What does God say about copyrights?

1. The best explanation can be provided by the example of Jesus Christ Himself.  Jesus commanded the disciples not to charge for their services:

“As you go, preach this message: “The kingdom of heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)

The Scripture says do not charge for preaching, healing, raising the dead, cleansing the lepers and driving out demons.  The Lord states that if the anointing was used to minister and a minister of the gospel paid nothing for the anointing, then the minister of the gospel cannot charge others for something they freely received.

Further preaching can be oral, written or printed, recorded as on cassettes, DVDs, VHS, MP3, WMA, WMV, MP4, and on any other media.  It is still preaching.  And ministers of the gospel are not to charge for preaching.

I REPEAT MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL ARE NOT PERMITTED TO CHARGE FOR THE MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL.  THEY MAY CHARGE FOR DISTRIBUTION COSTS WHICH ARE NOT FREE.  BUT THEY CANNOT CHARGE FOR THE MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL.

I WILL REPEAT THIS ONE MORE TIME. MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL ARE NOT PERMITTED TO CHARGE FOR THE MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL.  THEY MAY CHARGE FOR DISTRIBUTION COSTS WHICH ARE NOT FREE.  BUT THEY CANNOT CHARGE FOR THE MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL.

What about copyrights?  Copyrights are used to prevent unauthorized copies. There are several purposes for copyrights. 

To ensure authors get paid for the material.
To prevent changes to the material.
To prevent unauthorized sales of the material.
To prevent distribution of the material to people who are not authorized to receive it.

Regarding the gospel of the Kingdom of God, copyrights violate God’s laws since the gospel is to be given away, it is to be given to all men, and no one including the original authors is to sell it.

Other legal means to protect the gospel are more appropriate such as a Creative Commons License which permits free distribution of content without changes and giving recognition to authors.  The Manna Reserve clearly follows this policy. 

Jesus personally operated His ministry based upon the contributions to His ministry.  Jesus never sold or merchandised His Word. He didn’t sell copies of the Sermon on the Mount after His meetings. 

2. Out of the 40 authors who wrote the 66 books of the Bible, not one of them insisted on copyright protection or royalties from the sales of their works.

3. In Deuteronomy 17:18 God commanded kings (we are a royal kingly priesthood) to write for himself on a scroll a copy of the law.

4. In spite of all this, not willing to offend authors, The Manna Reserve uses Digital Rights Management to preserve copyrights as much as possible.

5. Does this mean that authors and publishers should not sell any type of Christian works? 

No. From the above, Jesus did indicate that publishers and authors could charge for the costs of distribution because costs of distribution are not free.

However, Jesus, as He did in His own ministry, expected authors and publishers to be funded by the contributions of others.

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