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Copyright                    and the Kingdom   how copyright works and its  implications for world missions              v...
contents                                                         what everyone should know about copyright.....3          ...
1998 – life + 70 years    what everyone should know    about copyright                                                    ...
what everyone should knowabout world missions                                                                             ...
the classic model for world missions                                                                                      ...
getting legal permission – the “classic” way                                               Think of a discipleship resourc...
an “open” model for     world missions                                                                                    ...
getting legal permission – the “open” way                                            What if a content creator wants to re...
comparing the classic and “open” models                                                                                   ...
the Christian Commons                                                                                              Nearly ...
find out more  Want to find out more about the “open” approach to world missions?                                because e...
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Copyright and the Kingdom

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Copyright and the Kingdom

  1. 1. Copyright and the Kingdom how copyright works and its implications for world missions version 1.0
  2. 2. contents what everyone should know about copyright.....3 Have you ever considered how significantly the rise of “digital” has changed everything? It is now possible for what everyone should know about world missions.....4 more people than ever before to create and distribute the classic model for world missions.....5 massive amounts of content, at virtually no cost. This creates a tremendous opportunity for the advance of getting legal permission – the “classic” way.....6 Gods Kingdom all over the world. an “open” model for world missions.....7 Content, however, is directly affected by copyright law and copyright is an important matter. It raises some getting legal permission – the “open” way.....8 questions, like: How does copyright work? How does comparing the classic and “open” models.....9 copyright affect world missions? What are the implications of restrictions on discipleship resources for the Christian Commons...10 the global church? How do restrictions on translations find out more...11 of the Word of God affect believers in the nearly 7,000 languages of the world? “Copyright and the Kingdom” is designed to provide a brief, visual overview of the world of copyright law and its implications for world missions. This work is based on the book The Christian Commons – www.thechristiancommons.com.Disclaimer: The information in this document is provided for general illustrative purposes only. Nothing herein constitutes legal orprofessional advice. The information provided herein does not replace a formal, legal opinion, and users who seek advice as to the rightsinvolved in any intellectual property licensing transaction should consult with a licensed attorney.
  3. 3. 1998 – life + 70 years what everyone should know about copyright 1976 – 75 years (or life) Modern copyright law was invented over 300 years ago + 50 years to maximize the economic value of a creative work by granting specific rights to the creator of the work. Once these rights expire, the work passes into the Public Domain, where there are no copyright protections. copyright basics Copyright originally only lasted for 14 years (with an  If you create it, you own it.* optional 14-year extension). Over time, however, the  Copyright protection happens automatically, when the work is created—you do not length of copyright has been extended repeatedly. This need to register the copyright first. lengthening of copyright has been embraced by the  If you own it, copyright grants you exclusive rights to the work: “all rights reserved.” church with little discussion on the implications for  The rights preserved for a copyright holder include: copying & redistributing the work, ministry or the theology of intellectual property ownership creating derivatives (including translations) of the work, publicly performing or and discipleship resources. displaying the work.  You must get permission (usually as a license) to use what someone else owns. Many works have little (if any) commercial value within  U.S. copyright law is provided for in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. only a few years after they are published, but they are  Copyright law is remarkably similar around the world: by default, no one can legally do still under copyright for over a century: the life of the much of anything with someone elses content for many decades after the owners author + 70 years (or 50 years, in some countries). As a death, unless they get a license from the owner (or the owners heirs) to do so. result, many works of the 20th century are “orphan works”, which makes it nearly impossible to license those works since they may still be under copyright. 1831 – 28 years [+ 14 years] Further, many old works that no longer have commercial value may have tremendous ministry value, particularly if1790 – 14 years [+ 14 years, translated into a minority language. optional extension] length of copyright in the U.S. over time (simplified) Note: leveraging copyright for financial gain is not immoral or unbiblical. It is a legitimate approach to funding ministry. *There are limited exceptions to this, such as in contexts pertaining to “work for hire” agreements and scope of employment. 3
  4. 4. what everyone should knowabout world missions least-reached people groups Completing Jesus mandate to “make disciples of every people group” (Matthew 28:19) includes providing discipleship resources in the heart language of every people group, so they can grow spiritually. This is an immense challenge because the 7 billion people in the world are not evenly distributed among the nearly 7,000 languages of the world. The linguistically “least of these” are the millions of people who speak a language having less than 10,000 speakers. They comprise 0.1% of the worlds population and so tend to be forgotten or left for last. But they urgently need discipleship resources. Many believers are ready today to start translating the linguistically existing discipleship resources for effective use in their least of these own languages. Copyright law, however, prevents them from legally doing so, because translation of content requires permission. Permission is virtually impossible for them to acquire because of massive legal, financial, cultural, linguistic and technical obstacles. They are locked out. 4 data source: Ethnologue: Languages of the World. Sixteenth. Dallas, TX, USA: SIL International, 2009. http://www.ethnologue.com. map source: Joshua Project (www.joshuaproject.net) and Global Mapping International (www.gmi.org)
  5. 5. the classic model for world missions The traditional approach to meeting the need for discipleship resources in the worlds thousands of languages has not changed significantly since the invention of Gutenbergs printing press, over 500 years ago. It works like this:  Content is created and (usually) translated.  The content is stored in a “silo” that functions as a controlled-access library.  A distribution portal makes the content available in a read-only manner to the consumer.  The consumer consumes the content and provides analytics back into the system. This classic model is in use in “brick-and-mortar” libraries, and has been imported into the digital world as well (e.g. Amazons Kindle library). It works well for its intended purpose: to provide read-only access toadvantage disadvantages copyright-restricted content for a small number of provides read-only access to  tends toward inequality—smaller languages are often lowest priority people in a limited number of (usually) large languages. pre-packaged, “all rights does not scale well—becomes top-heavy and inefficient with size, due in large  But it does not scale well as a model for reaching reserved” content for people in a part to the need for managing copyright restrictions for hundreds of millions of limited number of (usually) larger everyone, everywhere, in every language with people, in thousands of languages, and in dozens of legal jurisdictions around languages the world, for each and every use of tens of thousands of resources. urgently-needed discipleship resources. provides maximum financial  does not provide what is needed—the global church is not given legal incentive for creation of works freedom to translate, complete, adapt, revise, repurpose, redistribute, or use the content effectively 5
  6. 6. getting legal permission – the “classic” way Think of a discipleship resource that could be useful for the spiritual growth of Christians around the world— maybe a Bible study or training course. If they want to legally translate it and adapt it for use in their language, they face a dizzying number of steps that require significant time, resources, and legal expertise on their part. Getting legal permission to translate and use someone elses discipleship resource the “classic” way takes so much time and effort that it often just does not happen. This is especially true when there are linguistic, cultural, geographic, legal, and technological barriers in the mix. All too often, the sheer number of steps in the process creates such a bottleneck that the process grinds to a halt. The global church is frequently unable to clear the legal hurdles that prevent them from taking existing discipleship resources and making them effective in their own language and culture. Breaking the law and hoping not to get caught is not an ethical solution. But there is another way... 6 photo credit: Edward Townend, cc by
  7. 7. an “open” model for world missions What do Wikipedia, the Linux operating system, and Open Street Map all have in common? Two things: 1. the content in each of these “open collaboration” projects is released from copyright restrictions under an open license 2. the thousands of people who create the content in each project do so for a purpose they consider greater than making money from the product. What if the church adopted this new model of “open collaboration” as a means of equipping believers in every language with adequate discipleship resources? a license for freedom! By working together as the body of Christ all over the world, we can collectively create a core of quality Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike discipleship resources in every language, more rapidly http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0 and at far less cost than would otherwise be possible. You are free: Three things are needed for this to happen:  to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work  to Remix — to adapt the work  open-licensed discipleship resources (content)  to make commercial use of the work*  open-source tools (software) Under the following conditions:  a willingness for people and organizations to  Attribution — You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that collaborate openly (process).*Why not include a “non-commercial use only” restriction? suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).While it seems that such a restriction would be a good thing for free  Share Alike — If you alter, transform, or build upon this This new model for missions is already incontent, it critically hinders the reach of a discipleship resource. In work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the use, and served by online translationaddition to being too restrictive, it prevents good things from same or similar license to this one. platforms like Door43, online athappening, is ambiguous, unnecessary, and makes the global www.door43.org.church work for nothing. 7
  8. 8. getting legal permission – the “open” way What if a content creator wants to remove everything that hinders and allow the global church to freely use and build upon a discipleship resource they have created, for their unhindered spiritual growth? What is the best way for that to happen? Instead of requiring each person who wants to use it in their language to contact them for each and every use of the resource, they could pre-clear the entire global church to use it in any way they need. This would remove the legal bottleneck and open the door for effective ministry without any obstacles. By releasing a discipleship resource under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, anyone can translate, adapt, build on, redistribute, and use the resource without any restrictions. They only need to agree to the two conditions of the license: give credit where credit is due (pointing a link back to the owners website) and release anything they create from it under the same license. In this way, the resource gets “locked open” and what was released by the creator of the original resource as free and unrestricted, stays free and unrestricted forever, for everyone. 8
  9. 9. comparing the classic and “open” models The classic model for world missions has as its final goal a finished product, like a book. The product is classic model “open” model generally created by a small group of “experts” with limited direct involvement in the project by others. Everycontent licensing “all rights reserved” “some rights reserved” aspect of the project tends to be closely monitored andlimitations of use very restricted unrestricted (with conditions) highly controlled, from the creation of the content to the distribution of the finished work. This incurs a highmetaphor limited-access library unwalled garden (i.e. the “Christian Commons”) degree of overhead, driving cost of production up, anduse of content read-only (“consume”) read-write (“consume + create”) significantly limiting the reach of the content. The model tends to “give a fish” (i.e. a finished, “all rightsend goal distribution of pre-packaged content derivatives built from content reserved” product to consume), but often does not extend beyond that.content creation closed, insider-only open collaboration of self-selecting individuals The “open”model is dependent on open-licensedsphere of control every aspect of content creation, distribution, source of original content content that legally permits a large, self-selecting, and and use geographically-distributed group of intrinsically-cost extremely expensive extremely inexpensive motivated people to work together in the project. The (built by cognitive surplus) source of the content is controlled, but derivative worksreach top down, no plans for smallest 1/4th of any & every language, no matter the size are encouraged and are evaluated on their own merit— languages as they were before copyright was invented (like duringmanagement overhead massive, increasingly centralized, top-heavy with minimal, distributed, decentralized the Reformation) and are still, for works not under increased reach copyright (the Public Domain). The end goal is both aBiblical foundation “If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it “Nevertheless, we have not made use of this product (like a translated book) and a process (the too much if we reap material things from you?” right, but we endure anything rather than put an continued revision and maintenance of the translation —1 Corinthians 9:11 ESV obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.” over time). In this regard, the focus is “teaching them to —1 Corinthians 9:12 ESV fish” (and giving them the tools to do so without restriction). 9
  10. 10. the Christian Commons Nearly 2,000 years ago, some Christians faced a significant problem: they were in great need and had no The Christian Commons is a means of meeting those needs. The Churchs solution growing core of open- licensed discipleship resources that is to the problem was gracious, voluntary, sacrificial, and collectively owned and built by extremely effective: the global church. Organizations and individuals Now the full number of those who believed were of have unrestricted access to this “unwalled garden” of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the content, as well as the legal things that belonged to him was his own, but they freedom to translate, adapt, revise, re- had everything in common... There was not a purpose, redistribute, needy person among them... —Acts 4:32,34 ESV and use the content— without restriction and Today, the Church faces the same problem in the without needing to ask spiritual realm: believers urgently need discipleship anyone for permission. resources to foster their spiritual growth. Releasing discipleship resources under open licenses (like a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike) effectively puts them perpetually into the “Christian Commons.” This “unwalled garden” of discipleship resources is heldthe classic model: funding & legal agreements in common by the entire global church as a dynamic, In the classic model, read-only content is made available to consumers as finished growing core of spiritual content. Anyone, anywhere can products. Funding from these products help translate and make these “open” discipleship (whether sales or donations to the organization as the project owner resources effective in any language, in less time, with or exclusive distributor) goes less expense, and without any restrictions. back into the organization. Relationships between Together, we can provide adequate discipleship organizations are governed resources, in any language, for every people group. by legal agreements that grant formal permission to use content in specified ways. 10
  11. 11. find out more Want to find out more about the “open” approach to world missions? because everyone should have A detailed overview is provided in the book The Christian Commons, adequate discipleship resourcesavailable in print and (free!) ebooks, at www.thechristiancommons.com. in their own language.On the website, you can also find ways to connect with others who are for free. part of the “open” world missions community. Join us! Distant Shores Media PO Box 2314 Minneapolis, MN 55311-7314 +1 763.688.3572 © 2012 Distant Shores Media info@dsmedia.org This work is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. www.distantshoresmedia.org Please provide attribution to www.distantshoresmedia.org.

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