.000
It's not ours to begin with.
01:18:49.000 --> 01:18:50.000
It's an inheritance.
01:18:51.000 --> 01:18:53.000
And the printing house exists.
01:18:53.000 --> 01:18:55.000
Just let them print it.
01:18:55.000 --> 01:18:56.000
01:18:56.000 --> 01:19:06.000
And again, if we own the copyright for something, gross, but whatever, if we have it so that we can say anyone in the world can produce this free of charge.
01:19:06.000 --> 01:19:09.000
You can charge money to produce this theological work.
01:19:09.000 --> 01:19:11.000
Somebody's going to jump on that.
01:19:11.000 --> 01:19:15.000
And when they start making a little bit of money, word will get around in that small world.
01:19:15.000 --> 01:19:20.000
Others will jump on it too and try to make a nicer version or translated into other languages.
01:19:20.000 --> 01:19:25.000
When you set something free and say, this idea is not mine anymore.
01:19:25.000 --> 01:19:27.000
This is yours. Do what you want with it.
01:19:27.000 --> 01:19:29.000
You don't know what's going to happen.
01:19:29.000 --> 01:19:32.000
But when you're talking about the word of God, it's going to be something good.
01:19:32.000 --> 01:19:38.000
And it shocks in the Paul's my conscience that we even have to say these things.
01:19:38.000 --> 01:19:42.000
And the fact that when we say them, people are going to hear them and they're just going to shout, well, what about?
01:19:42.000 --> 01:19:43.000
Well, what about?
01:19:43.000 --> 01:19:44.000
Well, what about?
01:19:45.000 --> 01:19:46.000
The what about?
01:19:46.000 --> 01:19:52.000
Even with the existing structures can be addressed in a way that more than offset all the what about.
01:19:52.000 --> 01:19:59.000
And I think that we're rapidly approaching the point where there's going to be a new denomination where we're going to have to start from scratch.
01:19:59.000 --> 01:20:05.000
And we're going to have to re-translate this stuff because the LCMS corporation is going to own the copyrights.
01:20:05.000 --> 01:20:11.000
And you know what, when that day comes, we're going to put translators to work to do all this stuff right for the last time.
01:20:12.000 --> 01:20:15.000
Because it's all going to be given away for free to everyone in the world.
01:20:15.000 --> 01:20:29.000
And if you think that that church, no matter how small it is, when it begins, if you don't think that that church is going to grow like something that's never been seen since the days of the panic cost, I think you're in for a real surprise.
01:20:29.000 --> 01:20:31.000
This is what Christians should be doing.
01:20:31.000 --> 01:20:37.000
They shouldn't be wasting time not spending their resources well as we are.
01:20:37.000 --> 01:20:39.000
We're doing things that have no fruit.
01:20:39.000 --> 01:20:43.000
And yet we continue to bear bad fruit or no fruit.
01:20:43.000 --> 01:20:47.000
We refuse to shake the dust of our feet on our failed endeavors.
01:20:47.000 --> 01:20:50.000
And we refuse to try things that have never been tried before.
01:20:50.000 --> 01:20:55.000
Let's try doing something that's not only Christian, but on paper actually makes sense.
01:20:55.000 --> 01:20:57.000
How about that?
01:20:58.000 --> 01:21:11.000
One of the things that came to mind when I was looking at the issue of copyright and theology is that this is very much like indulgences in the Middle Ages.
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In one sense, it's not as bad because we are not saying, and we in this case being christened copywriting works, we are not saying that, well, you earn forgiveness of sins if you pay the money.
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But in another sense, it's actually worse because we're saying, well, you don't get the thing that tells you about the forgiveness of sins unless you pay the money.
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So copyright law in the realm of theology has really become sort of a modern indulgence.
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To get, yeah, exactly the sale of church offices.
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Except we're not even really doing simony right.
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We're doing it in the most incompetent terrible way possible.
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And that's the thing.
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Like if you think about if a Lutheran pastor said, you know what?
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If you want to come here and my sermon, that's going to be $5.
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Forget the offer and play.
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You need to pay to come in the door.
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There's a cover charge.
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Like it, it would be stopped within one week.
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Even the laziest, most malcontent district president would put an end to that because it would be so scandalous.
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We wouldn't be charging for live streams of church services, which probably shouldn't exist anyway.
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But we, so we don't charge to pray.
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We don't charge to preach.
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We don't charge for the sacraments.
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And yet because we inherited copyright law from the environment, we think that somehow it suddenly makes sense to charge for the word of God and to charge for a faithful exposition of the word of God.
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It's all the same thing.
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Whether something is in a book or it's spoken or it's shared with you verbally, either in person or from a sermon or whatever.
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It's all teaching or preaching.
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All of that should be made available for free.
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If it's theological, again, the setting aside the rest of copyright is fine for this.
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If it's theological, it should all be made available.
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And if you wouldn't charge someone a cover charge to come into your parish and to hear you preach, why in the name of God would you have a cover charge for them to have a PDF of what you wrote?
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If it was worth you writing, why isn't it worth someone reading for free?
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And you know what, God bless you if you want to set up a tip jar.
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Or if you want a Patreon, that's fine.
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We're not saying you don't get paid for things, but let the payments be offerings.
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Let us return to a Christian ethos where something which is valued is freely given and then a free gift is given in return.
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That is Christian.
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We talked last week about usually about how the Christian mode of lending as you don't expect anything back.
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If I'll give you $1,000 and not expect to receive $1,000 back, how is it Christian suddenly for me to give you a Bible and expect to get $50 back?
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That's exactly what CPH does.
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Now obviously there's a cost to the production of the Bible.
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There was a cost of $1,000 that I lent.
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Now CPH obviously wouldn't be giving away free books and we're not suggesting on a large scale that they would do, not for the nice stuff, the nicely printed stuff.
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But let's start looking at things that we can give away for free, either in printed material or everything.
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Again, if you have a book that's printed, you have a PDF.
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If you have a Mac in particular, the print dialog makes this clear.
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You can either print to your printer or you can print to pre-D PDF.
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It's functionally the same thing.
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Yes, there are very minor layout differences perhaps.
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If you're going to end design to actually produce a book, it's irrelevant.
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If the work is done to produce a book, the work is already finished for a PDF that can be made available tonight on CPH's website for everything.
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And this is true of all of your churches.
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If you're in another church, whatever theological writings they've produced, even if we disagree with them, I think they should all be available too.
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Because I would like to compare and contrast with the reformed, what Presbyterians, what Baptist write, to what we write.
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And where there are differences, let us speak frankly about those differences and hammer things out.
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That's what God wants us to do with theology.
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Put it all on the table and have frank discussions about where scripture leads and where scripture prohibits.
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This discussion is just kind of laying in the groundwork for us to be able to have those other discussions.
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Because right now everything's encumbered.
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You have to spend tens of thousands of dollars on theological works just to have a minimal library to begin to discuss those things.
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Give me the TPDFs and let me search.
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If you do that, we're 90% of the way to having frank conversations that at this point really don't even happen because we don't know what the other people believe.
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We didn't even touch on one of the major problems.
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There are so many theological works out there that are essentially abandoned.
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And they are abandoned in the sense they are no longer in print.
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Good luck finding a used copy that isn't literally falling apart or smells weird.
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I found both.
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And the digital edition just doesn't exist.
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So you literally cannot get some of these works.
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So even if you wanted to spend the money to acquire them,
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there's no option. It does not exist.
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Why on earth are at least those works not made available publicly?
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Well, of course, because there's no money in it, we know why.
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But there are so many works that are just simply out of copyright.
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Because anything before the 1930s, now 1920s, is going to be out of copyright.
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And so at least those materials should be available.
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And I actually have a question.
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Specifically to CPH when someone at CPH has passed this particular episode,
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which may very well happen.
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Why is the combination small and large catechism on the Kindle?
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Almost six dollars.
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Now, I know there is a minimum.
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I know that you have to charge a dollar.
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You have to charge 99 cents because Amazon has minimum prices
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for based on the size of the file delivered.
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And I imagine this one fits into the smallest one, which is under three megabytes.
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I don't see any reason that this should be above that size.
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And so 99 cents is the minimum they could charge in order to distribute on Kindle.
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But why is it six dollars?
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Why are we charging more than the absolute minimum required by the platform?
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It's just it's egregious.
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Even if we had to pay Amazon to do it, how about we spend some of that $39 million on that?
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If they'd let us, yeah, exactly distribute it for free.
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Oh no, a dollar for someone to actually obtain the word of God in a way he can understand.
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If it is sound doctrine, if it is scriptural, everyone in the world should have access to it without limitation.
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I think that's just table stakes to be a Christian.
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And again, there's so many things like usery, like head coverings, like girls publishing and leading in the church.
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These are things that became cultural issues because we as a church are so completely subsumed by the the culture that we're in.
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We believe it's still Christian and we believe it's still formed by Christian values when it's not.
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It hasn't been since before anyone was born living.
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It was born.
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We assume that because we call ourselves Christians and whatever we're doing as Christian, that's not the case either.
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Start looking at scripture, perhaps with fresh eyes.
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Maybe look at scripture at all because there's like things, you know, we talked about the shaking off the dust.
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How that just vanish and no one ever talked about it again.
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These conversations need to perhaps be had for the first time.
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I think really in history, because copyright is a novelty and the fact that we're now encumbering translations through copyright,
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makes this the first time in history with the advent of the internet that it's actually possible to have a marginal cost to reproduce something of zero.
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And again, that's vital. This is fundamentally about electronic distribution.
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If once you've done the work of producing the PDF or the eBook or the Logos file, there's no more expense.
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The cost of downloading that, of transferring that is effectively zero.
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So the only question remaining for Christians is how do we pay for that work upfront?
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And our only answer has been exploiting copyright to have piecemeal charges every time someone accesses the work.
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There are other ways to do it. There are other ways that pagans are doing it today.
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Maybe we should learn from the pagans how to spread the gospel because we can't figure out how to do it as Christians, not as well as we should.
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I want to see a church that is enthusiastic about giving away her jewels as the seventh day Adventists are and as all the atheists doing the TED Talks are because they're evangelical.
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They have zeal for their beliefs, even though their beliefs are evil and are going to go to hell, at least they demonstrate zeal for their beliefs.
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Where is our zeal? Where's our enthusiasm for giving these jewels away that could perhaps bleed people to salvation or prevent them from falling into despair and falling away from a salvation that they already have?
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Maybe a book that comes to someone that would be produced by CPH would find them at just the right moment.
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If one of their friends could give them a PDF, they had the words that they needed for free.
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It might not occur to a friend who would never have read it if he hadn't been given it for free, but because you can just pass it on and on and on and you're not stealing anything because the copies can be infinite.
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You could fill up every hard drive in the universe with small catechisms and then you would have to make more hard drives.
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But no one has been eliminated by reducing the number of available small catechisms physically. There's no cost of goods.
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We need to exploit that and we need to be cognizant of it and we need to use it to spread sound doctrine.
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I think the bottom line when it comes to copyright is the two questions and then the nexus that I mentioned earlier.
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What is the purpose of copyright and then of course you also have to think about the effect.
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What is the purpose of theology and are these compatible?
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I think we have convincingly demonstrated the answer to the last is no.
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