As believers in America, we don’t really know what persecution is. We’re persecuted when we catch snares or rude comments from friends and family when we refuse to go to baseball practice on a Sunday afternoon. When we get teased at work for having a Bible verse bookmark keeping our place in Twilight.
However, we’re still called to be holy, which means set apart.
We’re also told in Exodus 23:2 to not follow the crowd in doing wrong.
The eighth commandment says not to steal.
Where am I going with this? Stealing computer programs, music and movies. For simplicity, I’m going to focus mostly on music since music theft is so common.
Why is this such a common practice among believers? Even church leadership gets in on it. Bible Study leaders buy one copy of the study, then duplicate the workbooks and CDs for the rest of the folks.
My theory is that this practice is not only condoned but actively pursued by Christians for several reasons:
*Selfishness. I want new music. I’m on a tight budget. I’m very tempted to ignore the law to fulfill my “need” for fresh tunes.
*After all, it doesn’t hurt anyone right? All those people in the music world are so rich, they’ll never miss my $14.99. They aren’t actually losing money since I wouldn’t ever buy it, I’m only taking it because it’s free…
*Everyone is doing it. Yep, most people are. Welcome to Sodom & Gomorrah.
*Ignorance-although I don’t think this holds much water, there’s been too much publicity with Napster and new PSA type ads clearly explaining this is illegal.
The bottom line in the law is that sharing you music CDs or iTunes (or other program) downloads by making duplicate copies is illegal.
You may make backup copies for yourself.
You may put your music on your mp3 player and computer.
You may not burn CDs for your friends.
It is illegal to loan your CDs out so others can put the songs on their mp3 player or computer.
It is illegal to borrow an iPod and put that music on your iPod.
It is against the law to burn your CDs and then sell or give the original away without deleting/destroying your copies of the music.
It is also illegal to copy text (books, Bible studies, etc.), DVDs, computer programs and so on that do not specifically give your permission to duplicate.
Yes, it’s hard to endure the you’ve-got-two-heads look when you sheepishly tell your friends you’d rather not have a burned copy of the latest Switchfoot CD, but really, if that’s the worst persecution we face, we must be blessed.