If you’ve read my blog, “The Integrity Inspection,” then you may be wondering about the resolution of the copyright challenge I was facing. You may also be wondering what all the fuss was about to begin with. Well, read on and wonder no more.
First, the copyright concern was resolved with positive results. And much quicker than I was told to expect! It was late April/early May when an editor-friend, Majetta Morris, made me aware that quoting copyrighted Bible versions on the internet is not necessarily covered by the free-use clause and urged me to secure the proper permissions. I finally found the required permission form and sent it in on May 25 this year. Despite the stated wait time of 6 to 8 weeks, I had permission granted to me by May 30!
Consequently, there wasn’t really any down time to be noticed here on the blog. While I waited, I was able to re-post my first blogs almost immediately by using public domain Bible versions without really sacrificing anything I had originally said. I was happy with the changes I did have to make. And since the permission turn-around was so quick, no new blog was put on hold.
So, why did “The Integrity Inspection” stay up so long as the first post? Well, to be honest, I forgot about it! It’s easy for a blogger to forget there’s a pinned post on the blog when the blogger doesn’t come to their website the way a reader does (don’t want to artificially inflate the site view statistics!). The pinned post is not the first thing we see. Out of sight, out of mind.
Also, when I did remember it, I decided to leave it up because of the construction zone graphic attached to the post. It became a way of letting people know this blog is still rather new, that I’m still learning how to be a blogger—which is a writer + computer savvy person—and that everything on here is subject to change.
I think 6 months, though, is long enough for setting up a blog. It’s time to tidy up the loose ends and pull down the construction zone sign. This site may not be perfect, and changes may still happen, but I can’t let the lack of perfection hold me back. As G. K. Chesterton once said, “If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.” And this blog is worth doing!
Why the Fuss?
Well, if it’s so worth doing, you may ask, then why all the fuss over getting permission to quote copyrighted Bible versions? Lots of websites have Scripture quotations, and we don’t see any copyright-permission statements with them. Basically, “everybody’s doing it.” And it’s not like this is a big-name blog site that’s raking in tons of money. If the copyright holders are going to sue anybody, it would surely be the big websites. Right?
First, let’s not assume a scripture-quoting website does not have permission. We just may not be looking in the right place for their copyright permission statement.
Second, even if they don’t have the proper permission, that does not give me permission to violate copyright law. (It would be just my luck that out of the thousands getting away with it, I’d be in the small percentage that gets caught! No, thanks.)
And third, just because this website/blog isn’t “a big-name site” right now, doesn’t mean it won’t be someday. And then what? You know what happens when people or entities get into the spotlight. Every. little. detail is examined with close, unforgiving scrutiny! So, why not start living now as though all things are already under the microscope?
I like Psalm 119:141, for in it I find perfect guidance for just this situation: “I am small and despised, yet I do not forget Your precepts” (NKJV). In other words, this verse says, “I may be a nobody, but I still obey the law.”
You don’t start living by a quality ethical code only after you become rich and/or famous and people are watching. You don’t wait to do the right thing only when you can easily afford the time, effort and/or money that may be required to do the right thing. No, you start when you are a nobody, when you are nowhere near the spotlight.
Why? Because you never know when you will be thrust into the spotlight. And that spotlight burns white-hot, revealing more things than you care to show. I think there are several people currently in the public spotlight now wishing they had learned to live by Psalm 119:141 back when they were a nobody!
Besides, you sleep better at night when you have a clear conscience. So, even if I’m always a “nobody” and never in the spotlight of public fame, I’ve just saved myself a ton of stress and worry over whether or not I might get into trouble over it.
And last but certainly not least, it would be totally incongruent for me as a minister—a representative of the ultimate Law-giver, God Himself—to disregard the laws of the land. How can you trust that I’m abiding by the rules of Bible study and interpretation if I haven’t complied with international copyright laws?
Does this mean I will always be perfect, and there will never be an error posted here? No, don’t confuse integrity with perfection. As a fallible human, I maintain the right to be wrong. (I’m not above being taught and corrected.) What it does mean, though, is that I will always strive to do what is right, even if it inconveniences me.
It’s all about integrity. Maybe you’ve heard this old saying: “If you don’t have your health, then what do you have?” As if physical health was the ultimate thing to maintain, the hinge-pin upon which all else hangs. Better to say, “If you don’t have your integrity, then what do you have?” Health is just for this life; integrity goes beyond, into eternity.
Some things are just worth the extra effort.
Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.