How far does Exodus 20:15 go? What about copying and pasting articles to friends’ e-mail addresses? Is that stealing. Thanks to my friend Don, I realize that I’m guilty of thievery.
A few months ago, I joined an e-mail group called Blind Conservative. One thing which is popular there is to copy articles from web sites and post them verbatim to the list. I found it quite handy. Instead of going to a web site and fighting with the screen reader so I could hear the article, I could sit back and let the computer read it to me as I sipped my morning coffee.
But what looks right in our sight is often wrong in the sight of God. Don brought to my attention that copying and pasting articles deprives writers of their income. News outlets depend on advertising revenue. Stories are the bait that brings in traffic to their pages. When articles are bootlegged all over the place, it results in fewer page views. And fewer page views means reduced advertisement revenue.
Thanks to Don, I realized that I was ripping off advertisers and news outlets, some of which also need donations to continue their work of bringing us stories from around the world. My zealous redistributing of their work to my friends was in effect stealing advertising dollars from these organizations.
Another point Don made was that all these e-mails I’ve been sending out clutter up people’s IN boxes. Some folks have only a limited amount of mail storage space. It never occurred to me that I was depriving friends of their valuable space with the full-length articles which I posted.
In Christ’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapter five to seven), he said that even contemplating sins is morally the same as committing them. Since this is so, and since I’m representing Christ to the world, I must make sure everything I do and think is faultless. Therefore, I resolve not to bootleg any artistic work. The laborours are indeed worthy of their hire.
Since it’s such a trial for blind PC users to navigate web pages, I’ll only send them the articles that I feel would be of interest to them. I’ll also include the web site link and the name of the author so the writer will get credit. Sighted folks only need the summary of the article and the link.
In my most recent book called How I Was Razed, I wrote of the time when I used to trespass on railway land to shorten my walks to the post office. I no longer do that since it’s illegal. In fact, the heavenly Father corrected many more of my errant notions. Read more about his wondrous providence at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell’s Books.