Leroy Huizenga at First Things writes in opposition to the Catholic Church’s use of copyright laws to limit the distribution of its central texts. He links to the #FreetheWord campaign of Brandon Vogt. Vogt suggests that the Church publish its central texts under the Creative Commons License, which allows non-commercial distribution but also has provisions for maintaining the integrity of the text. Sounds like a great idea.
In January 2006 I complained about the United Methodist Church’s use of copyright. I haven’t changed my mind. The church’s ritual and worship resources, its Discipline and Book of Resolutions, its doctrinal texts and judicial decisions should all be made available to duplicate at will. They are our church’s word to the world. Why would we keep them to ourselves? Moreover, our prayers and liturgies should bless the world. To me, charging people to use our sacred texts is a form of simony. Are you listening, United Methodist Publishing House?